Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Closed" can be an opportunity

"They would have lost our revenue and might have lost our loyalty to a competitor.  That is not what happened."
Often times, while I am travelling to Charlottetown PEI, I visit my favorite local restaurant/brew pub Gahan House. The other night was no different.

A colleague and I planned to go for a bite to eat and some of their stellar beverages. When we got to the restaurant we were disappointed to learn that they were in-fact closed, due to a renovation.

It is common for restaurants (or at least the ones that survive long enough) to eventually need a face lift. Normally we would have been met with a simple "closed" sign and we would have moved on to another restaurant. They would have lost our revenue and might have lost our loyalty to a competitor.  That is not what happened.

Instead, Gahan's had a pleasant woman, a server a presume, standing in the doorway of the closed restaurant with a stack of coupons. Since the parent company (Murphy Group) owns another restaurant across the street, we were pointed to The Brickhouse and offered a coupon for a free pint of Gahan's beer that they keep on tap at the sister restaurant.

We ventured across the street where our server took some time to explain to us that the Gahan House would be open the following week, that they would be maintaining the same neighborhood pub feel and that it would only be an improvement on the admittedly great pub.

These simple actions had three important affects:

  • It maintained loyalty to the Gahan beer brand and restaurant.
  • It coaxed me into a sister property that I had never before visited.
  • It created a positive introduction to the new property (free beer!)
The Brickhouse had an easy job from this point forward creating new (and maintaining old) brand loyalty. 

As a side note, the Vegetable Beggar's Purse was excellent, the sweet and salty chocolate cake was great, and the Gahan's Red was, as anticipated, perfect. 

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