Small businesses making the difference

Chinese puzzles

Is your business just like the one down the road? If it is that might be why you are struggling to keep afloat. In the good times you might get away with surviving. In the harder times we are in now, if you are not different, if you are not standing out from the crowd and if you are not engaging your customers then you will not make money.

I have referred before to our local Chinese takeaway restaurants, carry outs or food to go; whatever you will. One has the usual front desk and the TV set that no one watches. It has one guy behind that desk taking orders over the counter and on the telephone. Except there are not many orders.

The other has an open kitchen where everyone can watch their food being cooked, and many stand up while they are waiting to have a good view. They offer a spectator sport. We customers can watch the team at work. We get entertainment while we wait. People love watching cooking in progress which is no doubt why MasterChef is so popular on TV.

I happen to believe that the food in the second restaurant is better, but that may of course be my perception because of the whole experience of going to the shop, and yes, the feeling of belonging, of loyalty.

I don’t like to see a business on the slide as one of the restaurants apparently is. They could make it so much different by engaging with their customers and making them feel part of the experience. It is not just the food. It is about the people, what they do and the value the customers perceive. That is a valuable lesson, don’t you think?

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