1: No business has an unlimited supply of employees and customers.
2: Recruitment and retention of both employees and customers are necessary for business survival.
3: Cultivating good employees is as important as cultivating good customers.
However, when good employees are subject to rude and demanding customers, it’s time to let those customers go.
That’s exactly what one business owner did. He was compelled to write the following in response to rude and unruly customers who made a scene at his new steakhouse restaurant shortly after it opened. (The following is cited with permission and minor editing for clarity and space.)
We are a new business – learning and adjusting.
We are not perfect; we are and will make mistakes.
This does NOT give you the right to berate us, scream at us, call us names …
As this business’s primary owner, I will protect and defend my employees – to work in an environment where they feel comfortable and safe.
As this business’s primary owner, I will admit when I am wrong or my employees are wrong and we made a mistake.
I do not want people to pay for food or an experience they did not enjoy. You want a refund? All you need to do is ask.
As this business’s primary owner, a fellow human being, and someone who cares and loves his community and wants it to be a great place to work and live, I cannot believe how inhumane people treat others.
I will personally kick you out of this business if you are unable to treat people like people. You will leave and not be allowed back.
We have customers SCREAMING at employees because we ran out of milk.
We have customers BERATING our employees because we don’t give free bread.
If you are so upset we ran out of milk, and we sincerely apologized for the inconvenience but you still find it necessary to be a jerk – you are gone.
If you walk in here expecting free bread when we NEVER offered it, and you can’t stop complaining about it and decide to treat our staff rudely because of it – you are gone.
You don’t walk into a grocery store demanding free food.
You don’t go to a gas station demanding free gas.
Grow up or go elsewhere.
It’s ok with us.
We want your business, not your bad mood.
Regardless of your experience, we welcome your good or bad or scathing review.
HOWEVER, if you choose to act like a child, a jerk, even an $&@@&$@, we are going to remove you. You are not entitled to treat our staff like you most likely treat everyone else.
If anyone would like clarification on our policy for treating employees with basic decency, you can call either restaurant to speak with me personally; you can also talk to me about your experience. If it’s good, great. If it’s bad, then we need to learn how to adjust and fix it going forward.
Richard Austin, President – Bella’s Sicilian and Bella’s Steakhouse.
Note: Austin’s restaurants are based in Geneva NY, and my husband and I have enjoyed dining in Bella’s Sicilian Ristorante when visiting the Finger Lakes region.
As a long-time employee experience advocate, I applaud Austin publicly defending his employees in this situation. It speaks highly of the culture he has created in his business, and it’s why my husband and I will continue to support his restaurants.