I recently went to eat at a local sub shop with my fiancé.
We live in a college town and since school is out for the summer, it was expectantly empty inside––just one other person had the same idea and he was grabbing his sub to go.
As we ordered our meals, I noticed something was off.
Even though the entire shop was empty, it looked like a bus full of people had just had their fill.
First, the chips were extremely low and the cookies were completely out. When I tried to fill up my soda cup, I had to reach way back in order to get one of the last few lids in stock. When we finally tried to sit down to eat, there wasn’t a single clean table in the entire restaurant.
Now, had a bus full of people recently been there, I would certainly be much more understanding that their limited summer time staff simply couldn’t do everything at once. However, that wasn’t the case. They were two people away from having no customers at all.
So what was the real problem here?
For lack of a better term, let’s call it slow day laziness.
While the average sandwich artist might not see a problem in taking a breather when business is slow, the poor sales of a slow day only gets worse when you give those that are giving you business a lousy experience. In management-speak, that means fewer repeat visits.
In real terms: people can get sandwiches elsewhere, which is exactly what they’ll do after a bad experience.
Make the most of your downtime
While a slow day does make it hard to keep your energy level up throughout the entire day, it does create an opportunity to always be at your best for every customer that walks in your door.
Think of how much hard work goes into morning prep to make a great impression for the first person that walks through your door. On a slow day, that first customer can be every customer when the right processes are in place along with a system capable of managing those processes.
If the two people working that day had invested the time to continually clean throughout the day rather than turn that time into a casual hangout session, I wouldn’t be writing this––I’d be eating another one of their sandwiches.
While the slow traffic can’t be helped, there’s simply no excuse for letting a potentially great dining experience suffer at the hands of laziness.
At a minimum, simply stocking the store and giving me a clean place to eat will earn my business a second time. Better yet, I may enjoy it enough to go back with a group of friends next time. Best of all, maybe I even post on social media or Yelp about how clean the place was, the great service, and great food.
- How do your stores look on a slow day?
- Do they look like a bus of people just came through and your are fighting to catch up, or are all the little details polished in order to create the best possible experience for every customer that walks through your door?
If it’s the latter, a slow day might not be a financial win at the end of the day, but the service and experience you provide will continue to pay dividends in the future.
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