Monday, August 20, 2007

Why Turning People Away Can Be a Bad Marketing Decision

Recently, I spent the weekend at the Jersey Shore for a little getaway. One afternoon was particularly rainy and my wife and I were hungry, so we took a stroll through the drizzle to a nice-looking local restaurant we had never been to before.

We sat down around 2:15 and finished about 3:30. The restaurant, however, stopped allowing diners in at 3, "to prep for dinner." At 3, the owner and all the waitresses gathered around a table by the front door, and, in plain sight mind you, began counting out their take for the day. Meanwhile, a few small groups trudged in from the rain for a bite to eat and the owner turned them all away, even though we and a couple of other groups were still there.

Now, I know very little about operating a restaurant, but it just seemed to me that on a dreary Sunday afternoon, turning away potential customers seemed like a poor business and marketing decision. Chances are that the restaurant would be closed on Monday, and chances are that Sunday night dinner wouldn't be a busy time either, judging by the heavy flow of traffic away from Shore points later that day.

So my point here is that if your restaurant is up and running and employees are already there, why not let 'em in to eat? Like I said before, I don't know a whole lot about running a restaurant, but it just seems to me that if people are willing to give you money in exchange for your goods and/or services, and if you already have everything in place, you should do your best to suit them-- particularly if your evening and the next day would likely be slow.

From a marketing standpoint, I'd have a hard time going back there knowing that they'd prefer to count their money in front of customers while also kicking other potential customers back out into the rain. The food was tasty, but this scene left a sour taste in my mouth.

Have you ever been a part of a situation like this? And what are your thoughts on the matter? Do tell!

No comments: