They Asked Us To Leave The Restaurant

October 3rd, 2012 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Having grown up on a farm in Ohio where we raised all our own meat, eggs, and vegetables, venturing too far from meat and potatoes has been a bit of a stretch for me.  But, over the years, I have branched out and tried a lot of new things – and found that I like a lot of different kinds of foods.  I will now try pretty much anything.  The exception is I can’t eat hot and spicy food – I’m a wimp when it comes to hot and spicy.

As I’ve branched out and tried more and more foods, I have found that I really like sushi and Thai food (they do have to make the Thai dishes with no heat in them for me).  There is a small Thai restaurant where I used to live that I eat at quite a bit.  My average bill is about $60 each time I go there with a friend.

I took a friend there for dinner and had been at the table for a little over an hour.  We had just finished our meal (just finished is an understatement here – by just finished, I mean the forks had just been laid down on the plates, maybe 30 seconds prior to this) when one of the managers came over and told us they needed our table.

Now, this is a small restaurant, it probably holds about 50 people at its highest capacity.

Being that I’m a regular here, I’m a little surprised they are asking me to leave.  I have a guest with me, and I don’t really want to make a scene, so after I have the manager repeat her request for us to leave, we get up and leave.

And, I didn’t return to eat there for over 6 months.  I told everyone I know that eats there about the incident and even people who I thought might eat there.  To this day, there are still people who won’t eat in that restaurant because of the way they treated us.

Quite frankly, the only reason I returned to spend my money there is because it’s the only decent choice for sushi and Thai food where I used to live; otherwise, I would have never gone back to spend my money there either.

Let’s look at this from a business perspective, and what the potential cost to that business might have been.  First of all, I am currently spending about $1,440 per year at this little restaurant.  Now, for this small, little place, that’s a significant amount of money.

If I only told 5 people (and I told a lot more than that) who decided to take their business somewhere else, that’s another $7,000 a year in lost revenue.  Just from this simple example, it could have cost the restaurant $8,440.

But that’s just the beginning because it also means that none of the people in my example are going to bring any of their friends to try the restaurant, and they aren’t going to tell anybody else to go there.  That lost revenue is even more significant than the initial lost revenue because it branches out for the life of the restaurant, potentially a loss for them of tens of thousands of dollars.

In our small businesses, we probably do things every day to make people go away; sometimes on purpose, but more often than not, by mistake, with no ill will intended.  Processes and systems should be looked at and considered on a regular basis to minimize the loss of clients, good will, relationships, and profits.

By the way, nobody ever asked us where we’d been or why we hadn’t been in for a while when we did go back to eat there.

You see, most businesses don’t understand the real value of a client, or the loss as a result of losing one or more.  They should.  It might be fatal to your business, especially if you don’t even know you’re losing them.

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