A friend with whom I dine out laughs about the seeming frequency of our being shown to a table next to the “service station” (the place where the bussed dishes go and the water pitchers and coffee carafes are stored). We ask for another table and are usually seated at a better one.
Seth Godin brought up the “bad table” dilemma recently. He had been directed to a bad table at a Hot New Restaurant, and upon requesting a better one nearby he was told that the better table was reserved (presumably for a regular customer). The dilemma:
Who should get your best effort? Should it be the new customer who you just might be able to convert into a long-term customer? Or should it be the loyal customer who is already valuable?
His answer is, “You can’t have a bad table…which means you need to figure out how to improve your lesser offerings. Maybe the table in the worst location comes with a special menu or a special wine list or even a visit from the chef.”
The bottom line: “Treat different people differently. But don’t treat anyone worse.” When you miss opportunities to grow your base of regular customers, you automatically reduce your business’ potential.