Grumpy and Empty Tables

Grumpy bearded restauarnt owner

For the last couple of days, I’ve been talking about my trip to Greece where we got married nine years ago.

I mentioned how the town is right on the beach with a strand of restaurants all sharing the same impeccable view.

And yet, their fates are all different.

On the first day I spoke about the “Greek Café” whose marketing was actually keeping their tables empty.

Yesterday, I talked about a restaurant that was clicking on all cylinders, that provided such a good experience that they have a constant stream of referrals and repeat patrons.

Today it’s about a restaurant whose fate is tied to its owner’s attitude and the experience provided.

Now this restaurant is in an ideal position, because its directly on the second pedestrian path people have to walk down after parking up on the road.

So his restaurant is the first one they see when they walk their way onto the strand.

Unfortunately it also means they notice the owner.

And what they see is someone who seems to be always scowling.

Glaring at people passing by the restaurant and not walking in.

And he is unkempt.

We’re talking a big bushy beard that has never been trimmed, trousers from the fields and an oversized T-Shirt that seems to have been worn several days in a row and should best be seen only in a hot and greasy kitchen.

If you didn’t see him barking orders to staff, you would actually think he was the town homeless guy.

And the staff look miserable. Like the clock is ticking backwards on them and their eight-hour shifts are actually more like eighteen.

And then you get assaulted by the smell of the kitchen.

It’s the only restaurant on the strand where you can actually smell cheap ingredients.

Which makes you wonder what they are cooking and how old it is.

Finally, you see the handful of customers that are actually sitting there.

And they look bored.

Their body language screams we walked into a mistake…. Can we just finish and get out of here?

And so you move on as do the vast majority of others walking by.

So the problem with this restaurant is the whole experience, from start to finish. It starts with an unfriendly owner and cheap ingredients.

The atmosphere is really tense and off-putting instead of inviting.

So people don’t go even if the scenery is great and it looks comfortable to sit.

And so his tables are empty. Day after day.

So what are the lessons for us as business owners?

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.


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