Operations

Stop Worrying About Them — Focus On You

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 25, 2019

Jon Taffer, New York Times bestselling author, highly sought-after hospitality and general business consultant, and creator, executive producer, and star of Paramount Network’s Bar Rescue.https://jontaffer.com

Jon Taffer, New York Times bestselling author, highly sought-after hospitality and general business consultant, and creator, executive producer, and star of Paramount Network’s Bar Rescue.

https://jontaffer.com

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It’s time to stop fretting over TNCs. The industry should know by now Uber and Lyft’s customers are not chauffeured transportation clients. If you’re losing business, the only person you have to blame is yourself.

This was the message Jon Taffer, New York Times bestselling author, highly sought-after hospitality and general business consultant, and creator, executive producer, and star of Paramount Network’s Bar Rescue, hammered home at the 2019 International LCT Show. Sponsored by Grech Motors, this was a keynote speaker attendees will remember for years to come.

Non-Existent Consistency 

A proud customer of luxury chauffeured transportation, Taffer does business with operators two to three times a week. “My friends used to tell me ‘You’ll never be on TV. You’re not good looking enough,’” he said. Ironically, his show is now in its sixth season. “It’s just like how I could say you’ll never beat Uber, but you will if you want to.” From the get go, Taffer aimed to give attendees some tough love.

He mentioned how he struggles when he gets into a chauffeured vehicle and the chauffeurs are inconsistent. “How can I get in a car from the same company, and one chauffeur has water, while the other doesn’t? Or another has snacks and the other doesn’t? One gentleman doesn’t stop talking to me and wants to know the name of my daughter and when I got married, but the other guy won’t say a freakin’ word to me?” This lack of standards is what he considers to be the weakest point of the industry.

“We have to understand without standards, the other guys win. Standards are how we define ourselves.”

Lessons From Failure

Any business consultant will tell you how to be successful, but the best lessons come from your own mistakes. Taffer discovered the common denominator of failure about 120 episodes into his show. “One day, someone came up to me and said, ‘I’m failing because of the Euro in Greece.’ Mind you, this was a bar in Detroit. I realized at that moment after hundreds of episodes, never once did anyone ever say, ‘Jon, I’m failing because of me.’ Every time it’s because of the competitor, mayor, President, Congress, etc.; they have every freakin’ excuse in the world but themselves.”

“Every one of these excuses is, excuse my language, bullshit. Excuses are the reconciliation of failure. It’s how you live with yourself; any time you use one, it’s because you did something you shouldn’t have.” 

He said every time you try to use an excuse, whether it’s Uber, Lyft, that you can’t get good employees, or equipment breaks down, you need to recognize those as what they are: Not just excuses, but every day realities. “If you don’t own your excuses, they’ll own you.”

Make A Change

People tend to want their revenues and guests experiences to change, but that doesn’t happen without some legwork. It’s not a coincidence when you meet companies growing exponentially; that’s a consequence of getting out there and making it happen themselves.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. We wake up, complain about Uber and disruption, sit down at our desks, and do the same thing we did yesterday. Yet we don’t understand why nothing’s changed. If we don’t change what we do, we will not change what we get.”

“Uber is a convenience app. We are an experience industry. We are not Uber. Screw Uber. Let them do what they do. We need to be better at what we do.”

“Uber is a convenience app. We are an experience industry. We are not Uber. Screw Uber. Let them do what they do. We need to be better at what we do.”

Taffer gave an example of a corporate client who won’t spend money on chauffeured transportation, but will drive past a Holiday Inn to stay at a Ritz-Carlton. “He flies first class instead of economy, yet tells you your price isn’t worth it. It’s not your price that’s the problem; it’s your perceived value. There’s no difference, no reason to spend more,” he explained.

He asked the audience to raise their hands if they had chauffeurs out on the road who probably don’t provide the best customer service. “How can you succeed if you know that and didn’t do anything about it? That’s like having a football team and not caring about how the players play. The problem is we don’t elevate employees to our standards; we let ours drop down to theirs.”

Create A Reaction

You aren’t just providing transportation — you’re creating a reaction in your clients, and those who create the best reactions win. Taffer told a story about how he once had to take an Uber because his car service vehicle was two hours late. “A car pulls up, and it has a black quilted seat cover on the back seat. The first thing I think is, ‘This guy doesn’t trust me to sit in his car. He must think I’m a loser!’” After sliding back and forth throughout the unsafe ride, the only reaction his TNC experience brought about was disappointment and longing for a chauffeured car.

He called out a representative from the company he’s been using for 10 years when he’s in Los Angeles and said he would never call anyone else because of the relationship he has with him. “I am hugged when he sees me at the airport. What I get with his company is something money can’t buy: Respect, status, significance, importance…all of the things that mean something to us in life. We all want to feel important.”

The reaction of your guests means everything to the future of not only your company, but chauffeured transportation as a whole. You don’t beat Uber by knocking them down; you beat them by building yourself up. “Your front line is your bottom line. Your chauffeurs drive sales. We must assume everyone we do business with has executive level expectations, and it all comes from your people. They are your perceived value.” 

He elaborated on the difference between teaching and training. Training is behavior modification. You can’t change people — they have to want to represent your business the right way. Training is arming those who have potential with the tools they need to help build the business. “When you hire people, to hell with experience. You show me someone with the right personality, give me a few days, and I’ll make them a great chauffeur. Hire for personality, energy, compassion, and remember every time we lose an employee, it’s a chance to hire someone better. Upgrade. Don’t ever compromise your standards.”   

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Related Topics: casinos, hotels, ILCT 2019, industry education, keynote speakers, LCT Show, Lyft, Mandalay Bay, TNCs, Uber

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Mark Petree

     | about 3 months ago

    Great article Lexi! So true, Uber and Lyft never were competitors.

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