February 18, 2019

I’m really surprised people read the napkin cards (but I’m glad they do) –Lucia


I was working on menu stuff over at CloverKND the other day. We’re working on new menu designs. More on that later.

A customer came over and said: “Are you the owner? They told me you are the owner.”

She was mad about a napkin holder insert card. Lucia, who designed the card, was there. And after a fair amount of explaining on my part she asked “so what are you going to do about it, next I mean?”

The funny thing is I found myself under a similar sort of fire the night before on Twitter. Very passionate. Very upset.

The offense: the card talks about how we make soup. And it says “you won’t find unpronounceable chemicals such as…” and it names a few things that you will find in most soups. The card could be edited. We could have picked a better list of ingredients.

But the point we’re making with the card is that soup at Clover is made from scratch daily, nothing funny in there. We make our own soup stock. We know everything that goes into your soup. Much of it is organic. All of the ingredients are as good or better than what I get to use at home when I make soup. We don’t have to use processed chemicals as soup ingredients to make up for tasteless ingredients. We don’t heat up frozen soup. Instead we mince onions and start them in olive oil.

Anyway, the issue is that this card is offending people who feel it is anti-science. I think the idea is that since we’re saying the soup doesn’t have chemical as ingredients we’re saying chemicals are bad.

First, we’re not anti-science. I’ve got 2 degrees from MIT! Not anti-science at all.

Second, “chemicals” in the sense we’re talking about it here is shorthand for “refined/ processed chemicals that are used in cooking as substitutes for or to make up for raw ingredients or flavor that is missing.” We’re not saying that there is no “chemistry” in the soup. We’re not saying there are no chemical compounds in the soup. We’re saying that the ingredients we use are better described as “vegetables” or “fruits” and that’s because they are far more complex than refined chemicals, and they taste way better.

Anyway, I had no idea we were stepping into a hornets nest. And honestly I was a little reactive when I first saw the sarcastic and critical comments on Twitter, because Lucia wrote this copy and she wasn’t meaning to upset anybody, and she does a really good job.

Thank you to the customers who have interacted with us on this. I appreciate the passion. Let’s keep minds open and dialog flowing and shun extremists.

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