I’m sure I missed my calling. In fact, I’m sure I could have owned the most popular restaurant in town.
Is it just me, or are we seeing more and more new restaurant owners oblivious to some pretty simple, basic needs when trying to create a successful business?
Seriously, how can an owner invest thousands of dollars into a lifelong dream without thoroughly researching the effects of lighting, seating comfort, quality of food, pricing, and staff?
I will usually try a place twice. My husband Alex, isn’t quite as generous. After a place goes out of business and a new owner comes in, I am willing to try it again. Alex, on the other hand just won’t do it, at least without me begging for a while. And sure enough, nine times out of ten, Alex gets to do the “I told you so” thing.
Apparently, as a customer, I look at myself a little differently than the owner does. When I enter a restaurant for the first time, I am an important food critic. I am looking to have a lifelong relationship with this place. On weekends, I will hope my favorite table is available. I will greet the owner by first name and he or she will do the same to me. I will probably never explore beyond my very first entree because it will capture my taste buds forever. I will expect to enjoy an evening that will allow me to accept the extra pound on the scale the next morning. Am I asking too much?
Here’s my advice to you restaurant owners:
Don’t serve me a pulled pork sandwich on a stale bun. Don’t put me under a glaring light that melts my makeup. Don’t charge me $12 for a glass of wine. And don’t make me have to run back to the car to grab a blanket when it’s 95 degrees outside.
Do read body language from your customers. It’s not that hard. Visit each table and ask the important questions, and for suggestions. And for those who don’t want to tell you to your face, provide a suggestion box at the counter. Match price with value to let people know you appreciate their hard earned dollars. Provide seating in which we can relax. We prefer comfort over style. And lastly, BE there.
Damn it, I should have opened a restaurant.