A slippery slope…
When it opened, it was a magical restaurant.
There was a warm welcome, attentive staff and at the table, you were served freshly prepared bread with tasty olive oil and a vinegar combo to maximise the moment.
Welcome to our restaurant, please take a seat, and I will be right over with a menu.
Sure, I would love to place my order, and I would go over the top with what I would choose to eat. The prices were reasonable, the food was fabulous, and so off I would go with throwing caution to the wind again.
Why did I go big on every visit?
Was it the price?… nope.
Was it the generous portion size?… nope.
Let me guess, was it the quality of the food… nope.
It was the warm welcome and the complimentary bread.
As they would say in the old MTV days, that is where the magic happened, at the warm welcome and the free bread. This was what made the experience so special. The visit started off so well and so exemplary that everything else around it fell into place.
But that was then, and this is now. Oh, how things can change.
The free bread is gone, and the welcome, well, that is a pitifully poor experience for the host and for me.
The food is as good as it was, but the portion size looks like it has taken a hit, and the price has been held firm.
I guess the finance guys have looked at the books, and something had to give. The call went out to refine the offer to balance the cash flow, margins and all that other stuff.
The spreadsheet guy most likely said, ‘we need a cost-saving exercise.’
The complimentary bread and to bin a couple of the staff was their selection to make things go green on the excel spreadsheet.
Wrong choice, but not surprising.
It is a pity that the choice was made so that the magic has evaporated.
This is what happens when the money men make the decisions, and the people who understand service and what might surprise and delight customers are left out of the process.
I see it every day… Look at the numbers, drive the performance, push the productivity and force the damn customer to buy something.
Well, guess what. Customers are not an easy mark.
As for this customer…
I won’t be back. You can ram your pizza where the sun doesn’t shine.
The till drawer.