Say Goodnight, Gracie

My last post talked about the importance of saying hello to your customers, right away, as soon as they walk through that door. Customers are a sensitive lot, and it doesn’t take much to set them down the path of ‘lost forever’. It should be done as close to immediately as possible. I am now here to tell you now that it is almost as important to say good bye.

Say good bye

I was out the other night and watched a couple leave as every employee ignored them on their way out. That is accept for one good employee. The busiest member of all the staff somehow managed a, “Good night, folks, thank you.” Way to go.

It doesn’t take much effort. Or much time. Maybe an entire second-and-a-half to get it out of your mouth, and it can be the difference of whether or not the customer comes back again. Ever.

Some places, and the staff, choose not to say good night because they are still harboring some weird resentment because the customer dared to come in late and eat–EVEN THOUGH THE PLACE WAS STILL OPEN! It is all very strange.

Are you open, or not?

Don’t turn up the lights to get them to leave. Or turn the music off. Or turn it up louder, or to a more obnoxious station. Or start vacuuming. Or start stacking chairs on top of the tables around them.

I know that three examples is a better number to use to make a point, but I can’t help myself, I got a million of ’em. Yes, I meant to use the word got.

What time do you close?

Is it 9:00? 10:00? Or do you leave it up to your crabby staff to decide at the end of the night when you stop serving? Letting them decide if you are going to serve a particular customer or not? A while back I told the tale of taking my daughter and some friends out to dinner–somehow spending $400 on melted cheese–and how the server disappeared at the end of the meal. Couldn’t get my check, couldn’t pay. Forget the whole no good bye thing.

The final impression

Make it a good one! Walk them to the door. Thank them. Help them with their coat. Their umbrella. Their presents. Say good bye. Invite them back. Remember this whole business is about getting them to come back.

If in real estate the saying is ‘location, location, location’, in hospitality it is ‘retention, retention, retention. We want them to come back again and again. And bring in others. We do that by not taking them for granted.

Say hello, say good bye. And everything in-between.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Danna Hyams says:

    This is SO true. And not only for restaurants. At my local CVS, someone always says, “Hello, welcome to CVS, let me know if I can help you”, as you walk in the door. It’s lovely. And they say good-bye, too.

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