How to destroy your marketing brand!

A few weeks ago, I had a very bad customer service experience.  I’ve known the owner of this restaurant since he was a kid helping his parents in their Deli.  Six weeks ago he opened his restaurant.  I’ve been there nine (9 ) times already with at least 6 people in our party.  

I’ve also recommended his restaurant to at least 100 other individuals.  In fact, when I spoke in front of an audience of 250 local business individuals, I mentioned how great the food was at this restaurant and that the audience should try it.

I’m usually the first of our party to arrive and normally I get a table and wait for the others to arrive.  This time I was told that their new policy “was to not seat anyone until all of the party arrives.” When I asked to speak to Antonio (name changed for privacy), the owner, I was told he was too busy in the kitchen. She said this without even checking to see if indeed he was busy in the kitchen.

When the others arrived 10 minutes later, I went to the hostess and said we were all here, and her response was, “Since the others were late they had to give our table away to someone else, and we’ll have to wait until another table opens up.”

Is this a way to Get Customers to Call, Buy and Beg for More?  Of course not!  But if the owner doesn’t inspect what he expects, his business will go downhill very quickly.  He is in an area where people vacation in the summer and is currently booked solid.  But after the vacation season, he will wish he had his constant patrons.

He is focused on efficiency instead of customer retention; on the quick buck without brand building for the long-term; on delegating without customer service in mind.

I expect him to be out of business within 1 year if he continues to operate his restaurant in this way.

Tell me what you think.

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6 Responses to “How to destroy your marketing brand!”

  1. How right you are, Ken. And how frustrating it is to see how many business owners seem oblivious to the huge impact their sales staff or customer service staff has on their customers–whether good or bad!

    Another example–a large motorcycle dealership here in town hired twin sisters a year ago to work the clothing counter. They helped customers find the right items, the right fit, and so on.

    These two were fantastic! They were cheerful, alwasy eager to help, and always upbeat. Recently, when they asked for a modest raise, they were let go. Now, their two replacements are people just going through the motions, and the entire atmosphere has changed for the worse. What a shame!

    Employees who work directly with customers can really make or break a company’s brand image. Too bad so many business owners don’t pay enough attention to what’s going on in the front of the store, or in the customer service department.

    Thanks, Ken, for a good reminder.


    Ken Reply:

    In the hustle and bustle of things, it’s easy to lose focus. We must be ever vigilant!

    Thank you for your input Michael.



  2. William says:

    I do not understand why business owners are not more on top of this sort of behavior.
    Wal-Mart, has started to become this way too. I have notice that they are taking more main stream products off the shelf and replacing them with store brands such as great value.
    Customer service is almost non-existant. Several times this year when looking for a product I would walk toward an employee to ask for help, they would simply walk away.

    I am a plumber and if I would treat my clients this way I wouldn’t have a business at all.


    Ken Reply:

    Hi William, this is a great example of companies forgetting their roots, like the owner in my story. They forget that it’s not systems, or products, or anything except the customer that pays them. They get caught up in efficiencies and forget that the most important part of anything you do in your business is the customer. You are correct…you have to treat your customers right, or you wouldn’t have a business at all.



  3. Brian says:

    Thanks for all the great articles and information you provide.

    The “front end” of your buisness is where youvmake your money, not in the kitchen, shop, paint room or whatever service you provide.

    My policy is to that every customer is called after the service is preformed to ask how the job was and to actually solicate complaints.

    Any complaints are handled immeadiately by me, the owner, and all complaints are resolved to the customers 100% satisfaction or we return their money.

    You have delt with my company when we cleaned your roof and siding and are a satisfied repeat customer so you know what I mean.

    I think it is way to easy and way to short sighted to blow off a customer complaint.

    That customer will cost you 10 or more jobs just from the negative comments made to relatives and friends.

    In the case of your resturant experience I would suggest calling the owner and relating your negative experience and do a followup article on how he handled it.

    Brian Hegarty
    A Plus Powerwashing and Roof Cleaning


  4. Ken says:

    Brian, thanks for the feedback. I have already communicated with the owner and I’ll let you know his response, if indeed he heeds my advice. This is what I live for…to have the interaction with my readers is the spark of my life, so keep communicating with me and let me know your biggest business problems so that I can help you grow your business and create more customers.


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