Advertise And They Come — Will You Be Ready?

Jim Luff
Posted on November 17, 2009
WORD GETS AROUND: First impressions are lasting and social media kills when it comes to bad customer service. . .
BAKERSFIELD, CA -- I have mused about my love for good food and good service in the past and constantly compare the delivery of service to the standards I have established for our employees. I was recently lured in to a restaurant by a high quality, glossy, color insert in my local newspaper. The photos of the food looked scrumptious. The combination specials looked like a value. The location was close to the office. I had driven by a million times but never ventured inside. Now, the fancy advertising compelled me to have lunch there.
My assistant, Treanna, and I headed to lunch with big expectations. Maybe that was my first mistake. We arrived and found the place to be empty except for maybe three or four occupied tables. Our order was taken promptly by a young man. Within five minutes, Treanna’s plate was delivered to our table. She sat patiently waiting for my food to arrive. Five minutes passed. I encouraged her to eat so her food would not be cold. She continued to wait. Five more minutes passed and I went to the counter and asked when my food would be delivered to the young man who took my order. He let me know, he just takes the orders. He asked the server. She said she had no idea. I explained most restaurants usually present the food to a table at one time.
I truly believe it was at that point they began making my plate. Ten minutes later, it was on the table, less silverware of course. I had to go retrieve that at the counter as well. Next up, a manager or owner yelled at the young man at the counter for using her register. It was loud, boisterous, and unprofessional and made all the patrons in the restaurant look as she screamed, “Don’t ever use my register! Where is the ticket? Where is the ticket?”
Needless to say, we will never return to that restaurant again. And, because I love my friends and thought they too might be lured in to this restaurant by the slick advertising, I warned my nearly 500 Facebook friends about how the experience. 
The moral of the story is this: When you design your brochures and explain how wonderful you are, remember that the brochure may be the thing that compels a new customer to call upon you. If you screw it up from the beginning, you have wasted the money to print the brochure and run the risk that in today’s connected society, instead of casually mentioning your failure to a handful of people over the next few days, the offended customer can disseminate it in just a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, eliminating a potential 500 new customers in one moment. By the way, the food was so-so and many people commented to my post that they also had been there and would not be going back. I predict this restaurant will fail within six months.

— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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