Two new restaurants opened in my neighborhood a few months ago. Both are on corners that have housed several failed restaurants. Time again, we saw new restaurants open only to close within the first year.
One of the new restaurants is always busy, no matter when I walk by. The other restaurant very rarely has anyone in it.
Why is one doing well while the other one is failing?
Restaurant A redid the restaurant. They put up colored lights all around the front and on the trees next to it. They lit up the inside so people could see how clean and comfortable the place looked. The owner of the restaurant is often outside talking to people as they go in and takes the time to find out their names. The first day I walked by he greeted me and invited me in for tea. You can’t help but feel welcomed and included. I told my neighbors and so did everyone else. In these stressful times, people want to go somewhere where the food is not only good but where they can relax and have a great experience. People also have a need to feel connected. The lights and design outside make you want to find out more
Restaurant B is owned by very nice people and the food is good. But there is no connection to the neighborhood. They still use the old awning from the failed restaurant before. The decor has not been changed and there are no windows that allow people to see in. While the people are friendly, there is no one to greet people as they come in. The restaurant is just there with the hope that people will know about it.
Restaurant A has taken the time to build relationships with patrons. The owners have created a sense of inclusion, and belonging and comfort. They are part of the community.
Restaurant B has not taken time to find out about the area, or taken steps to go to where the patrons might be.
A business can be in the best location but if it doesn’t take extra steps to connect with its target market, no one will pay attention. A business that takes the time to provide extra customer service, makes people feel included and builds relationships with people can thrive despite a a bad economy.
This is a time when so many people are stressed, and feeling disconnected. What can you do with your employees, your customers or colleagues to them feel connected.