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Messaging Your Customers

Language and messaging are so important in hospitality, especially when you have unfortunate information to share with your guests and customers.

I saw this sign posted on the door of a small restaurant the other day and am curious what others think. I am fully understanding businesses are short staffed and still struggling with transitions to delivery and to-go orders as Covid and delivery/to go in general has changed the face of dining.

The opening message regarding being booked for dinner time is absolutely acceptable, but quickly descends into a flourish of negativity. Does a restaurant that is fortunate enough to be so busy have to be so curt in dismissing people that are just trying to enjoy what they offer?

I would like to assume that whoever wrote this sign did not mean to be so dismissive. Perhaps they're at the end of their rope dealing with walk-ins and to go requests that they cannot handle. Still, think about how many different ways this could have been communicated with just a few different word choices.

Perhaps just one "no" before the services that are not available? Or add an "unfortunately we cannot offer" those services listed? A "thank you for understanding" also would have gone a long way. Instead, I walk by, empathetic to their plight, but turned off by the negative tone.

To further analyze this, I know the food at this restaurant is very thoughtfully made, with precise execution. So wouldn't a typed sign or something to match the efforts of the team inside do right by them to display this message on the outside?

I know this is being quite critical during a tough time, but we've always got to remember to not let frustration get the best of us when communicating with those that are just trying to support us.

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