I just (almost) ate steak and eggs at a Ruby Tuesday in Orlando airport on my way back to Portugal…
…because when you take as many long haul flights as I do… you learn to treat yo’self and eat real food whenever possible before heading into a 10+ hour trip where the most edible thing you’re served is Diet Coke.
I’ll admit – I was pretty excited about this steak and eggs.
I love food. Food excites me.
But when the nice waitress brought out my plate, she gave me a plastic fork and knife.
That’s kinda weird to do with steak, but I gave it a whirl…
… but no matter how much I sawed at that slab of meat, I couldn’t cut off a single slice of steak.
So naturally, I asked the waitress if I could have a real knife.
And she told me they don’t have them.
“Because 9/11”
Which is funny, because I’ve been to a metric butt-ton of airports since 9/11 and have definitely used knives before.
I mean… in first class they give you knives ON THE PLANE.
But I digress.
When I told the waitress about the problem, she tried her best to make me happy.
She even had the chef cut up my steak for me (Yep. Like a 5-year-old)
But then he put the slices on a new plate and threw out my eggs and sauce – giving me an half-empty plate with too-big slices of dry steak that STILL needed to be cut in order to avoid a choking hazard.
So I hacked and sawed at the now cold slices of solo sirloin, and funnily enough, decided I just wasn’t that hungry anymore.
Eventually, I gave up and walked away disappointed with a belly full (ish) of 1 egg and a nibble of meat.
Needless to say… I was NOT a happy customer.
Now, while it’s fun to listen to me bitch about my breakfast, the real reason I’m telling you this is because there’s an important marketing lesson in here.
Because, when the waitress knowingly asked me if I had “given up” on the abandoned steak, she told me they get yelled at all the time for this.
Which means that this happens ALL THE TIME in this airport restaurant.
That means every single day, customers are walking away disappointed, angry, and HUNGRY.
When the only purpose of your business is to feed people…. That is NOT a good thing.
So if you were the owner of this fine establishment, how would you deal with this situation?
You know you can’t have knives.
And you know that customers can’t eat steak without knives.
And you know that customers are going to order steak expecting that they’ll be able to eat it.
So how can you stop this vicious steakey cycle and make sure less customers walk away cursing your name?
How about changing the dish to something unique and interesting (adding value) like, Southern Eggs and Sirloin Bites?
Or just removing whole steak from the menu all together?
Or adjusting the dish so that it’s ANYTHING other than a giant slab of uncuttable meat that might as well be served with an expired credit card to cut it for all the good that plastic safety knife does to make it edible.
There are a multitude of good choices you could make to improve how customers perceive your brand an your business.
All you have to do is make sure you deliver what was promised…

… but also…

… you need to deliver what the customer THINKS you’ve promised.
In this situation, you promised steak. But what the customer THINKS you promised is steak that they can actually eat.
Something to think about as you’re packaging your offers or writing your sales message.
What do you think?
How would you fix this situation if you owned this restaurant?
I’d love to hear how you’d handle it.

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