A lesson learned in loyalty

I learned a lesson in life yesterday. A small lesson, but telling nevertheless.

I work as an online marketing consultant with a strong focus on social media. I also work as a waiter for a couple of shifts at a local restaurant here in Northern Virginia. I wanted to help out the second job I have (waiter) with my expertise from what I primarily do (online marketing).

I should point out that the restaurant actually has three locations (Virginia, DC, Maryland) and the people that own them also own a fourth restaurant – a different name and menu – on Capitol Hill.

I’ve been at that restaurant for over two years. That’s often long in the restaurant world. Business has been slow due to slowing economy so I figured I’d come up with a marketing programs that involved blogger relations to bring in business. Simply put, I’d reach out to 25-40 local prominent bloggers to see if they’d like a gift card of $25 (or maybe $20) to have them come in and try the restaurant. This would allow them to write a review on their blog where thousands of readers could read them.

I’d also put together a 2 -4 minute video introducing the place to the bloggers and then I’d also put the video on YouTube.

Now the restaurant has been trying to increase business by using low level cheap tactical stuff…the type of stuff that never works. The problem is that tactics such as these aren’t designed to work. They’re designed to be cheap. And cheap for the sake of cheap doesn’t work. Ever.

So I submitted the proposal. It will probably take me about 120-140 hours over three months to implement and manage. I want to charge $900. That includes the video shot in four places.

Nine hundred bucks ain’t much. It’s cheap…but not for the sake of being cheap. Let’s put it this way. $900/3 months = $300 per month. $300/30 days = $10 per day. $10/4 restaurants = $2.50 per restaurant per day. We probably waste $2.50 in bread going bad per shift.

So I submit the proposal and it “looks good” but it looks doubtful. The owners actually live in Connecticut and I’ve never met them. It’s almost impossible to get a proposal approved without talking to the decisions makers. But what turned me off was a reason as to why it will likely be turned down. My direct general manager told me a reason he was told was “If we were going to do it, why wouldn’t we do it ourselves?”

Wait a minute. Putting aside that they can’t do it themselves and that the things that they’ve done themselves have been colossal failure, let’s take a look at what was said. “Why wouldn’t we do it ourselves?”

I’ve been there for two years. I feel a sense of loyalty to the restaurant, to the management, to my co-workers. But two years of service for some reason has yet to make me part of “we”.

That mindset is bad management. Now it wasn’t the manager from my store that necessarily feels this way. And although it may be the Director of Operations that said it, it probably reflects the mindset of the owners. And mindset that trickles down. A mindset that breeds disloyalty.

I may still get the work. But I’ll have to lower my price. And I’ll be doing it with that mindset that breeds disloyalty.

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One thought on “A lesson learned in loyalty

  1. Sorry to say, but I think your price of $900 for all that work is woefully cheap. Sounds like an interesting idea. Don’t know if bloggers are really a good target audience. However, if you expand that to include foodie sites like Yelp and Chowhound, you could really be on to something. You might be better off, instead of dropping your already super-low price, suggesting trade-out instead. Take $1000 in chain $$. It’ll be cheaper for them at the end of the day, and I’m sure you’ll be happy to dine for free till it runs out.

    Nice post. I’m at waiternotes.wordpress.com.

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