What’s Special About Your Restaurant?

What’s Special About Your Restaurant?

This is a very important question that you need to answer honestly if you want your place to succeed.

Let’s play pretend for a moment. Let’s pretend that you are one of your clients.

What attracts them to your place?

Is it your great food? or perhaps Your convenient location? Are you the cheapest place around? (I hope not or you will have to make your profit in pure volume.) Do you have a signature dish that attracts people? or Live music? or Does your place have great atmosphere and beautiful decoration? Do you have a view? Easy and convenient parking?

Whatever makes your place unique and different is what it’s called in marketing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and this is the key factor that differentiates your place from any other place.

All restaurants have (or should have) a USP so if yours doesn’t jump at you right away, just sit down when you have a few free minutes (I know, I know, it’s difficult to find free time for a restaurateur but you own to yourself and your business to do this exercise) and write down a list of things that make your place special.

If you are not able to come up with any, ask your staff or any of your regular clients, they may tell you something that you didn’t even thought of.

If nobody can tell you anything special for your place, then you are in trouble my friend, because if you or your people don’t find anything special, nobody else will do. In this case you need to “create” something special. Make a new dish, a new signature cocktail (if you serve alcohol), bring and hang art (from an art school or local artists) in your walls…

Once you finally have your USP, use it in your advertising, make sure that all your employees know about it. Tell your clients. This will resonate with them and will make your place to stand from 90% of other places that have nothing special to offer.

As usual, don’t forget to visit my Web site Restaurant Marketing Strategies and subscribe to my free newsletter. If you are really serious about improving your business, I strongly recommend you to check my Restaurant Marketing Strategies Seminar. It is free for you to evaluate and I can garantee you, it will improve your business dramatically.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
>

 http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Bad Restaurant Service

Bad Service

This weekend I went with my family and some friends to a trip to Long Beach, WA. On the way, we stopped in a Mexican restaurant to get some lunch.

The place was empty (only the 8 of us and another couple) and we were promptly seated in a long table.

Soon enough, our young (in his late teens or early twenties) waiter came with the nachos, no salsa. When after a while we asked him for some salsa, he smiled and brought it a few minutes later. No big deal.

Then we order our foods. Two members of our party didn’t get their tortillas for their fajitas. We waited and waited but the waiter never came back to check on us. Another woman in our group ordered a Coke that never made it to the table. We needed to get up and look for the waiter who was talking to another guy by the kitchen. Finally a busboy brought us the tortillas when they were almost at the end of the meal.

In the middle of the meal, a terrible noise startled us all. Somebody dropped a whole tray filled with glasses. It made a terrible ruckus and got all the attention from our waiter (although he wasn’t the responsible for the accident). We never saw him again until we had to go again and ask for the check.

They charged us for the coke that we never got but we were ready to leave and didn’t want to make a fuss about $1.65 so we paid and left.

Now, we were in our way to Long Beach and it is doubtful that we will stop in that place for a meal any time soon, but even if I was leaving in that town, I don’t think that I would frequent that place. The food, by the way, was pretty good.

I always said that food in a restaurant is important but service is almost as important. If one of the two fails, the dining experience also fails.

I see often restaurateurs hiring very expensive chefs that get lavishly paid, and compensate their expenses by hiring inexperience (and cheap) servers, often teenagers, who are neither interested in the business nor knowledgeable of what a good dining experience entails.

Don’t make this mistake. Good food with poor service is as bad as bad food with great service. Both need to be in balance if you want your place to succeed. Select the best servers that you can get, train them continuously (teach them the foods, the wines, what makes your place unique and special) and don’t try to squeeze as much money as you can from them. Not only they won’t be motivated to offer an excellent service but they may even resent you and pass that resentment along to your clients.

Remember, the weakest link in your business will setup the standard.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Bad Restaurant Service

Bad Service

This weekend I went with my family and some friends to a trip to Long Beach, WA. On the way, we stopped in a Mexican restaurant to get some lunch.

The place was empty (only the 8 of us and another couple) and we were promptly seated in a long table.

Soon enough, our young (in his late teens or early twenties) waiter came with the nachos, no salsa. When after a while we asked him for some salsa, he smiled and brought it a few minutes later. No big deal.

Then we order our foods. Two members of our party didn’t get their tortillas for their fajitas. We waited and waited but the waiter never came back to check on us. Another woman in our group ordered a Coke that never made it to the table. We needed to get up and look for the waiter who was talking to another guy by the kitchen. Finally a busboy brought us the tortillas when they were almost at the end of the meal.

In the middle of the meal, a terrible noise startled us all. Somebody dropped a whole tray filled with glasses. It made a terrible ruckus and got all the attention from our waiter (although he wasn’t the responsible for the accident). We never saw him again until we had to go again and ask for the check.

They charged us for the coke that we never got but we were ready to leave and didn’t want to make a fuss about $1.65 so we paid and left.

Now, we were in our way to Long Beach and it is doubtful that we will stop in that place for a meal any time soon, but even if I was leaving in that town, I don’t think that I would frequent that place. The food, by the way, was pretty good.

I always said that food in a restaurant is important but service is almost as important. If one of the two fails, the dining experience also fails.

I see often restaurateurs hiring very expensive chefs that get lavishly paid, and compensate their expenses by hiring inexperience (and cheap) servers, often teenagers, who are neither interested in the business nor knowledgeable of what a good dining experience entails.

Don’t make this mistake. Good food with poor service is as bad as bad food with great service. Both need to be in balance if you want your place to succeed. Select the best servers that you can get, train them continuously (teach them the foods, the wines, what makes your place unique and special) and don’t try to squeeze as much money as you can from them. Not only they won’t be motivated to offer an excellent service but they may even resent you and pass that resentment along to your clients.

Remember, the weakest link in your business will setup the standard.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
>tech-fav-1

You can find more information about restaurant marketing strategies in my website http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

It’s Always Your Fault: Assume it

Paul Arden, famous writer of the best-selling book: “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE” (highly recommended read, very small and easy to read book) has a whole chapter titled: IT’S ALL MY FAULT. This is his first paragraph:
“If YOU are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no other but yourself.”
This seems to go against human nature. Whenever there is a problem, we human beings, try always to find a responsible to blame (other than ourselves, of course, we are always very understanding with ourselves).
Restaurants are unique businesses because of the incredible number of problems that could arise (see my free newsletter Problems and Crisis for some hands-down solutions and strategies to cope with daily problems).
However, as owners/ managers we are ultimately responsible for any problems and to come up with solutions.
One of the worst things that you can do, as a leader, is blaming your people (or even worse, as I saw with my own eyes a restaurateur to do: blaming your clients) for anything that goes wrong.
If the food arrives cold or late, or the service is lousy or your place is not well located… you need to assume responsibility and think of ways to improve it and make it right.
Restaurant business is a people business and as such, subject to human errors.
Your waiters may trip and spill food over your clients, your chef or cooks may have a bad day when the food doesn’t taste as good as usual, five things break at the same time, somebody gets sick and you are short on personnel…
Your job is no to blame people for these problems, it is to find solutions and make your clients happy regardless of what happened. Your clients are not responsible for your problems so blaming your staff in front of them to excuse the problem doesn’t help you at all.
Your clients are also people and therefore understand that things can go wrong. It is only when the big ego of many restaurant owners gets in the middle that things start going south.
If a clients don’t like their food, don’t argue with them. Instead, offer them a solution: change their food, offer them another dish (if they really don’t like that one), give them a refund if they lost their appetite. If the food arrives late, apologize and offer the clients a compensation. Perhaps a free entree if there is a party (you will still make a profit), or a free dessert if they are not spending much money.
People always appreciate the willingness to fix problems.
If one of your waiters trips over and spills food, don’t get mad at them. Offer your client to pay for their dry cleaning and give them a free meal. They will be happy and you won’t make a scene in front of your clientele. Besides, getting mad at the waiter will only make them more nervous and clumsy and can bring more unfortunate events.
Of course, if you see that one specific person is very clumsy, careless and prone to accidents, you should consider replacing that person (probably they are in the wrong job anyway) but don’t deal with this issue in front of your clients when your place is full of people.
At the end, you are responsible for hiring your employees, for training them and for motivating them. If they don’t perform up to the (high I presume) standards that you’ve setup for your place, you should ask yourself why.
Is there a lack of training, of interest, of skills? If so, they are fixable. You can setup a training program, motivate your employees by explaining your philosophy and rewards system…
If, however, an employee is hopeless or dishonest, get rid of them. The world is full of honest and good people willing to do their best to make your clients happy.
So, assume your problems, deal with them and give your clients the best experience that you can. Be honest and open with them if something goes wrong, and explain that you assume complete responsibility and will deal with the problem to make them happy.
Remember, at the end, it is always your fault so deal with it.
As usual, please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
joser@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

It’s Always Your Fault: Assume it

Paul Arden, famous writer of the best-selling book: “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE” (highly recommended read, very small and easy to read book) has a whole chapter titled: IT’S ALL MY FAULT. This is his first paragraph:

“If YOU are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no other but yourself.”

This seems to go against human nature. Whenever there is a problem, we human beings, try always to find a responsible to blame (other than ourselves, of course, we are always very understanding with ourselves).

Restaurants are unique businesses because of the incredible number of problems that could arise (see my free newsletter Problems and Crisis for some hands-down solutions and strategies to cope with daily problems).

However, as owners/ managers we are ultimately responsible for any problems and to come up with solutions.

One of the worst things that you can do, as a leader, is blaming your people (or even worse, as I saw with my own eyes a restaurateur to do: blaming your clients) for anything that goes wrong.

If the food arrives cold or late, or the service is lousy or your place is not well located… you need to assume responsibility and think of ways to improve it and make it right.

Restaurant business is a people business and as such, subject to human errors.

Your waiters may trip and spill food over your clients, your chef or cooks may have a bad day when the food doesn’t taste as good as usual, five things break at the same time, somebody gets sick and you are short on personnel…

Your job is no to blame people for these problems, it is to find solutions and make your clients happy regardless of what happened. Your clients are not responsible for your problems so blaming your staff in front of them to excuse the problem doesn’t help you at all.

Your clients are also people and therefore understand that things can go wrong. It is only when the big ego of many restaurant owners gets in the middle that things start going south.

If a clients don’t like their food, don’t argue with them. Instead, offer them a solution: change their food, offer them another dish (if they really don’t like that one), give them a refund if they lost their appetite. If the food arrives late, apologize and offer the clients a compensation. Perhaps a free entree if there is a party (you will still make a profit), or a free dessert if they are not spending much money.

People always appreciate the willingness to fix problems.

If one of your waiters trips over and spills food, don’t get mad at them. Offer your client to pay for their dry cleaning and give them a free meal. They will be happy and you won’t make a scene in front of your clientele. Besides, getting mad at the waiter will only make them more nervous and clumsy and can bring more unfortunate events.

Of course, if you see that one specific person is very clumsy, careless and prone to accidents, you should consider replacing that person (probably they are in the wrong job anyway) but don’t deal with this issue in front of your clients when your place is full of people.

At the end, you are responsible for hiring your employees, for training them and for motivating them. If they don’t perform up to the (high I presume) standards that you’ve setup for your place, you should ask yourself why.

Is there a lack of training, of interest, of skills? If so, they are fixable. You can setup a training program, motivate your employees by explaining your philosophy and rewards system…

If, however, an employee is hopeless or dishonest, get rid of them. The world is full of honest and good people willing to do their best to make your clients happy.

So, assume your problems, deal with them and give your clients the best experience that you can. Be honest and open with them if something goes wrong, and explain that you assume complete responsibility and will deal with the problem to make them happy.

Remember, at the end, it is always your fault so deal with it.

As usual, please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

It’s Always Your Fault: Assume it

Paul Arden, famous writer of the best-selling book: “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE” (highly recommended read, very small and easy to read book) has a whole chapter titled: IT’S ALL MY FAULT. This is his first paragraph:
“If YOU are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no other but yourself.”
This seems to go against human nature. Whenever there is a problem, we human beings, try always to find a responsible to blame (other than ourselves, of course, we are always very understanding with ourselves).
Restaurants are unique businesses because of the incredible number of problems that could arise (see my free newsletter Problems and Crisis for some hands-down solutions and strategies to cope with daily problems).
However, as owners/ managers we are ultimately responsible for any problems and to come up with solutions.
One of the worst things that you can do, as a leader, is blaming your people (or even worse, as I saw with my own eyes a restaurateur to do: blaming your clients) for anything that goes wrong.
If the food arrives cold or late, or the service is lousy or your place is not well located… you need to assume responsibility and think of ways to improve it and make it right.
Restaurant business is a people business and as such, subject to human errors.
Your waiters may trip and spill food over your clients, your chef or cooks may have a bad day when the food doesn’t taste as good as usual, five things break at the same time, somebody gets sick and you are short on personnel…
Your job is no to blame people for these problems, it is to find solutions and make your clients happy regardless of what happened. Your clients are not responsible for your problems so blaming your staff in front of them to excuse the problem doesn’t help you at all.
Your clients are also people and therefore understand that things can go wrong. It is only when the big ego of many restaurant owners gets in the middle that things start going south.
If a clients don’t like their food, don’t argue with them. Instead, offer them a solution: change their food, offer them another dish (if they really don’t like that one), give them a refund if they lost their appetite. If the food arrives late, apologize and offer the clients a compensation. Perhaps a free entree if there is a party (you will still make a profit), or a free dessert if they are not spending much money.
People always appreciate the willingness to fix problems.
If one of your waiters trips over and spills food, don’t get mad at them. Offer your client to pay for their dry cleaning and give them a free meal. They will be happy and you won’t make a scene in front of your clientele. Besides, getting mad at the waiter will only make them more nervous and clumsy and can bring more unfortunate events.
Of course, if you see that one specific person is very clumsy, careless and prone to accidents, you should consider replacing that person (probably they are in the wrong job anyway) but don’t deal with this issue in front of your clients when your place is full of people.
At the end, you are responsible for hiring your employees, for training them and for motivating them. If they don’t perform up to the (high I presume) standards that you’ve setup for your place, you should ask yourself why.
Is there a lack of training, of interest, of skills? If so, they are fixable. You can setup a training program, motivate your employees by explaining your philosophy and rewards system…
If, however, an employee is hopeless or dishonest, get rid of them. The world is full of honest and good people willing to do their best to make your clients happy.
So, assume your problems, deal with them and give your clients the best experience that you can. Be honest and open with them if something goes wrong, and explain that you assume complete responsibility and will deal with the problem to make them happy.
Remember, at the end, it is always your fault so deal with it.
As usual, please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
joser@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

It’s Always Your Fault: Assume it

Paul Arden, famous writer of the best-selling book: “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE” (highly recommended read, very small and easy to read book) has a whole chapter titled: IT’S ALL MY FAULT. This is his first paragraph:
“If YOU are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no other but yourself.”
This seems to go against human nature. Whenever there is a problem, we human beings, try always to find a responsible to blame (other than ourselves, of course, we are always very understanding with ourselves).
Restaurants are unique businesses because of the incredible number of problems that could arise (see my free newsletter Problems and Crisis for some hands-down solutions and strategies to cope with daily problems).
However, as owners/ managers we are ultimately responsible for any problems and to come up with solutions.
One of the worst things that you can do, as a leader, is blaming your people (or even worse, as I saw with my own eyes a restaurateur to do: blaming your clients) for anything that goes wrong.
If the food arrives cold or late, or the service is lousy or your place is not well located… you need to assume responsibility and think of ways to improve it and make it right.
Restaurant business is a people business and as such, subject to human errors.
Your waiters may trip and spill food over your clients, your chef or cooks may have a bad day when the food doesn’t taste as good as usual, five things break at the same time, somebody gets sick and you are short on personnel…
Your job is no to blame people for these problems, it is to find solutions and make your clients happy regardless of what happened. Your clients are not responsible for your problems so blaming your staff in front of them to excuse the problem doesn’t help you at all.
Your clients are also people and therefore understand that things can go wrong. It is only when the big ego of many restaurant owners gets in the middle that things start going south.
If a clients don’t like their food, don’t argue with them. Instead, offer them a solution: change their food, offer them another dish (if they really don’t like that one), give them a refund if they lost their appetite. If the food arrives late, apologize and offer the clients a compensation. Perhaps a free entree if there is a party (you will still make a profit), or a free dessert if they are not spending much money.
People always appreciate the willingness to fix problems.
If one of your waiters trips over and spills food, don’t get mad at them. Offer your client to pay for their dry cleaning and give them a free meal. They will be happy and you won’t make a scene in front of your clientele. Besides, getting mad at the waiter will only make them more nervous and clumsy and can bring more unfortunate events.
Of course, if you see that one specific person is very clumsy, careless and prone to accidents, you should consider replacing that person (probably they are in the wrong job anyway) but don’t deal with this issue in front of your clients when your place is full of people.
At the end, you are responsible for hiring your employees, for training them and for motivating them. If they don’t perform up to the (high I presume) standards that you’ve setup for your place, you should ask yourself why.
Is there a lack of training, of interest, of skills? If so, they are fixable. You can setup a training program, motivate your employees by explaining your philosophy and rewards system…
If, however, an employee is hopeless or dishonest, get rid of them. The world is full of honest and good people willing to do their best to make your clients happy.
So, assume your problems, deal with them and give your clients the best experience that you can. Be honest and open with them if something goes wrong, and explain that you assume complete responsibility and will deal with the problem to make them happy.
Remember, at the end, it is always your fault so deal with it.
As usual, please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
joser@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

It’s Always Your Fault: Assume it

Paul Arden, famous writer of the best-selling book: “IT’S NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, IT’S HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE” (highly recommended read, very small and easy to read book) has a whole chapter titled: IT’S ALL MY FAULT. This is his first paragraph:

“If YOU are involved in something that goes wrong, never blame others. Blame no other but yourself.”

This seems to go against human nature. Whenever there is a problem, we human beings, try always to find a responsible to blame (other than ourselves, of course, we are always very understanding with ourselves).

Restaurants are unique businesses because of the incredible number of problems that could arise (see my free newsletter Problems and Crisis for some hands-down solutions and strategies to cope with daily problems).

However, as owners/ managers we are ultimately responsible for any problems and to come up with solutions.

One of the worst things that you can do, as a leader, is blaming your people (or even worse, as I saw with my own eyes a restaurateur to do: blaming your clients) for anything that goes wrong.

If the food arrives cold or late, or the service is lousy or your place is not well located… you need to assume responsibility and think of ways to improve it and make it right.

Restaurant business is a people business and as such, subject to human errors.

Your waiters may trip and spill food over your clients, your chef or cooks may have a bad day when the food doesn’t taste as good as usual, five things break at the same time, somebody gets sick and you are short on personnel…

Your job is no to blame people for these problems, it is to find solutions and make your clients happy regardless of what happened. Your clients are not responsible for your problems so blaming your staff in front of them to excuse the problem doesn’t help you at all.

Your clients are also people and therefore understand that things can go wrong. It is only when the big ego of many restaurant owners gets in the middle that things start going south.

If a clients don’t like their food, don’t argue with them. Instead, offer them a solution: change their food, offer them another dish (if they really don’t like that one), give them a refund if they lost their appetite. If the food arrives late, apologize and offer the clients a compensation. Perhaps a free entree if there is a party (you will still make a profit), or a free dessert if they are not spending much money.

People always appreciate the willingness to fix problems.

If one of your waiters trips over and spills food, don’t get mad at them. Offer your client to pay for their dry cleaning and give them a free meal. They will be happy and you won’t make a scene in front of your clientele. Besides, getting mad at the waiter will only make them more nervous and clumsy and can bring more unfortunate events.

Of course, if you see that one specific person is very clumsy, careless and prone to accidents, you should consider replacing that person (probably they are in the wrong job anyway) but don’t deal with this issue in front of your clients when your place is full of people.

At the end, you are responsible for hiring your employees, for training them and for motivating them. If they don’t perform up to the (high I presume) standards that you’ve setup for your place, you should ask yourself why.

Is there a lack of training, of interest, of skills? If so, they are fixable. You can setup a training program, motivate your employees by explaining your philosophy and rewards system…

If, however, an employee is hopeless or dishonest, get rid of them. The world is full of honest and good people willing to do their best to make your clients happy.

So, assume your problems, deal with them and give your clients the best experience that you can. Be honest and open with them if something goes wrong, and explain that you assume complete responsibility and will deal with the problem to make them happy.

Remember, at the end, it is always your fault so deal with it.

As usual, please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you. You can reach me at jose@riescoconsulting.com

Also, please visit my web site Restaurant Marketing Strategies check out my Strategies Seminar free for 30 days and/or participate in the forums. They are there for you.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco

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The Annoying Yelpers

Caroline McCarthy
in an article in CNET mentions how restaurant and cafe owners are angry about their customers (or former customers, I guess) complaining about them in Yelp.
Yelp is a business reviews site with a very vocal user base willing to be brutally honest about the quality of their local restaurants and bars (among many other businesses).
Nowadays, only few people go to restaurants after looking at the ads in the Yellow Pages (for more information about the Yellow Pages as a marketing vehicle for your restaurant, please read my previous blog).
So what do web savvy customers these days? They use Yelp (or other websites like Citysearch.com, Zagat.com or Restaurants.com) and read the comments and reviews in these sites from other people’s experiences before deciding to go to a new restaurant. Negative comments from angry customers have a big (negative) impact in local restaurants.
Yelp.com, being a for profit business as it is, doesn’t want to get the business owners alienated and rioting againts it, so they have just launched a new service so that the business owners can interact with the site’s users.
The service is called “
Yelp for Business Owners
“. This is a special section in Yelp.com site that lets business owners register for special Yelp accounts, which they then need to verify by phone.
Once registered, restaurant owners and managers (just like you), have access to some analytics (namely to see how many people have been viewing your restaurant page), receive e-mail alerts when you have new reviews, update useful information like your hours of operation, contact information, special menus, etc. You can also send messages to the users who have already reviewed your business.
Yelp won’t charge you for these special accounts.
Caroline mentions that this service will likely have its biggest splash in cities like San Francisco, where Yelper is based and where “Yelper” has become a pejorative among some restaurant and cafe owners.
If you are familiar with my thinking (you can read my previous blogs or the Introduction to my Seminar to get some more information), you know by now how much importance I give to a total client satisfaction strategy.
You shouldn’t need to wait for your clients to leave your place disgrunted and write bad reviews about you or your place in Yelp (or any other online site for that matter).
Your job is to make your clients 100% happy with their experience in your place, even if you have to give them a partial refund (or a complete free meal if the situation so requires, to make them happy).
And believe me when I tell you that, although you are doing this to please your clients, there is something on it as well for you. There are several benefits for you if you follow this policy:
  • The (now) happy clients won’t write bad things about you in the online forums (no need for you to lose your precious time doing spin control, think how much do you value your time).
  • They may even write positive comments about how you turned a bad experience into a good one.
  • These clients would probably go back to your place to try again, therefore giving you again your money back (and perhaps if their next experience is excellent, becoming regular clients).
  • One negative comment about your place will make you lose tens or even hundreds of potential customers that would’ve (otherwise) decide to give you their patronage. After all, who wants to try a restaurant full of negative comments? Not me for sure.So you see? All of the sudden a full meal refund doesn’t look so bad, does it? Think about it as a small marketing investment that it will pay you many times over instead of a loss.
In these times of free access to information, the customers are in control. There is nothing (or very little) that you can do to mitigate the damage, once the customers leaves your place unhappy. They will tell the whole world about their experience. You can count on it. The only thing that you can do is when they are still in your restaurant.
Offer them a free meal, give them a discount coupon so that they can go back and try again. Do whatever it takes to mitigate their annoyance. Above all, don’t let them walk away unhappy. You will regret it.
Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you. You can reach me at
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
joser@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

The Annoying Yelpers

Caroline McCarthy in an article in CNET mentions how restaurant and cafe owners are angry about their customers (or former customers, I guess) complaining about them in Yelp.

Yelp is a business reviews site with a very vocal user base willing to be brutally honest about the quality of their local restaurants and bars (among many other businesses).

Nowadays, only few people go to restaurants after looking at the ads in the Yellow Pages (for more information about the Yellow Pages as a marketing vehicle for your restaurant, please read my previous blog).

So what do web savvy customers these days? They use Yelp (or other websites like Citysearch.com, Zagat.com or Restaurants.com) and read the comments and reviews in these sites from other people’s experiences before deciding to go to a new restaurant. Negative comments from angry customers have a big (negative) impact in local restaurants.

Yelp.com, being a for profit business as it is, doesn’t want to get the business owners alienated and rioting againts it, so they have just launched a new service so that the business owners can interact with the site’s users.
The service is called “Yelp for Business Owners“. This is a special section in Yelp.com site that lets business owners register for special Yelp accounts, which they then need to verify by phone.

Once registered, restaurant owners and managers (just like you), have access to some analytics (namely to see how many people have been viewing your restaurant page), receive e-mail alerts when you have new reviews, update useful information like your hours of operation, contact information, special menus, etc. You can also send messages to the users who have already reviewed your business.

Yelp won’t charge you for these special accounts.

Caroline mentions that this service will likely have its biggest splash in cities like San Francisco, where Yelper is based and where “Yelper” has become a pejorative among some restaurant and cafe owners.

If you are familiar with my thinking (you can read my previous blogs or the Introduction to my Seminar to get some more information), you know by now how much importance I give to a total client satisfaction strategy.

You shouldn’t need to wait for your clients to leave your place disgrunted and write bad reviews about you or your place in Yelp (or any other online site for that matter).

Your job is to make your clients 100% happy with their experience in your place, even if you have to give them a partial refund (or a complete free meal if the situation so requires, to make them happy).

And believe me when I tell you that, although you are doing this to please your clients, there is something on it as well for you. There are several benefits for you if you follow this policy:

  • The (now) happy clients won’t write bad things about you in the online forums (no need for you to lose your precious time doing spin control, think how much do you value your time).
  • They may even write positive comments about how you turned a bad experience into a good one.
  • These clients would probably go back to your place to try again, therefore giving you again your money back (and perhaps if their next experience is excellent, becoming regular clients).
  • One negative comment about your place will make you lose tens or even hundreds of potential customers that would’ve (otherwise) decide to give you their patronage. After all, who wants to try a restaurant full of negative comments? Not me for sure.So you see? All of the sudden a full meal refund doesn’t look so bad, does it? Think about it as a small marketing investment that it will pay you many times over instead of a loss.

In these times of free access to information, the customers are in control. There is nothing (or very little) that you can do to mitigate the damage, once the customers leaves your place unhappy. They will tell the whole world about their experience. You can count on it. The only thing that you can do is when they are still in your restaurant.

Offer them a free meal, give them a discount coupon so that they can go back and try again. Do whatever it takes to mitigate their annoyance. Above all, don’t let them walk away unhappy. You will regret it.
Please let me know what you think. I love to hear from you. You can reach me at jose@riescoconsulting.com

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
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