The Only Thing Consistent in the World is Change


Change is inevitable yet we innately, as humans, hate and push back to it whenever possible. The reason we do this is because change typically takes us out of our comfort zone.
I learned this first hand when I was 19 years old and I was a fry cook at a restaurant called Chan’s Saloon and Eatery in Pensacola, FL.  I had been working at this restaurant as the fry cook and the restaurant was certainly a freezer to fryer type restaurant, where half the menu came right out of the freezer and went right into the fryer.  I had been working there for three months and thought I was pretty good at what I was doing.
About three months after I started the restaurant wasn’t doing well because they had hired a consultant to come in and evaluate the operation and give ideas on how to make the restaurant better.  After about a week being on site, the consultant started to make changes to the restaurant operation, including me.
He came to me and he said, Kelley, you work great at your station and I really appreciate what you’re doing but I want you keep your baskets into the fry oil.  After every order I would dump the baskets out of the items I was frying and then hang the baskets up on the hooks.  He gave me all kinds of reasons about why it was a better way to do it his way including that the baskets in the oil keeps the oil hot so you don’t drop cold basket into the oil.  We did a lot of batter fish frying, so you could swim the fish into the oil without it sticking to the baskets, and it’s more efficient to be able to dump things right into the oil versus the basket.
He gave this advice, and every time he walked

off the line I would hang the baskets back up. Every time he would walk on the line, he would drop the baskets back into the oil. He’d walk off the line and I’d hang the baskets back up. He’d walk on the line and he’d drop them back into the oil. This went back and forth for a couple of days until one day he pulls me aside and he says, “Kelley I really appreciate your job you do here but the next time I come into the kitchen and the baskets are hanging up, you no longer work here.”  Sometimes the stick is truly mightier than the carrot and I couldn’t lose my job so I started to do it his way.

To this day, every time I walk into one of my restaurants’ kitchens, instinctively the first thing I do is drop the fry baskets into the oil.  Why?  Because he was right, it was a better way to do it, it’s more efficient, and the only reason I challenged him was it took me out of my comfort zone, and was different from what I was used to.
Change is inevitable.  It is the only thing consistent in the world.  Change is fine.  It’s good to be out of your comfort zone.  If you change something and it doesn’t work, change it again, and if that doesn’t work, change it again, and if that doesn’t work, change it again.  I’m a big fan of one axiom, “If it ain’t broke, break it.”  How do you make it better all the time?  Continuous improvement can only come through change.



  1. Sam Abrams says

    This story starts with a cage containing five gorillas and a large bunch of bananas hanging above some stairs in the center of the cage. Before long, a gorilla goes to the stairs and starts to climb toward the bananas. As soon as he touches the stairs, all the gorillas are sprayed with cold water. After a while, another gorilla makes an attempt and gets the same result—all the gorillas are sprayed with cold water. Every time a gorilla attempts to retrieve the bananas, the others are sprayed.

    Eventually, they quit trying and leave the bananas alone. One of the original gorillas is removed from the cage and replaced with a new one. The new gorilla sees the bananas and starts to climb the stairs. To his horror, all the other gorillas attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted. Next, the second of the original five gorillas is replaced with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm.

    Next, the third original gorilla is replaced with a new one. The new one goes for the stairs and is attacked as well. Two of the four gorillas that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest gorilla.

    After the fourth and fifth original gorillas have been replaced, all the gorillas that were sprayed with cold water are gone. Nevertheless, no gorilla will ever again approach the stairs. Why not?

    “Because that’s the way it has always been done.”

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