Changing What Works

Why Change Something That’s Successful?

There was a successful restaurant, the serviceĀ  was great, had a great menu and reasonable prices. We didn’t go to it on a regular basis as it was a town away and we weren’t always in the area.

It was usually crowded on any day of the week, but on this particular day the restaurant was almost vacant. There were new people waiting tables. And the menu was the same, so we ordered the usual.

The food came in a red basket, like the kind you would get in a fast food place. They had done away with the nice china plates, cloth napkins and table cloths. We were a bit surprised but were willing to at least be optimistic with the meal.

Wow! It was awful. Forget about our expectations, this was even awful by any standards. They substituted good cuts of meat with the toughest and fattiest. Most of it was difficult to even bite. The bread was the cheapest they could find. No wonder why the place was vacant and of course we never went back. Soon it closed.

This experience reminds of this great hamburger joint. The burgers were pricey but worth every penny. They baked their own buns on site. You walk in the door and the aroma of fresh baked buns had you captured. The burgers were plump and made to order while you waited. They had a whole bar of fixings, so you could have whatever you wanted on your burger. They also had a baked potato you could order and with a bar of stuff to put on it.

The place was always packed. Until they changed! One day we went there and the place seemed a little slow and the aroma did not hit you when walking through the door. They had buns brought in, no longer baked on the site. They were just ordinary buns and the fixings were not as plentiful. The place soon was out of business.

Don’t mess with what is working

A franchise works for a reason; they know how to market through trial and error. Some owners think they know best and make stupid cuts.

An ice cream place that served the best hot fudge sundaes, changed owners and it spiraled downhill. First there was no longer a cherry with a stem on top. Not a big deal but it was not a smart move. Soon there was less fudge, then less ice cream. The cherry went down to half a cherry then a quarter of a cherry. Less whip cream and soon the whole concoction was below the top of the glass. The prices never went down and actually started creeping upwards. Soon she got rid of the help and ran the ice cream shop by herself. When there was no longer value and the AC was barely on, her business took a nose dive in the middle of summer. The business was closed before the end of summer.

When customers no longer see value, they walk away.

All of these cases it’s so easy to figure out what they were doing wrong. It all came down to greed. Customers no longer saw value in what the business was offering. If they had kept the quality and raised their prices a little they would still have kept customers. Do they not understand what drew the people to their business? If a business can’t figure it out on their own because they are too close to the situation, they need to ask their customers. The customers are happy with the business or they wouldn’t keep coming back. Sometimes you just have to ask what is working and what is not. The customer pays your bills, why not have them involved with your business.