While his chief responsibility is business development, Richard carries many other responsibilities, too many to list at the top of his posting. Please follow us to the end for more information.
What? Put restaurant guests in charge . . . of what they pay? That sounds crazy, doesn’t it! But think about it: the guest already is in charge. If they aren’t satisfied, they just don’t return.
How about your business? Your customers behave precisely the same way: if they aren’t satisfied, they just don’t return.
Ongoing loyalty and support is the only sustainable basis for success. So, why shouldn’t a restaurant put its guests in charge of pricing, to give them a chance to say what they think their meal was really worth? If the restaurant gets “rave reviews” (i.e., guests pay the equivalent of menu price or more—and yes, that has happened!), the chef and staff know they are doing a great job. If the guest thinks the meal was worth less than menu price, the chef and staff missed an opportunity to satisfy guest needs, and they need to find out why. Here's the biz buzzz.
In The Support Economy: Why Corporations are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism, Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff puts her finger on an uneasiness most of us have felt. She calls it “the transaction crisis.” We fear the transaction crisis when our flight is cancelled: will the airline rebook us promptly and courteously? We fear the transaction crisis when we arrive late at a hotel: will they have given someone else our room, despite our guaranteed reservation? We fear the transaction crisis when a piece of expensive electronic gear fails after purchase: will the retailer or manufacturer replace it instantly, or somehow try to blame us for its failure?
In the same way, we fear the transaction crisis when a dish we ordered in a restaurant doesn’t arrive at the proper temperature, or is simply unsatisfactory. Will our server make excuses or object “That’s the way it is supposed to be”? Or will the restaurant’s response be, “I’m so sorry! We’ll replace it immediately or take it off your check. And may I bring you a complimentary glass of wine, as a small apology?”
The immense gap between the power of businesses, and the relative powerlessness of the customers, is already being narrowed. American Express cardholders can protest any transaction. Upon receiving adequate documentation demonstrating the business’ failure to deliver, AMEX reverses the charge. Transaction crisis averted!
Table 301’s “pay what you think your meal was worth” raises this concept to the next level: transaction crisis eliminated. As a consumer, how much more comfortable would you be if you knew your had the final word on the price/value equation? As a business, valuable would the benefits be from this type of real time customer feedback?
Pay what you think it’s worth. Crazy? Yeah, crazy like a fox! And it will be the wise old business foxes who survive in the tough times, those who understand and esteem their priceless loyal customers.
Read more about Table 301's "Pay What You Think Your Meal Is Worth" marketing plan in this Nation's Restaurant News article.
Richard Peck is, among other things, a Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers),a Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators). He has written four books, two on the music industry, along with Crossing America, a motorcycling narrative. He also is a co-author of Soby's New South Cuisine cookbook, published by Table 301. You can see Richard's bio, in detail, here. What a powerhouse!