Start Up Blog

Have a drink on me!

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 31, 2011

I was at lunch today and got to talking to the owner of this restaurant seen below:

He mentioned that looking after regulars was important to generate return custom. One of his tricks was to provide a free glass or bottle of wine at the end of a meal. He empowered his staff to do the same. He said as reward and ‘thank you’ tell said customers this:

‘That last bottle / glass of wine is on the house!’

Problem was that some of his staff got the language ever so slightly wrong. Instead they would often say:

‘The next bottle / glass of wine is on the house!’

As you can imagine this changes their view on what to order (Hint: it comes from the top shelf). Instead of where they would normally focus their purchase. The strange thing is that the benefit to the consumer is essentially the same:

A free drink you didn’t expect to pay for.

The problem with getting it wrong is a cost to the business that could be many times higher.

Startup blog lesson: Our words to our audience matter. Small changes can have a huge impact.

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Good service? Prove it

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 3, 2011

Yesterday I went to a well known cafe in Melbourne for breakfast. Yes, it had a amazing the decor of a restored warehouse and exotic free range egg combinations, but that wasn’t what impressed me. It was the way they served their ‘non-customers’.

By the time we where half way through our second java a line had started to build for people waiting for a table, which is pretty rare in a cafe centric city like Melbourne. Up until that time the thriving restaurant still had amazingly quick service. But the service I was most impressed with was the service they gave those who weren’t even customers. People waiting patiently outside were treated to complimentary cafe lattes and flat whites. I’m sure they were surprised and delighted at the good will gesture. The tone of the staff there also told me that they gave them coffee because they were genuinely sorry they couldn’t seat them immediately. They meant it, and it wasn’t a promotional ploy. Something we’d never see from a chains store or large corporate. They’d be more concerned with wooing ‘non-customers’ that rewarding their ‘sure bets’. I say they’ve got it back to front.

The reality of the complimentary coffee is that it sent out a good vibe, and cost very little to do. And the benefits? Well I’m already blogging about it and put it on my twitter stream which goes to many thousands. I’d also say that rewarding those you’ve already got, is a far better investment than investing in those who’ve never helped your business. Something all startups should take note of.

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