Where would you rather go - a party or a funeral? The answer is probably pretty obvious so why would you host a funeral when nobody died? Confused?
I actually attended a brunch this past week where we all kept our distance, wore masks and even had our temperature taken as a component of being allowed in. We are certainly living in interesting times though it was really nice to see a small number of my friends and the food was fantastic. Plus I got to bake a cheese cake which is a point of pride for me.
Since a number of us hadn’t seen humans outside of those from our own homes in quite some time we stayed and chatted for many, many hours. Then we wanted to go out and we got to talking about different options for doing so. Going over the list of options, a number of places were named and, upon mention of one option, someone said, “oh, that’s like going to a morgue.”
Hmm. They were right. It was like going to a morgue. The lighting was dim. The atmosphere was sad. There were no pleasantries, greetings or even a smile. Yes, you can tell someone’s smiling by their eyes.
So we went there just because, well, I wanted to write about it here. That makes it a tax write-off. Score.
While the product quality at this place is good the atmosphere is like being in a morgue. The lighting is dim. The atmosphere is sad. And they never greet their customers with a smile. Now I know why I haven’t been there in a good long while.
As long as I’m looking at the negative, they could also have used some of that time off to clean the spider webs off the storefront or replace the burned out light bulbs.
In fact, did you know that Disneyland replaces their light bulbs when they’ve reached 80% of their life so guests don’t have to see a burned-out bulb? This place could use a similar policy. Yes, I have serious issues with long-standing burned-out bulbs. I’ve even written a story about burned out bulbs.
While you might remind me that their product quality was good, which it is, but that’s never enough. We’ve talked about having the same type of business just around the corner in the past. I’m pretty sure that the other prospects aren’t going there because they have articles to write. So what would the reason be for going?
Typically when you go out to eat or do other “luxury” items you do so more out of desire than necessity. I can cook at home.
So a differentiating atmosphere is critical. Yes, especially now.
We’re all sitting in our homes wishing we were going out but, if you’re like me, you’re also prioritizing spending since the income isn’t what it used to be. So there has to be a real reason to go out.
If you’re a destination, what have you done to recognize the patron’s visit? Here are a few positive things that really caught my attention during this odd time.
One restaurant had a donation station where patrons could also pay-forward a meal. If you made a donation your name was put into a drawing where, once a week, someone would get their own free meal. This made the whole transaction that much more fun.
I believe I’ve shared how impressed I was with the cocktail videos of another establishment. They set-up a camera and had a cocktail of the day and really made it a fun experience.
There’s a place that built an entire YouTube channel with ways to improve their customer’s cooking at home experience. I doubt that many people are cooking at home but, based on the numbers, they’re absolutely sharing those videos.
Of course keeping the appearance up at the establishment, having fun with masks the staff has to wear, and other ways to show that you’re the destination during this time are all going to help. I have definitely seen some places thriving and others not.
What’s your secret sauce when it comes to thriving in these pandemic times so that your business doesn’t go from morgue to just a memory?