Creating French Fry Moments

Google has a rather odd phrase they use in their company: “French fry moments.” They use this phrase to convey the concept of anticipating employees’ needs. The phrase and concept came about after an executive saw a scene on the sitcom 30 Rock, wherein one of the characters, Tracy Jordan, becomes outraged after an employee brings him a burger but doesn’t include the fries he didn’t order, prompting Tracy to shout, “Where are the French fries I didn’t order!? When will you learn to anticipate me?!” 

I love the “French fry moments” idea for three reasons. First, it’s a great example of being inspired by an unusual, random source, the very essence of creative thinking. Secondly, it’s an example of using a playful name to capture an important service concept. Using fun, memorable catchphrases is a great way for any company to strengthen their unique culture, and it’s a great way to encapsulate a concept succinctly and help it spread throughout an organization. And thirdly, and most importantly, it captures a key principle when it comes to building a great business – anticipating the needs of customers, employees and teammates. After all, isn’t the essence of great service anticipating what someone needs, sometimes even before they know they need it themselves?

And of course, this idea can easily extend beyond the workplace setting: What about creating French fry moments on the volunteer boards you serve or with your spouse or children? Anytime there’s an opportunity to go the extra inch or the extra mile by anticipating someone else’s needs – sometimes before they even realize they have them – is a fabulous way to make a good impression and build connections everywhere in your life.

So what concepts could your company or family embody in memorable phrases? And what are some key “French fry moments” in your organization or family that you could implement consistently and celebrate?

Michael Kerr

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