Why do we do things in hospitality driven by knee jerk reactions and short term thinking?
My wife and I own and run a small restaurant which has been forced into just 8 diners per sitting because of very appropriate Covid restrictions. In order to survive from day 1 after the reopening we ran two sittings which we are fortunate enough to have oversubscribed.
We do not force people to book online with a credit card and draconian penalties and we don’t stupidly surcharge a bill for using that credit card. Both of these very very short sighted actions assume people are basically dishonest and financially stupid. We do not have no-shows and welcome our guests as friends – some for over 17 years. Friends who are indeed financially astute and honest and who enjoy and indeed respect the trust placed in them.
Further, there is a trend to try and make people spend more money through the use of set multi course menus and/or minimum spends. Once again a negative short term cash flow ‘solution’. Except, it’s not a solution as people rightly don’t like having choice removed. We have clients who don’t spend much [non drinkers usually] and lots who do. The balance is appropriate at around $120 per head. The key is that it’s a ‘balance’ and people spend because we spend a lot of time developing a product which people want to buy, not forcing something they don’t want.
Wonder why there are so many restaurant failures? One reason, among many, is that restaurateurs show no respect for their clients devolving their offering to their own perceived bottom end financially stupid and disrespectful thinking. When we opened some 17 years ago Telstra failed to connect our EFTPOS et alia so we had no method of taking credit card payments. At the time we said to all clients, ‘don’t worry, just pay us next time you pass’. Every bill was paid within the week. I have a very healthy respect, for respect and no, it’s not earned, it’s a God given right.
This whole Covid thing is a real bugger on so many fronts causing real financial and emotional stress. Restrictions placed to protect us against disaster are appropriate but then we see 10,000 people allowed to protest ‘cheek and jowl’ by our government. Mixed messages from the idiots in power obviously with a brain-thinking disconnect.
We as a nation are going to ‘bolt’ out of this forced conundrum because as that nation we DO have respect for all peoples, we are not idiots and we live in the best country on earth with freedoms of everything.
People choose based on how they are treated.
We choose Australia and people choose our little restaurant because we respect them without demanding and without hidden charges.