I love Kanban and a good sandwich, so visiting Which Wich is always a delight on many levels. For the record I have no affiliation with Which Wich, I’m just a customer and fan!

Visualize & Make the Process Explicit

A great Kanban system starts with a well-defined process that can be visualized and every step is easy to follow by reading explicit policies. This is exactly what Which Wich has done with the process of creating superior sandwiches.

Which Wich Process

Source: whichwich.com

The image above provides a 6 step process with a hint of humor to help turn this very professional approach into a fun experience when ordering your sandwich. Another very important aspect is the very clear yellow signals that you will find everywhere in the store at their counter to represent their Kanban board and on their sandwich bags that act as Kanban cards. These signals help navigate the user through the most efficient experience and also codify details to keep instructions short and clear.

Which Wich Art

Source: flickr.com

As an Agile coach, I use sharpies to write on everything. Which Wich provide sharpies for users to customize their order on the bags. As a final bonus, once you have finished devouring your sandwich, you can draw your masterpiece on the back of the bag and join their other works of art.

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The Which Which multi-function Kanban card

Which Wich Kanban Card

I have seen other restaurants or cafeterias use Kanban cards for their customers to provide their food order, nobody else does it as well as Which Wich. They take Kanban in the fast-food business to a new level…

Not only do they use a physical card and markers to let their customers capture their order, but that physical card is actually also a bag that will be used to package your sandwich. The bag is the Kanban card that is presented to the cashier under the first of two signs called “Order”.

Please note that apart from writing your name, everything else is just a circle to color with your marker. This simple intake form saves time and reduces errors. Both the cashier and the team building the sandwich can quickly focus on the information they need in a structured way that again simplifies everything.

Something else important to note is that their bags are classified into different types of Kanban cards. Each of them has a foolproof visual way to make sure that the customer knows the available options. The bag on the left is specific to ordering the Italian style of sandwich. In my Which Wich location in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, they classify their bags by types of protein (chicken, beef, turkey, seafood, etc…).

Lastly and this is high on the cool factor, their Kanban cards are actually designed as multi-function artifacts:

1. Form to capture the order
2. Bag to deliver the order
3. Canvas to create works of art

Pure genius, but there is more…

The Kanban Board on a Wire

The next step is my favorite… Your customized sandwich bag is clipped on a wire that acts as an invisible Kanban board!!! The board starts at the “Order” sign (To Do) and ends at the “Pick Up” sign (Done).

Which Wich KanbanBoard

Source: whichwich.com

As shown in the image above, the bags stay at eye level for the team members to work at their respective stations, while reading the cards and moving these along the line until completion of the order. It’s simple, it’s visual and it integrates flawlessly in the work area.

Are you ready for a superior sandwich and one of the best Kanban system?

Be sure to find the closest Which Wich location near you. I definitely go for their sandwiches, but I also marvel with seeing a Kanban system in action. Increased productivity, improved customer experience, and overall fun experience.

Did this blog inspire you?

Once you start visualizing your work in Kanban Zone, you will be surprised how much faster it gets done!

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About the Author: Dimitri Ponomareff

Kanban Coach Dimitri Ponomareff
Dimitri Ponomareff is a Coach. Transforming organizations to deliver value faster since 2005, using Agile, Scrum/XP first, and then blending Lean and Kanban. Dimitri has the ability to relate and energize people. He is consistently recognized as a very passionate and successful change agent, with an overwhelming capacity to motivate and mobilize teams on their path to continuous improvements.