By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Some 20 years ago, a shuttered restaurant—just down the street—was being renovated. Excited to have a nice eatery within a couple of minutes of home, our family paid them a visit within weeks of their re-opening. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, the food was tasty, and entrees were not unreasonably priced.
I heard that the owner, a retired (or displaced) worker had invested his entire retirement fund into the place. I was pulling for him, hoping he could make a go of things, whereas the former proprietor could not.
As the evening progressed and all guests had been served, the restaurateur emerged from the kitchen and began making the rounds, stopping by each table to greet his guests.
Methodically he navigated his way to each table in the dining room, steadily moving towards us, the table furthest from the kitchen. I anticipated getting to meet him, encourage him in his endeavor, and wish him the best.
Upon completing his schmoozing with the second to the last table, he took a half step in our direction, scrutinized us, and made a hasty U-turn, retreating to the confines of the kitchen. He did not reappear.
Dumbfounded, my wife and I exchanged confused glances. Then I looked about the place, becoming quite self-conscience upon realizing that we were the only guests with children.
Apparently, kids weren’t welcome in this establishment. Now things began to make sense. The hostess seemed a bit flustered when seating us, mentioning something about a good table for children, and moved us to the far corner of the room, farthest from the door.
He did make a go of it, but we never went back, even though it’s still the closest restaurant to our home. Sometimes the parking lot looks a bit sparse. I wonder how much fuller it might be if they welcomed families with children?
Read more in Peter’s new book, Sticky Customer Service, to uncover helpful customer service tips, encouraging you to do better and celebrating what you do best.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is an entrepreneur and businessman who has managed, owned, and started multiple businesses over his carer. Recurring themes included customer service, sales and marketing, and leadership and management. He shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights through his books and posts.