Owning a restaurant is a tough business. You all know that. The market is ruthless. Just the slightest mistake can lead to losing customers and shutting down. So, owners and operators must think through long and hard before they make major decisions. They are in a constant struggle between making profit and making their customers happy. Sometimes these two things exclude each other. The rule “The customer is always right” is, let’s be honest, questionable and not always right. Restaurant owners often ask themselves if it is acceptable to sometimes say “No” to your customers.
According to some, it is.
Let’s talk reservations. Restaurants have always included the traditional reservation system for their customers. You call or email, the host/hostess or manager holds the customer’s spot. But, reserving seats for customers who don’t show up is, without a doubt, a loss of profit. Especially if you hold the reservation during peak breakfast, lunch or dinner service. What if a customer does it habitually? There is no punishment for a customer skipping out on their reservation. You cannot really do anything.
Or, can you?
What you can do is ask the customer not to come back? Now, hear us out before you say, ‘This stuff is crazy!’ Is it really all that bad to lose a ‘bad’ customer when you can replace them with a good one? Insurance companies, phone providers and credit card companies ‘fire’ their bad customers. Why can’t restaurants do the same?
Not only will this prevent your business from losing revenue, but it will influence other customers to avoid a potentially negative outcome. In this digital age, people make reservations easily through a couple of clicks, which leads to the situation that they don’t take them seriously as they used to. For the same reason, people tend to make several reservations at different restaurants because they can’t decide where to go.
Firing any customer is hard. Period. But, getting rid of a bad customer, can improve employee and other customer’s moral and experience. Isn’t that just as important?