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“Give ’em the Pickle”

What does ‘give ’em the pickle’ mean?


Pickles are those special extra things you do to make people happy.


It’s a special phone call you make to your customer. A handwritten thank you note that you include with every order. It’s taking the time to walk the customer down the isle to find the item that they are looking for.

You offer them a special promotional item. You call them by their name and remember them next time. It is the art of finding out what your customers want, and making sure they get it.



How to ‘give ’em the pickle’ in Sales?


  • Service: Make serving others the number one priority of your business.
  • Attitude: Develop a service-oriented attitude. How you think of your customers is how you treat them.
  • Consistency: Set high service standards and live them every day. Customers return because they had a positive experience last time.
  • Teamwork: Commit to teamwork. Find ways to make each other look good. In the end, everything ends up in front of the customer.


Who came up with the ‘give ’em the pickle’ philosophy?

The Pickle Philosophy is the brainchild of Bob Farrell of Farrell Ice Cream Parlor fame.


Who is Bob Farrell?

Bob was a pioneer in the restaurant industry. He created one of the first national full service chain restaurants. He opened and managed over 150 locations before selling the chain to Marriott.

It is Farrell’s belief that businesses are in the “people business” and that it is not what you sell that is important, it is how you take care of the people who buy your product.

It is about figuring out what would make your customers happy and giving it to them – That’s the pickle.



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It all started with a letter from the Customer:


“Dear Mr. Farrell, I’ve been coming to your restaurant for over three years. I always order a #2 hamburger and a chocolate shake. I always ask for an extra pickle and I always get one.

Mind you, this has been going on once or twice a week for three years. I came into your restaurant the other day and I order my usual. I asked the young waitress for an extra pickle. I believe she was new because I hadn’t seen her before.”

She said, “Sir, I will sell you a side of pickles for $ 1.25.” I told her, “No, I just want the extra slice of pickle. I always ask for it and they always give it to me. Go ask your manager.”

She went away and came back after speaking to to the manager. The waitress looked me in the eye and said,

“I’ll sell you a pickle for a nickel.” Mr. Farrel, I told her what to do with her pickle, hamburger and milkshake. I’m not coming back to your restaurant if that’s the way you’re going to run it.”

Mr. Farrell was successful at responding to the customer,

apologizing and asking him to come back and has taken this letter to create the war cry “Give ’em the Pickle” so when something happens with a customer and you are not sure what to do? Give them the pickle.


Do what you have to do to make things right.


This story applies to all businesses that want to put strategies into place that will keep the customers coming back. Focus on providing excellent customer service at every touchpoint. Build an organization whose employees are trained.

Motivated and informed. They know the company’s approach to customers and will exceed expectations with each and every opportunity. So create an environment for your employees to excel at customer service.




When you are in doubt on how you should handle a customer, remember “Give ’em the Pickle”!

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