Some of you might recall that about six months ago, I wrote about a friend who owns a local restaurant that has been struggling. I told him then that until he nailed the four key Moments of Truth for any restaurant—quality food, good service, reasonable prices and exceeding cleanliness—he had no right to expect his business to grow—or even survive.
Well, I stopped in recently and unfortunately it will likely be the last time I ever set foot in one of his restaurants, because he still hasn’t gotten the message.
Here’s the story: I was running late but wanted to grab a quick breakfast before my first meeting. When I walked in, I was disappointed to see that there were only about four tables occupied. I sat down and one of the waitresses brought me an iced tea immediately, since almost everyone who works there knows me by name because I have been a regular for nearly 10 years.
I knew that I had only about 30 minutes before I needed to run, so I mentioned I was in a bit of a hurry. The waitress told me that one of the other ladies would be my server; she simply came over to drop off my tea.
As I waited to place my order, I listened to three of the waitresses who stood in the corner complaining about their customers, with my waitress especially perturbed because a table had left her a very small tip—all in coins. (Last time I checked, that was customer code for: “The service was bad and I am trying to make a point by leaving you a crappy tip.”)
Finally, the waitress who was assigned to my table looked over to me and said, “Are you waiting on me?” To which I replied, “Yes.” Instead of coming over to take my order, she turned to clean up another table, bring coffee to some other folks and then disappeared into the kitchen.
By this point I had been waiting to order for 17 minutes and realized two key things. No. 1: It was senseless for me to order because I would never be able to receive my meal in time to eat it. No. 2: It would be senseless for me to ever go back to this restaurant because the staff obviously does not care about my business.
I really like the guy who owns this restaurant. Unfortunately, it looks to me as though his business is on a collision course with bankruptcy because his front-line employees don’t give a damn about the customers.
That’s a recipe for disaster in any business.
In the kind of economy we are facing today, people are extremely careful how they spend their money, especially discretionary income. If you want to stay in business, and hopefully grow, you cannot tolerate mediocrity from anyone on your staff. You absolutely must deliver good quality products and combine them with really great employees who have fantastic attitudes and build excellent relationships with your customers.
If you offer anything less, there’s no reason customers should be loyal to your business.
What if you are an employee? I can assure you your boss is looking at expenses more carefully than ever before. If you are not coming in every day and adding tremendous value to the business by doing high-quality work and delivering superior customer service, then there’s a good chance you might be one of the expenses your employer cuts.
Remember, business owners: The success of your business is directly tied to the quality of the people you can get on your team and the quality of the products and services they deliver to your customers.