Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to destroy a business in 6 easy steps

A business in town changed hands some 18 months ago. The previous business owners model was good. The customer service was excellent, the service with a smile type model. A successful business with a captive market, no family restaurants for 20km.

The business was sold, the owners wanted to take up other opportunities that had crossed their path. With a captive market, the business should be an automatic success. You would think so wouldn’t you?

Let me relate this story and then the problem with assuming that your customers are all idiots and you are the only person who is right.

I walk in the door, wait at the order counter for 10 minutes. Directly in front of me, no more that 2 meters away is the owner, busy making pizzas, but too busy to look up and say “I’ll be with you in a moment”. Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, 10 minutes later I turn to leave. Noting in that time that he has abused a employee, black-banned a table for complaining too much. Failed to acknowledge a customer. Make that the first list of sins.

He calls out to me as I am leaving. I suppose I could continue walking but I decide to tell him, what I think. I state “Look, the last time I ate at the restaurant, it took me an hour to get my meals, now you keep me waiting for 10 minutes just to place an order for a pizza, no wonder your business is losing customers.”

With no apology, no acknowledgement that the error was his and with my rant over, I place my order, with the knowledge that already he has lost a customer. I sit down and watch.

So let’s recap...........
1. Can’t/won’t acknowledge new customer
2. Abusive towards employees
3. Rude to customers, who are already at his mercy, waiting for meals

They are the current sins that have been committed.

I look around, everywhere I look I see badly spelt word composed signs, that yell special, special, noting the prices and a considerable discount. This is often another warning sign that things aren’t going well.

I see staff wandering around, from dining room to kitchen, with nothing in their hands, either on the way there OR on the way back. Shows poor time management. Perhaps he needs to look at the quality of the staff.

Waiting, for 35 minutes to actually get what I order. In the mean time, I have plenty of time to speak to people outside having a fag, turns out that the restaurant had received unexpected walk-ins and didn’t have the staff to cope, which made me even more surprised after seeing the staff walking around effectively doing nothing.

There was a wait of approx 1hr in the restaurant to get your meals from what I was being told. The owner is running around, worse than a chook without a head, being rude, aggressive and generally not being anything like what is needed to work with the public.

I received my ordered food, and then went to pay, the person behind the till then started asking staff for change, when right in front of her was the tips jar, which had the required amount, it was just a matter of switching the bills around, satisfying the change requirement, but no, it must have been too hard. Then to add insult to injury I was shorted $0.10, big deal you say, well I had intended to leave a tip for the staff, but since I didn’t receive the change, I couldn’t could I?

So with my evaluation done, I shall never darken their doors again – in case I get black-banned for asking for the parmesan cheese, and Peter who ALWAYS has a smile on his face and a nice word. You shall get ALL our business from now on, simply because you are polite and never fail to smile.

So how do you ruin a business in 6 steps?
1. Can’t/won’t acknowledge new customers
2. Abusive towards employees
3. Rude towards customers, who are already at his mercy, waiting for meals
4. Advertising signs with spelling errors
5. Staff levels and attitudes not being what is needed
6. Not serving the meals in the dining area promptly.

Without customers, a business will fail, with rude management/owners a business will fail. Without quality staff a business will hurt.

Bad service, in small town, the word doesn’t take long to spread – and is very hard to recover from.

20 years in a small town does not qualify you to be a local and the locals can make you or break you!

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