Waiters Eating in Front of You with Food from Another Restaurant???

Employees Eating In Front of Customers. Photo courtesy of Ben Earwicker. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013
Employees Eating In Front of Customers. Photo courtesy of Ben Earwicker. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013

A couple of weekends ago some friends and I gathered at a local South Tampa bar and restaurant for a day party following the monthly meeting for the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists. While we enjoyed the music and even one of the hosts of the event, the trip turned into well, this blog.

We arrived a few minutes early to the event and we were beyond ready for lunch. The wait staff was still scrambling to prepare for the crowd. As it reached official event hours we noticed the staff was still preparing for the event in front of the few customers (us). A few staff members sat at the bar (not standing behind it) and sliced lemons and limes. Delays happen right? Understandable. You want to rest your feet a little longer? Go for it! However, what happened after the manager took our meal and drink orders, I was personally shocked by as a business owner and marketing professional.

Apparently we were not the only hungry people there.  Within minutes of our order being taken a couple of bags from Chipotle appear. Initially we all thought “maybe they buy their salsa, guacamole or chips from there since it is down the street and closer to the bar than a grocery or discount store.” Not the case at all. The manager and other waiters began to stand and sit at the bar and eat Chipotle while preparing items for the day. You can imagine our faces and the conversation we began to have watching this all unfold. Is it not after opening time? Are we not sitting here?

There was no food critic among the staff that day, but what they failed to realize is you never know who your customers are in your establishment. I wonder now if they would have done the same if they knew there was an editor from one paper, reporter from another, online blogger, tv producer from Lakeland and myself (blogger of justice- well not really justice) sitting within 10 feet of all of this. It was obvious this was not the first time it occurred. We even witnessed a brief argument over one of their lunch orders that was not taken properly.

Now some could argue classism or even go the opposite way and discuss hygiene and proper etiquette. Neither of those are what I want to focus on today. What about smart business? What about not marketing another restaurant in yours that serves similar food? As hungry as we were that day, the Chipotle looked even better than normal. Thoughts of walking down there ourselves crossed my mind. However, subliminally they caused the table to wonder if the food they would serve to us would be good. Words like “Who has eaten here before” and other comments arose.

Many of you understand the price of advertising. You understand how much it costs to convert a potential lead to a sale. You know what happens when a bad review or experience is created and then shared publicly. But apparently, this group of people didn’t or they just didn’t think any damage could be done with the group there that day.

Well here are a few tips for employers of any type of business:

  • Employees should have designated areas to eat their meals and bring in other foods.
  • Eating and drinking in front of customers should be prohibited.
  • Encourage your staff to plan ahead for their shift by eating beforehand and/or planning on eating during breaks off-site.
  • Share with your employees the value of advertising and how their actions can directly and negatively affect their salaries due to public complaints.
  • You never know who is in your midst. Run the business at top levels at all times for all customers.

I imagine now that if Jon Taffer, Bar Rescue star and expert, were to have been there, he would want to let the manager on-duty know where the bar was failing.

What do you think?

Is it a big deal to eat another restaurant’s food in front of customers?

Leave your comments below. They may be featured in a future blog.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

Is Hyundai’s Ad Car Suicide?

An ad for Hyundai's iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man's failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.
An ad for Hyundai's iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man's failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.
An ad for Hyundai’s iX35 Fuel Cell SUV featuring a man’s failed attempt at suicide. Image provided by CNN/Youtube. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL 2013.

It was quite shocking to see in one of my Facebook groups where public relations practitioners gather to share ideas and news to see a video advertisement for one of Hyundai’s new car emissions feature.

You see, well you can by clicking here, that Hyundai decided to show how they have remedied emission issues by showing a person in a car with a pipe running from the exhaust to the inside of a running car with windows up in a closed garage.

According to Copybot and Media Bistro, a copywriter, Holley Brockwell, in London decided to pen an open letter to Hyundai and their advertising agency, Innocean Europe. Her father committed suicide in a car through inhaling fumes and she found the video to be heartbreaking. Not only has Brockwell’s feelings been heard, but so have countless others.

Here are the apologies as given from Hyundai’s U.S. and main office according to CNN.

Hyundai Motor America Statement:

“We at Hyundai Motor America are shocked and saddened by the depiction of a suicide attempt in an inappropriate European video featuring a Hyundai. Suicide merits thoughtful discussion, not this type of treatment.”

 Hyundai Motor Company Statement:

“Hyundai Motor deeply and sincerely apologizes for the offensive viral ad.

The ad was created by an affiliate advertising agency, Innocean Europe, without Hyundai’s request or approval. It runs counter to our values as a company and as members of the community. We are very sorry for any offense or distress the video caused. More to the point, Hyundai apologizes to those who have been personally impacted by tragedy.”

Based on the Innocean Europe Facebook page, they have not issued an apology nor responded to posts on their Facebook wall regarding the commercial.

What do you think? Is this ad “suicide” for their brand?

Reply below and your comments may be used for a future post.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out more information on the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com or purchase online at Amazon, Booktango and other online bookstores.

Bad for Business: Outdated Pricing Online

Sales pricing listed online. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2012
Sales pricing listed online. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2012

If you follow this blog or our social media pages, you know that the book, “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation” will be released in major bookstores online on 10/11/12. The book not only has ways to help your business or non-profit today, but it addresses removing excuses for not providing or doing the basics in business “because you’re small.” Today’s topic is one of the basics business owners cannot afford to get wrong.

Recently, I was looking online in the Tampa Bay area for security alarm installation companies for automobiles. After conducting a few searches on Google, Yelp and even Facebook, I ended up with several tabs open in my internet browser so I could begin my research. As I went from site-to-site, I noticed many had prices listed on them, yet the website had not been updated in over a year. This made me realize that this process would be a long one. Not only would I be reviewing the businesses for location, service, expertise and price, but if they’re organized. Appearances are everything in business and people can determine these five things just by looking on your website.

In the end I was able to locate a business to install a new system, but along the way this whole pricing issue concerned me. I wanted to gauge the sentiments of other small business owners so I turned to my fellow Localshops1.com business members. I posed the following questions:

  • Do you include prices on your website?
  • If so, how often do you update it?
  • If a potential customer calls regarding your pricing on the site and it has changed, how do you inform them of this or do you honor the pricing?

Here are a few of the responses:

“On the e-commerce portion of our site for retail products we list pricing but on the service portion we do not list pricing. Too many variables when it comes to service, installation, maintenance, etc. As far as the pricing on the e-commerce, I update whenever we get pricing updates from our suppliers. Now on the flip side of that, if I have not updated and we had a price increase I would eat the increase and honor the web price, even though our site info page states prices are subject to change, etc, etc. Looks like bait and switch when you advertise one price.” – Lisa Burns, Ponds by the Backyard Getaway.

“We list prices on our website. If prices went up and we forgot to update, we would definitely honor the price listed.” – Ester Venouziou, Localshops1.com

During the discussion, I also mentioned that after speaking to a couple of alarm businesses that day, I leaned away from those who had not updated their prices, even if the difference was nominal. Perhaps it is the marketing professional in me, but to not maintain items customers see, means there are other items unseen not being maintained. However, perhaps this isn’t the feeling of the public as I received a different response from Terry Foster of the Yellow House Event Venue. She stated, “No have not done that…Moved on because their prices had not been updated…not a turn off for me. Many business owners rely on their website person to do the updates and we all know how that goes sometimes…but no it would not discourage me if I really wanted the item.”

As mentioned above, image is everything and the appearance of bait and switch leaves a bad taste in the eyes of many consumers.

Although this topic of pricing may seem as though it is a small marketing issue (experts are cringing at using the word “small”) that could be easily corrected, depending on what state or country you reside in, the item or how your business handles not honoring the price, you may find yourself in legal hot water. Since each area has its own laws, I encourage you to be sure you are familiar with the consumer protection laws in your state. The laws can be lengthy and seem outdated, but they are still the terms used to govern your business. (And you thought you wouldn’t need a lawyer for your business, right?)

Bottom line is that you could be legally held to honor the pricing on top of facing public scrutiny and embarrassment if you choose not to provide a posted price to a customer. In the least you can assume someone will turn to social media to bad mouth you.

So how do you feel now about posting prices on your site? Ready to stay on top of updating your webpage now?

Would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. They may be used for a future article.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out how to purchase the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com.

********************

Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.