SERIOUSLY?! YOU DON’T LET THE CUSTOMER WALK!
So last Thursday Dawn and I decided we needed a night out. After a tedious workweek and feeling the need to let off some steam, we hit the town.
One of our first stops was to a busy pub we frequent quite often but haven’t been to in a while. As we made our way up the front steps, a hurried waitress came from behind carrying in dishes from the busy patio. After excusing herself and slipping by us (I won’t mention the fact that she almost knocked us over), she stopped short at the top of stairs, turned, and said,” Are you looking for a table?” I laughed, finding her abruptness almost comical as Dawn responded, “yes, if you have one.”
The waitress proceeded to inform us that there were no tables and it was at least a 45-minute wait. When Dawn asked if there was room at the bar to have a glass of wine, the waitress put her ear to her shoulder and said no, before turning on her heel and walking away, leaving us standing there.
Now I get it. It was a busy evening, the place was packed and they couldn’t accommodate a couple of walk-ins.
But I want to rewind to this same pub just a few months earlier. A winter night when Dawn and I decided to head down for some dinner and a glass of wine Friday after work (sensing a theme here?).
When we arrive, the place is pumping, jammed with happy “happy hour-ers” excited to celebrate the week and the weekend. Dawn and I walk through the front door and standing there happens to be the manager and the owner. After some brief and casual chitchat, Dawn tells them we are looking for a table. The manager explains that while there’s a bit of a wait for a table – about 45 minutes actually – they can certainly find us a glass of wine to sip on while we wait at the bar. When I tell him that 45 minutes seems a bit long and maybe we should go elsewhere, he insists we stay and simultaneously motions for the bartender to take our wine order. When the owner sees we’re still unsure about staying, he tells the bartender to put our drinks on his tab.
We spent far more than the price of two glasses of wine that evening.
This past weekend, again unplanned (yes, I need to get better at making reservations), my husband and I made an impromptu stop at this beautiful little Island restaurant in the country. We told the lady who greeted us that we were interested in a drink on the deck and maybe seeing a menu. She said the restaurant wouldn’t open for an hour and when we turned to leave she stopped us. She said “I’m sure we could make you up a delicious cheese plate if you’d like to stay for a drink and enjoy the deck”. So we did. And it was lovely. And they made an extra $55.
It’s not that I would expect every restaurant, or business for that matter, to accommodate two walk-ins when they already have a place full of customers to service. I understand that sometimes it’s tough but honestly, if there’s a way in the world to get me in for a drink or a cheese plate you should! If you absolutely can’t, you should try to at least get a reservation out of me for a later time. Letting people simply walk away with no effort to accommodate is just bad business – albeit great for your competition.