Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

One Example of Why a Pandemic is Not the Time to Lose Customers

A friend of mine invited me to have pizza with him for lunch at one of our favorite pizzerias earlier today — we have not dined on a pizza from there in a long time — but instead had Chinese food due to a policy which did not seem logical.

One Example of Why a Pandemic is Not the Time to Lose Customers

The restrictions which were in place due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic had been relaxed by the state government; and this particular pizzeria could have opened its dining area inside with suggested distancing techniques which would have complied with the law — plus, we had no problem with ordering to take a pizza out in case the dining area was not open to the public, as most other restaurants have already done during the pandemic — so we did not think about calling ahead to find out exactly what policy was in place.

When we arrived, however, we found a plethora of signs taped to the door — including one on the door handle which was shaped in a red octagon like a STOP sign.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

While we were standing in front of the door reading all of the notices — including that the dining area inside was closed, do not come inside of the building, and to knock loudly or call the store to have orders brought outside, an employee who was not wearing a mask on his face came to the door and opened it. He peeked out to ask if we were picking up an order.

“No, we were going to place an order here,” my friend replied.

We did not need a menu and knew what we wanted; so as the male employee asked what we wanted and was listening to the order being given by my friend, a female employee — who also was not wearing a mask — abruptly interrupted my friend as he was almost done with the simple order and rudely mandated that if we wanted to place an order, we could only do it by either calling via telephone or going to the official Internet site of the pizzeria.

“But we were almost done with the order,” my friend responded in disbelief — and he was at least six feet away from the employees. She did not apologize as both employees retreated back inside of the establishment.

We were heading to his vehicle in the parking lot to place the order from there — all the while wondering how what had just happened was conducive to mitigating the spread of the virus, especially as the order was practically completed — when I spotted a Chinese restaurant several doors down. Knowing my friend likes Chinese food, I suggested that perhaps we try their food instead.

Although the dining area inside was closed, the door was open and we walked in. The employee behind the counter was wearing a mask. We placed our order, which he cheerfully accepted with no issues or problems.

When our order was completed, we walked past the pizzeria with our order to get to the sitting area located outside where we can enjoy our lunch.

“We are all in this together in these uncertain times, my friend,” he said to me as we ate our Chinese food.

Summary

Although I respect the “abundance of caution” being exercised by owners of business establishments to ensure a healthy environment, being rude about their policies to customers is inexcusable and is never a way to recover from what was likely the worst economic event to affect them. On this day, that aformentioned impudence lost business for that pizzeria to an indirect competitor who not only gained an order, but my friend liked their food so much that he intends on being a regular customer of that Chinese restaurant in the future — and he is the type of person who not only recommends what he likes to other people, but will also bring them to the establishment with him.

The pizzeria was co-founded by two acquaintances of mine; and I had been a customer of theirs since its launch. I had not communicated my experience to either of the owners at the time this article was written, which is why I kept the name of the pizzeria and telephone number anonymous.

Restaurants and other dining establishments have been hurting during the economic slump which was caused by the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — that is obviously no secret — but economic recovery is not simply going to magically happen automatically with at least 37 million people who applied for unemployment in the United States alone within the past two months and will not have the disposable income they enjoyed only three months earlier. These businesses will have to work to regain the confidence of their customer base — let alone win over new customers…

…and in addition to the dining industry, that dictum applies to other industries as well — including travel, in which airlines, lodging companies, rental car companies, and cruise lines have not exactly been doing whatever they can to retain their loyal customers and win over new ones…

All photographs ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

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