Thursday, July 14, 2005


Dear Baskin-Robbins counter servers,

As one of your own for three summers running, and a devoted fan of several BR menu items, I consider it my duty to pass along certain knowledge which your training obviously omitted. I hope you will find the following illuminating and useful.

~Lesson One: Chocolate is not the same as mocha. While both do include the sacred flavor of chocolate, the chocolate blast should be pure, free from any traces of cappuccino mix.

~Lesson Two: The question "Would you like whipped cream and cinnamon on that?" is most helpful when asked before applying these extras, rather than as you're handing the customer the drink with said extras already on it.

~Lesson Three: The cappuccino, mocha, and likely turtle blasts come with cinnamon on top. As we learned in lesson one, however, chocolate is an entirely separate flavor. The chocolate blast comes with cocoa powder on top. Cinnamon has no place in a chocolate blast.

~Lesson Four: When handing a customer a tasting spoon, the ice cream should be firmly stuck to the spoon. Telling the customer "oops - careful - that's gonna fall" is less helpful than it might seem, especially if the customer does not have the experience to expect bits of falling ice cream.

~Lesson Five: Daquiri ice is not the same as butter pecan ice cream. Butter pecan ice cream can be recognized by its creamy color and consistency and high number of nuts. Daquiri ice, on the other hand, is a pale, cool, blue color, contains no dairy, and has an extraordinarily smooth texture. Should the butter pecan label go AWOL, you will better serve the customer by handwriting a label reading "butter pecan" than by inserting an Official BR Label reading "Daquiri Ice", especially when daquiri ice is not available.

~Lesson Six: You will also help the customer and save yourself unnecessary questioning by handwriting labels to replace the missing BR labels for the unlabeled tubs of french vanilla, pistachio, and the like. You have done well with this for Bumble Buzz and Splish Splash - I encourage you to extend this courtesy to the less exotic flavors.

~Lesson Seven: A milkshake is an extremely delicate creation. It requires your full attention and precise preparation. Unless the customer requests extra thin or extra thick, you should be sure to measure the milk exactly as specified on the measuring cup. A truly outstanding counter server will ask the customer whether he prefers his milkshake on the thick or thin side and prepare accordingly. Under no circumstances, however, should the milkshake be left unattended at the machine. (Preferably, you will stay and attend any blended beverage, but this is especially necessary with the milkshake.) This leads to lumpy or milky shakes. The milkshake must be carefully coaxed into its proper state - smooth and free of lumps, but thick enough to justify having added the ice cream at all. Your job is not to serve flavored milk. Your job is to serve milkshakes. The customer does not pay $3-4 for a glass of chocolate milk. Milkshakes are an art form and should be treated with the respect that deserves.

~Lesson Eight: The chocolate milkshake is one classic that is particularly near to people's hearts. It is most advisable to ask the customer whether she prefers her chocolate milkshake with chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Under no circumstances should the customer be met with a blank stare or rude answer if he orders a chocolate shake with vanilla ice cream. If this seems difficult, remember that you have vast quantities of chocolate syrup at your disposal. A shot or two of chocolate syrup will turn a vanilla milkshake into a pleasantly chocolatey one. Again, a truly outstanding counter server will also ask the customer who prefers chocolate ice cream whether she would like chocolate syrup as well as the chocolate ice cream.

~Lesson Nine: Another classic variation is the malted milkshake, commonly called the malt. You do in fact make malts, even if they are not listed on the menu board. The malt powder is probably located near the syrups and/or toppings. Malt powder should not be dumped in after the milkshake is finished and given a final spin to make it invisible. Rather, the malt powder should be added slowly and deliberately as the ice cream and milk are just beginning to blend into a shake, so that the powder will be evenly and smoothly distributed throughout by the time the shake has reached its perfect texture.

~Lesson Ten: Customers should be served as promptly as possible. This service includes such elements as approaching them and asking how you can help them, preparing the actual menu item, and uniting the ice cream treat with the customer. All three of these should be executed in as efficient a fashion as possible. The customer may not have all the time in the world just because he is the only person in the store.

I am sorry that you did not receive these useful tidbits in your initial job training. I am confident that you will find your job performance and satisfaction greatly increased by following these simple tips. Thank you for your keen attention.

Yours in ice cream artistry,


Mark said...

This is why Jane says I'm not allowed to blog after eating ice cream.

Nice job. You can come to Hawaii and teach them all this anytime!

Jane Ellen+ said...

No, Mark. You are not allowed to blog after eating ice cream because when you get on a sugar high allyourwordsruntogetherinabarelyunderstnadablestream.

It's bad enough trying to talk to you that way; reading it would be cruel and unusual punsihment.

Mark said...


Mike said...

Wow ... that really must have been a tough day/night at the hospital!

Si said...

A-men, sister. Amen.

Raisin said...

I think I just read a sermon!

Dawgdays said...

This is easy to fix - go to Evanston Creamery instead.

Anonymous said...

Wow. And exactly how much ice cream did you eat?

I was thinking that you should support Ben and Jerry's and the work they do with youth training... :)


dave paisley said...

To exercise my pedantic nature, I must point out that it's daiquiri, not daquiri.

If you're gonna take people to task, you gotta do it right ;)

Marisa said...

I passed your address on to a friend of mine who also used to scoop 31 flavors (not at OUR BR though). I thought she would get a kick out of this. Hope you don't mind.

I do the same thing, I get so pissed when people at DQ screw something up... or tell me that they don't have something that they must have to qualify as a DQ.

Ice cream is serious business that shouldn't be messed with!!

Susie said...

dang. you go girl.

although, i'm with wes and heather. while in evanston, the non-profit b&J or the creamery are much better options anyway. I always choose by how much of a walk I"m up for... or which one I've already been to that day :)

Beth said...

DavePaisley: THANK YOU!!! I knew something was wrong there and I couldn't quite get it.

BR won because it was next to Tripp's bank. Also I do like the fact that BR has all my old favorites - at least when they get it right.

Emily said...

nothing much to add but LOL!

Tripp said...


Dawgdays said...

Wow, ice cream has gotten awful darn expensive when you have to stop at the bank first! :)

Beth said...

The other day I was at a Steak 'n' Shake, who advertises that they make their shakes the old-fashioned way with hand-dipped ice cream, and I asked if I could have a caramel malt. The server just looked at me like I was crazy, and explained to me that caramel is a topping, not a shake. I decided it wasn't worth my time to explain to him that 1. you just add caramel to the vanilla shake, and 2. a shake is not a malt, and a malt is not a shake.

Ice cream is serious business, and should be taken seriously by those peddling it.