Bean Counters Are Wrong   Leave a comment

ham sandwichI’m on a little road trip, attending a 90,000-person convention in Las Vegas. It’s put on by the National Association of Broadcasters, and this is the 25th anniversary of my first NAB convention in Las Vegas.

Which is kind of cool.

But I’m disgusted by something I’ve seen. And, yes, I’m in Vegas, but, no, it’s probably not what you think.

Case # 1. Driving through Barstow, I stopped for lunch at a restaurant. It could have been a Friday’s but it wasn’t. It could have been a Chevy’s, but it wasn’t. It was a Chili’s.

They were turning away business on a Sunday afternoon, because there was a 40 minute wait. However, they were holding an empty section in the restaurant, which could have dealt with their line easily. I don’t know why they felt it better to refuse business than seat paying customers, but I suspect it had something to do with cutting costs (salaries) instead of making money (more sales).

Case # 2. I am staying at the Paris, which routinely keeps large section of their buffet seating closed while keeping people in line for 20-30 minutes and more. I have no idea what they’re thinking, but they’re wrong.

Case # 3. I went to Le Burger Brasserie at Paris Las Vegas for dinner tonight, but I was told there was a 20 minute wait … but I could sit at the bar (party of one). No seats at the bar.

While walking back to the hostess station, I noted 2 empty tables in the restaurant as I walked out (I surveyed perhaps a third of the restaurant). I told the two (2) hostesses that the bar was full, but they had 2 tables open … they told me they couldn’t seat anyone there because it wasn’t those station’s turn to get new seatings. They showed me the waiting list of people waiting for when they COULD seat them … but they couldn’t fill the empty tables until some of the people left that the hostesses were waiting on.

I left.

Three cases, three restaurants.  In each case, the operators felt it more important to restrict their business than to maximize sales. This may well be because they are “optimizing” their staff, and when they don’t properly anticipate the amount of business coming their way, then they just say no when the extra people ask to give them some money.  Or maybe the operational staff doesn’t want to work harder than they were told to, and don’t have the initiative to solve the problem in the favor of the guest.

Don’t know, don’t care. But when a business turns away business for any reason … they don’t deserve it.

In this job market, the mere suspicion that this is a job-related cost-saving measure frustrates me.

As a wise man once said to me, these restaurant operators are starving, while sitting on a ham sandwich. And until they hire staff to cover the business they receive, may then continue to starve.

Just like the people they’re not serving.


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