Saturday, October 31, 2009
Really now who should we believe, the uninformed baker who is on the front lines of this economic malaise or the bright intelligent ivory tower types who tell us that "prosperity is just around the corner and all boats will be lifted by this incredible economic recovery" Always the optimist, I am siding with my friend the baker. It is very scary out there this All Halos Eve.
Seth's quote is interesting because it encapsulates the thought process of the first few moments in any dining or purchasing decision. The purchaser examines the menu offerings while engulfed by the atmosphere that has been created by the entrepreneur. The decision resulting from those moments of contemplation is based in large measure on the thrill of possibility.
Fortunately that was not the case. Apparently no one but me was in a celebratory mood and the traffic count that night was way down. Cheer up I told the manager the recession is over.
To which Tim wrote on his blog:
"Fabulous.You sir are exactly the type of patron that I never want to see at an Alamo Drafthouse ever again. People who continue to talk when the movie has started are impolite, self-absorbed losers who were never taught common decency by their parents. WE DON’T EVER WANT YOU AT THE ALAMO. Please take your business elsewhere for the rest of your life....To our friendly customers, stay vigilant, report talkers and keep our theater safe from the raging hemorrhoids of cinematic society."
This happens all the time inside stores, movie theaters, sporting events, airline flights; an obnoxious customer makes everyone uncomfortable, and everyone in charge is oblivious.
- Ask questions. I would ask open ended, exploratory questions. Who, what, when, where, how, why, etc. Questions that would clarify what she was saying and feeling. Questions that would help me unpack the situation from her perspective. I would stay away from leading questions and statements that pretended to be questions but wouldn't fool anyone, like "You don't actually believe that, do you?"
- Actually listen. I would shut up and hear what she had to say. And I would avoid thinking about anything except what she was saying. I would also try to hear what she wasn't saying but was implying, the desires, fears, and assumptions that were behind what she was saying.
- Repeat and summarize. I would recap what I heard, trying to use the same words she did. I would also summarize what I heard and check with her to see if I understood her correctly. If she told me I didn't get it, I wouldn't ask her to repeat herself because, well, she would and I'd hear the whole thing over again. What I really wanted to know is what I got wrong. So I'd ask her what I missed. Once she told me, I'd repeat that part again and ask her if I got it right this time.
Most importantly, I wouldn't bother to defend our decision until her anger was diffused. And I picked a sign for myself: once she took a deep breath and relaxed her shoulders, I'd make my point.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
People have less money or are feeling less wealthy in most cases and they are simply not going to tolerate exchanging their few discretionary dollars for a dining experience that does not meet their expectations. The study identifies the percentage that would complain, more problematic for your business are those who feel the experience was sub par and choose not to return. In those cases you have no idea why they did not return. The customer just vanished, and guess what if your business has a trend of vanishing customers, the business will also vanish.
Time to start pumping citrus into the air in your business.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Have you ever wondered why some restaurant concepts flourish while others flounder? Have you done everything "right" and gotten a less than satisfactory result? Have you had a successful concept, opened your second one and stumbled badly? Well the problem is the finger of instability that permeates all elements of our existence. Actually the scientific term is self organizing criticality.
Mark Buchanan's "Ubiquity" describes the situation in this fashion;
"What counts in the critical state are not complex details but extremely simple underlying features of geometry that control how influences can propagate"
All one can do is their very best, everything else is whether or not their is enough underlying geometry to propagate the business.
Friday, October 23, 2009
– Harriet Beecher Stowe
There is carnage all around you. Some of your friends have shuttered their dreams. Economists are telling you the worst is over however you see people losing their homes in your neighborhood. Against this backdrop you need to create a plan for 2010.
Ivana Taylor has some great questions for your (Plan 2010)
- What is my situation right now?
- What scares you about this?
- Given what you’ve said, what is your default future?
Now take a look at that and decide if that’s right for you. Is this default future ok with you? I’m assuming the answer is probably no. So let’s try this again.
- What’s the situation right now?
- What missing in this situation, that if it were present, would open new possibilities? Is it risk-taking? creativity? passion about the business? Caring for the customer?
- What future is possible now that you’ve brought in the missing ingredient?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
it is ok and even beneficial to learn from mistakes
The table does not work because everyone has the same mindset I used to have. There is an old proverb which escapes now, however the essence is that we age when we close ourselves off from new people and new experiences. When we are tried of trying to be social we become less than we were. Humans are a social animal, we need communal tables, granted we need a little Nudge
Living the dream!
So look for red wines with low iron.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Finished foods: Prices for finished consumer foods inched down 0.1 percent in September after
rising 0.4 percent in August. The index for eggs for fresh use, which declined 9.8 percent, led the
decrease in finished consumer food prices.
Too often, a perfect meal is tarnished because the restaurant failed to follow through and close out the guest experience in a congruent fashion. The last memory tends to be the one that has traction.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Cognitive Dissonance is defined by wiki as,
"is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. The "ideas" or "cognitions" in question may include attitudes and beliefs, the awareness of one's behavior, and facts. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, or by justifying or rationalizing their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors"When you go to a neighborhood diner and the server is exceptional and the bill is $20 you would tip $4 (20%). If you dine at a more upscale establishment and the service is ok, the bill is $40, you would tip $6 (15%). If you go to a fancy restaurant and the service is so-so, the bill is $80, the tip is $8 (10%). In all three cases the server took the order, brought a beverage, soup and an entree. The server in the neighborhood diner worked much harder and made the dining experience more pleasurable, however because of the price points and the whole IRS taxing tips based on a percentage of gross sales etc. the server at the high end steak house receives a higher income. That causes an unfairness in the mind of the customer and makes the higher end dining experience less desireable.
The question is how does a proprietor mitigate the effects of that dissonance on their customers?
Saturday, October 10, 2009
James Surowiecki's article debunks the death of conspicuous consumption.
Are you ready for the return of the customer?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Transparency in a wired world is a area of the law that is certainly in development. Stay tuned!
Friday, October 2, 2009
High Intent is when everything is about THEM, YOUR CUSTOMER, YOUR PROSPECT, YOUR TARGET.
Low Intent is when everything is about YOU, YOUR NEEDS, YOUR COMMUNITY, YOUR DESIRES.
Raise a glass of cheer to the incredible efforts of Chicago 2016 organization, you did us proud!