Observe your customers to get valuable insights…

A friend, who is a business coach to a famous sit-in restaurant chain in Mumbai shared this recently.

The client has many outlets in Mumbai. Their outlet in Malad, Mumbai was one of the very oldest and successful one, doing great business. But, it was not on the main roads. It was down inside a by-lane of Malad. The owner wanted to shift it to S V Road, an always busy road. Finally, a new commercial building came up and the restaurant outlet shifted there, in a much bigger, brighter place. The owner was sure of increasing business many-fold.

But, even after six months of starting at the new location, the outlet was losing more and more of its business. Month after month, its sales was declining. More and more regular, loyal customers were dropping. In fact, these six months of the festival period were generally the most profitable months. Every year since last 15 years, they had done the best business during those months in the year. The owner was puzzled at this sudden negative trend in the business. The coach was approached to find out the problem and to suggest a solution.

After discussions with the owner, some key staff members and observing the place during afternoon and evening busy hours for few days, the coach understood the problem. He asked the owner “Did you have the older outlet with the transparent glass walls? Could the passers-by on the road see what is happening in the restaurant?”

The owner : “No. It had brick walls. But we were suggested to have the clear, transparent walls at the new place by our interior designer, as it would make the place look bigger and brighter.”

Coach : “That precisely is the problem. The customers coming to your sit-in restaurant are not comfortable being seen while they are eating. And now you have made them more visible on the busy S V Road…! No wonder, they don’t want their lunch or dinner on display. Unknowingly, you have made them uncomfortable….”

The owner realized the big mistake. He immediately got those glasses covered to ensure privacy of diners. The restaurant returned back to its renewed glory in few months.

Sometimes, we miss very simple things about what our customers like or dislike. Observing our consumers can provide valuable insight into their world.

Author: Sanjay Shah

Sanjay is the author of "Business Management Simplified" which provides Practical, Actionable Solutions for Entrepreneurs. It is an all-in-one guidebook to start, run and grow a small and mid-size business to the next level. He is also an SME Business Coach, Seminar Leader and Motivational/Keynote speaker, Sanjay is based in Mumbai (India). He advises many businesses on Strategy, Leadership, Marketing, Branding, Customer Experience Management and Organization Development. He conducts various self-help seminars and workshops for companies and groups in English, Hindi and Gujarati. For more info, visit : www.SanjayShahSeminar.com

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