All over Minnesota, bars are hosting what they call “Theater Nights”. These are evenings where they deem the entire bar a stage, and every customer an actor. While Shakespeare might be amused, this is not a funny situation. Rather, it’s a perfect example of people unwilling to embrace change.
I’ll explain. In Minnesota, we have a strong ban on smoking in public places. The non-smoking majority of Minnesotans love it. We can actually enjoy our favorite restaurants without breathing toxic, disease-inducing second-hand smoke. While many restaurant owners lamented (and even fought) this ban, those I’ve spoken with have reported positive results. Their restaurants are as busy (or busier) than ever. They’re cleaner and their employees have a healthier workplace.
These restaurant owners have adapted to their changing world. They realize there is a good reason for a smoking ban. And they realize non-smokers far outnumber smokers. Rather than fighting a losing battle, they have turned the situation into a win for everyone.
The other side of this battle are bar owners who have “theater nights.”
One of the exceptions to the smoking ban is that stage actors performing in a theater can smoke if their scene calls for it. So some bar owners have decide to contort the law to serve their archaic desires. By calling the whole bar a stage and the customers actors, they thumb their nose at the smoking ban and allow folks to light up at will.
Of course, it’s a fool’s errand. They’ll be fined. (Some already have.) They’ll spend time and money on legal fees. And they’ll lose. When the dust settles, they will all be non-smoking establishments or they’ll be closed. It’s no more complicated than that.
Society has changed. The citizenry has spoken. And not only is it a political change, it’s a health and wellness issue. There are no moral grounds for arguing an individual’s right to cause other people to breathe poison. No matter how you twist it, the logic never works.
Faced with such a massive change, smart people figure out how to make the change work for them. They understand their success depends on moving forward with the change rather than spending their resources fighting it. They mold their businesses around the new world order. For them it’s not about smoking vs. non-smoking. It’s about owning and operating a successful and sustainable business. It’s about creating a business that serves its customers they way they want to be served.
That’s how you build customer loyalty. And that’s how you build a great business.