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Why being Good is the Death of the Restaurant

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Good just Isn’t Good Enough


I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s not good enough that your restaurant is “good.” It’s not good enough that your food is “good.” It’s not good enough that you service is “good.” It’s not good enough that your location is “good.” It’s not good enough that your Facebook restaurant’s marketing is just “good.” I’ve probably “gooded” this paragraph to death.

Good is a death word in the restaurant industry. When people tell you that your restaurant is good, that means that they enjoyed their experience but they didn’t think that anything was memorable. They are also telling you secretly that they’re not going to mention your restaurant until someone brings it up.

Good Restaurants Don’t Survive

The truth is that good restaurants don’t survive for long. Exceptional restaurants survive for the long haul. This doesn’t mean that these places are exceptional in every area of the restaurant business, but they usually provide something exceptional. Something that sticks to a customer’s mind.

This could be exceptional value. Large amount of food that is cheaply priced. A restaurant could provide exceptional service so that when half the people walk in, they’re greeted by their name, and those that are not, their names are being learned. It could be that the restaurant has an exceptional idea with their cuisine such as Kits Daily in Vancouver, where the menu changes every day. Or ensuring that you find ways to exceptionally market your restaurant and have great creative ideas.

My Experience at an Exceptional Restaurant

Though I don’t always get a chance to visit the restaurant, Le Crocodile is still one of the best restaurants I have ever attended. I’ve been there three times, and during the three visits I have always had a pleasant experience. The moment I walk in the maitre d’ was attentive and always took my jacket and all my accompanying guests.

While the restaurant has an air of sophistication, the staff are anything but pretentious, but instead are friendly, humane with a side of light hearted humour in the way that they treat their guests. I never felt that my age was discriminated when I first went there.

No matter what I ordered, or how much I ordered, they always did a great job to make us laugh and smile. They taught us in what particular order we should eat our food to optimize the flavours of our dishes. Lastly, their food has been exceptional. When people ask me which restaurant to go to, I tell them to go to the Zagat Rated Le Crocodile. I promise them that they won’t be disappointed.

Good, Good…GONE

Sadly many restaurants aren’t prepared to be exceptional, they’re always prepared to be good. Most working restauranteurs don’t go and introduce themselves to their customers. They don’t go out there and ask for honest feedback because they would rather be comfortable than to improve.

All restaurant owners should watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi to truly understand what being exceptional is about. Exceptional is a war. It’s a war because if your restaurant doesn’t want to be exceptional, another restaurant will.

Another restaurant is willing to go out there at every charity event out there. Another restaurant is willing to respond to Yelp reviews. Another restaurant is willing to go out there and meet their local business owners. Another restaurant out there is finding a way to continuously learn new cooking techniques. And while you may think your restaurant is doing well right now, that’s only because you haven’t had a better neighbor move in one block down yet.

It’s when you realize that the new competition moved in, that your complacency is what will be the death of your business.

Even in restaurant marketing, I’m always trying to learn something new every day. I’m always trying to think of ways to help make a businesses marketing better. And no one else can be responsible to be exceptional except you.

Could you imagine where Apple would be today, if they just settled on being good. Or if Coke was always satisfied as the number one selling drink and thought that they were “good” enough for the public. Good = death.

I’m sorry, if your restaurant is aiming to being just good, then you might as well join the 80% of good restaurants. 10% of them are terrible, and then 10% are in the exceptional category. If you’re finding it hard to get your restaurant to the next level in both customer service and in sales, then consider gamifying your restaurant.

Being good, is another word that your restaurant sucks. When was the last time you raved about a good restaurant? When was the last time you raved about an exceptional one? And what was the difference?

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."