Business Lesson from Recession-hit London Restaurants

Recession-hit restaurants in Britain have started offering free food and major discounts to entice customers, many of whom have stopped eating out frequently following job losses and salary cuts.

Offering free food was one of the ways of beating recession in the 1980s, and restaurant owners are hoping it will work this time too. Hundreds of restaurants have closed in the recent months.

Little Bay Restaurant, Farringdon Road, London

The offer of free food is premised on the belief that customers would be too embarrassed not to leave behind money after dinner. Restaurants owners believe that except students, most customers would not leave without leaving money behind.

For example, the menu card at The Little Bay in Farringdon, London (featured in the photo) does not mention prices for dishes. Customers pay only for the drinks. Restaurant owner Peter Ilic said, “You can leave 50 pounds or nothing; it doesn’t matter, I will treat you the same,” he said.

Btw, if you are in London, you can visit the Little Bay restaurant at:
171 Farringdon Road
Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3AL
Tel: 020 7278 1234

And now the Lesson for those of us in other businesses, including the online business.

Its called the 5% rule, ie. before you ask for anything, offer your customer at least 5% worth of sample or value or product or service or whatever that you sell. We have seen this working in both B2B and B2C businesses.

In fact, a money back guarantee or performance guarantee of some sort also achieves the same result as above.

They make it difficult for the customer to refuse the offer, by removing all possible barriers.

In our experience, too many companies don’t want to try any of the above because sometimes things will fail, and majority of managers are risk-averse. So if you say your company can’t do it, that’s fine too. We are sure someone else will do it and go on to win the sale. Nobody is forced to give us a sale, we have to win it. This recession will test the best. So give it a serious thought.

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