The death of passion and the initial obsession to create a truly outstanding business is a horrible thing to witness. And yet we see it every day of the week.
As I was returning home from my holidays we stopped off in a little restaurant that we have used over many years. The food was always great and there was always a strong sense of real control. A sense that they really cared about you and about giving you a great experience. But this time it was a little different.
To begin with the floor was dirty and most of the empty tables weren’t cleared. As my wife and daughter went to use the toilet I sat down and looked around for a menu. A waiter came across and cleared the table beside me while concentrating hard on chewing his gum. His shirt was out slightly at the back. He ignored me. Nice.
I stood up and approached him as moved to the waiter station. “Can I have a couple of menus please?” was my, not unreasonable I thought, request. Without making any eye contact he grunted “Two minutes“. Hmmm.
I stood patiently while he spoke to his waiter friend and cleared another table. Eventually he came across with two menus and handed them to me before walking off. No instructions about what to do and no offer to serve me. I called after him “Do I order at the bar or from you?“. “Order at the bar” was his simple response.
I sat down, with that wave of “I really don’t want to be here but I’m hungry” flooding across me. My wife came out of the toilets with her face screwed up in the “The toilets are revolting” face that we all do without wanting to say the words.
She sat down and I told her my tale.
So we left. Hungry and with the money in our pocket still. It just wasn’t worth it.
It would never have happened a few years ago. But now the vision had slipped and been forgotten. Maybe the owner was on holiday or maybe it had changed hands but somehow that passion for great service and food was gone. Slipped away with no one factor to blame. Poor recruitment, poor training, inadequate systems, poor management and no continuing articulation of the great passionate obsession.
“Watch out – I’m coming to take your business…”
The real fun in any new business is creating the initial dream – creating the brilliant passionate business that people will rave about but the real work starts in making that happen day in and day out regardless of whether you are there or not. But it is always sad to see when an owner fails to rise to that challenge.
This is an extreme example obviously but are you sure all your staff still feel that passion that drove you to start your business?
Are you sure none of these things are slipping for you as you busy, busy, busy yourself in your daily work?