Posts Tagged ‘ Real Housewives ’

Expectations… guess what Ryan Howard does vs. lefties with the game on the line?

First of all many apologies for my silence of late.  Still getting a handle on this whole blog thing… I realize that frequency is crucial but I’m not some troll sitting in a basement blogging… I have a damn life!  Blame my uber-social wife for too many activities; if I were holed up in my basement in my underwear commenting on minutia then I’d put out content every day.  Unfortunately, she makes me go out and interact with real people… which is good for content; bad for having time to write about it.

Fear not… I’m loaded for bear.  Rather than blow it all out here, I’ll focus on a series of concise yet entertaining/educational anecdotes… starting with tonight.  So I settled in to watch my noble Phillies take their rightful place in baseball royalty by expelling the almost worthy Cardinals in their chapel of  a baseball field.  Unfortunately we’re forced to suffer through a game 5 back in heaven-on-earth, Citizen’s Bank Park, where our very own deity, Roy Halladay will vault us one step closer to the promised land (fear not!). 

So being 2 martini’s deep when Ryan Howard yet again swiped at a typical 2 strike slider away, out of the zone by yet another junk-balling lefty to dash our hopes and cause me a bellowing howl of “F*CK”, much to the chagrin of our not-quite-understanding next door neighbor who just one week ago filed a noise complaint to our home owners association, I was pretty down in the dumps.  Expectations… what can I say?

Wifey tried to calm  me down (with the ever-so-popular, “what the eff is wrong with you?!”)… didn’t quite work.  Know what did?  When she threw on the DVR of ‘Real Housewives of NJ’, watching the Gorga’s and Giudice’s making friendly in Punta Cana!  Let me tell you friends, must see TV!  This Bravo really has taken the concept of ‘trainwreck’ and figured a way to make mad cash on it.

But I digress.  More to the point… on the ‘expectations’ theme, I arranged a subtle ‘Happy Birthday’ dinner for my 25-year-old betrothed (well, she looks 25… you can guess her real age :-).  We had a great time at a wonderfully fun restaurant in the Reston Town Center (many thanks to Anthony at Il Fornaio – if you want to hold an event at a vibrant venue with great food and great staff, THIS is the place!).  But let me tell you about a business who did it wrong… that would be Passion Fish also in the Reston Town Center… pretty much the consensus premier restaurant amongst 10 or so within a 4 block diameter (sorry Morton’s… but you’re slipping).  Here’s the issue that both marketers and logical consumers with  more than a 5th grade education can appreciate:

I have 15-20 guests ready to join the birthday dinner.  Let’s remember that we’re about to enter (if we haven’t already) a double-dip recession.  Frankly, restaurants aren’t breaking at the seams with people clammering to bring in $1,500+ worth of business.  So a few days prior, off I go to discuss the dinner party with Ms. Rigid-I’m-The-Group-Sales-Director at the aforementioned Passion(less) Fish.  May I just offer that a bigger moron doesn’t exist.  Perhaps due to the rigid sales manual the Nazi superiors forced upon poor Miranda, she was dead set on enforcing the $2,000 minimum for the room with a limited menu.  I felt bad for her… living 2 blocks away and a consummate frequenter of the various establishments nearby, I can count on one hand the weekend evenings when the backroom in consideration was actually utilized.  Maybe its just me, but expecting our guests to pony up $150+ each was a wee bit much for a low-key dinner, but I was SURE that in these trying times that I had all the leverage and surely my tan-averse adversary would see the error in her ways and realize that receiving SOME profit is certainly better than NO profit.

This is a lesson that I’m shocked by daily.  Now before you Jack Welch’s out there offer, “give them a break, there’s overhead that has to be covered including a dedicated server staff and the slow down caused by the orders all at once which will impact the other guests that evening.”  Really?  So you’re going to tell me that if I just rolled to any restaurant with 15 individuals who are all dying to get drunk and eat are going to be turned away?  Right, thought not.

So what happened?  I wheeled my big Italina a*s out of that joint and told Miranda to let her boss know that she just turned down $1,800 worth of business due to her rigid demand of $2,000.  I walked roughly 500 steps to Il Fornaio (ahem, the BEST), reserved a private table where they customized the menu, held me to NO minimum, etc. and promptly pocketed our $1,800 by the end of the night.  I have the receipt and am thinking of sending to the management of Passion(less) Fish but thinking that would be bit caustic… so, I’ll do that tomorrow!

Bottom line for all of you marketing gurus, there needs to be a degree of autonomy between the programs we devise and the autonomy of the sales function to close deals (where the goal is NOT to maximize profits with each deal; but rather, to maximize long-term profitability).  Business rules have stifled more innovation than any recession.  I have the benefit of performing both business functions; I do sales for a marketing services organization so I’m constantly ‘selling’ services that, when improperly implemented, cause a disconnect with the sales effort. I blame this phenomenon on technology and doing ‘more with less’.  That is, we’re constantly wearing more hats since technology has made us vastly more productive than we were 10 years ago… when it took 5 people to do the work of 2 today.  But guess what… skill sets still matter.  And just because I find a Miranda who is great at greeting people, it doesn’t mean she has the smarts to realize that closing a deal of $1,800 vs. $2,000 (when costs are likely 50% of this) when the alternative is an empty room is actually a good thing (to quote the immortal Tom Krizmanich).  

Sort of like when the Phillies lose game 4 of the NLDS with a chance to have the rotation set up perfectly for the NLCS.  But not to worry, there’s always an Il Fornaio (or a good Teresa/Melissa catfight) around the corner to right the emotional ship!