Friday, February 03, 2006

The Restaurant Closed – I’m not surprised

The downtown restaurant opened about a year ago. I wasn’t surprised that it closed. I was surprised that it stayed open so long. It is around the corner from my office. I walk past it every time I visit the restaurant next door – about once a week.

Have you ever watched a restaurant open and then watch it slowly starve to death? Have you ever wondered why they failed? Or did you know what they were doing wrong? We can see the self-destruction – while the owners seem to be oblivious. Why is that?

Perhaps because we see it from the perspective of a customer. The owners are engulfed in their emotional world of “It’s mine – it must be beautiful”. And maybe they keep telling themselves, “Hey, I spent a lot of money fixing up this place – people just have to see it my way – eventually”.

I suspect that the restaurant owners followed a marketing strategy of hope.

Hope is always an admirable quality. It is a lousy marketing strategy.

So why did this particular restaurant fail?

I know that I never visited it – because it did not look inviting. I recall walking past on a snowy day and the sidewalk wasn’t cleaned. It has full-sized windows across the front – but it always looked dark inside – as if the lights weren’t on. I was never sure about the cuisine although it hinted at Italian – which is my favourite. It never looked busy, and oftentimes looked closed. No music suggesting excitement or inviting me in. I saw nothing that looked like a grand opening. I saw nothing special going on. Although my office was just around the corner, I never saw an announcement or invitation.

Imagine if they had done something just a little different to create excitement. Imagine if they had put balloons outside, hired dancers, held free draws, sponsored a charity event, knocked on doors, offered coupons, distributed menus, invited service clubs to meet… something.

Well, too bad that it closed; I was thinking that I might check it out one time. The food might have been superb. It just failed to invite me in.

George Torok
Business in Motion
Executive Coach

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