Have you ever had one of those experiences where you know right from the get-go that things are destined to end up pear shaped?
One of those times where you’ve booked some accommodation online and then when you arrive at the hotel, it looks more like the Bates Motel than the luxurious resort that you thought you were meant to be staying at?
Or you book a romantic night out for your wife and you for that special occasion, only to find that the restaurant you’ve chosen is out in the boon docks and way, way less romantic than you thought you were going to be getting?
And as much as you hope that things are going to get better, more often than not things just keep on heading further and further south despite your prayers and best intentions.
And no matter how hard you try, the event that you have planned out so well just does not fly.
It just goes down like a lead Zeppelin.
Last weekend three of my friends and I experienced one of those events.
My three friends and I had been staying away out of town.
Another friend [who was not with us] had done some research and had booked my three friends and I in for a dinner meal while were travelling.
Now my friend, the booker, had done all his homework and read the online reviews before deciding to choose a well rated, very trendy eatery.
The trouble was, the eatery was not for us.
It was not for me and my three friends….
What we ended up with was a total mismatch between product and customer.
Don’t get me wrong, the restaurant was probably a rave, well reviewed restaurant.
But for four hungry travelers, all we really wanted was a good old-fashioned steakhouse.
So what went wrong on the night?
Well, firstly, the menu descriptions of the dishes did not match the food that was served.
And nor did it match the food that was requested either.
One of our party ordered a grilled piece of fish to be served on the rare side, but when the dish arrived, the fish was overdone and was way more on the dry side.
In fact very dry.
Very very dry…..
The floor manager apologised and explained that this was the way the chef liked to prepare this dish.
Others in our party chose the steak.
And again, the steak was served up sliced into small pieces that had been marinated so richly, that those who chose this dish were extremely disappointed that they just didn’t get a simple piece of steak.
And the potatoes and greens that came with the steak?
Well they were an amalgamation, that looked like a green thing, that did not look like a potato nor did it look like a vegetable.
Again we were told that this is how they did this at this restaurant.
It appeared to us that the food being served was created more to look a particular way, rather than to taste a certain way.
It wasn’t that we wanted anything fancy at this restaurant.
It was more that we were hoping for good old-fashioned cooking and we were being given something fancy instead.
Hence the mismatch.
What was really interesting, upon our departure from the restaurant, was that when we looked at the floor plan layout of the restaurant, there seemed to be more kitchen [in an open plan kitchen style] than there was actual dining seating.
And when I asked the floor manager this question, he said that the chef was indeed a shareholder in the business.
And to me, that explained EXACTLY why there was more stage than audience in this culinary theatre.
It was all to satisfy ego and not to satisfy customer.
Which is fine, so long as you are able to attract enough customers to fill your small audience [restaurant] each night.
Sadly, on this Sunday night, this restaurant was only one quarter full.
But maybe one quarter full is all that they need to turn a profit on any Sunday night?
We all know that in business you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
And maybe this restaurant was out there pleasing another market that was NOT the market that included me and my three friends…
And if that was the case, well the market they were trying to please was not certainly dining out at this rated restaurant on this Sunday night.
And as Yoda might say:
“Buzzing this place was not.”
What is the lesson here?
In the dental profession, I see dentists who perch their business model way out on a limb away from the mainstream of what the public really want.
And that might be fine for their way out egos and eccentricities.
But, if the section of the market they seek to attract is too small, their ego is only going to send them to the poor house.
And nowhere else.
In this day and age where there is a dentist on every corner of every intersection of every town in your country [and who do we need to thank for that?], sometimes you can’t be holding yourself and your business so far OUT THERE because out there is too far out there.
And out there you won’t find enough business to stay in business.
Sometimes your business needs to be able to satisfy the meat and two veg type of people who just want a good feed.
And nothing real fancy.
Because sometimes plain Jane is all they want.
And if you are trying to carve off a piece of the market that is so thin, and be king of that sliver of your market at the expense of survival, well, survival may be what you are going to need to be concentrating on.
And not business.
And is that good?
I don’t think so….
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