Dad Subtly Taught Me the Subtle Art of Business When I Was 9
People don’t need the best product, they crave for the best care
I did a crime nobody is still aware of.
Waiting, doing nothing isn’t the coolest thing for a kid — especially in your shop, that too a restaurant.
If it’s someone else’s shop, you can have some fun: run around, break things, scream with the top of your voice, and most importantly, be the boss.
I forget things too quickly but when I do remember it, I write it down.
When I visited our shop’s store last Friday, my eyes fall on the chair I used to sit. How did I recognize it? I have carved my name on it long back. Don’t tell this to anyone, okay? Promise?
My brain started displaying my memories with that chair and now that I know a few things about business and marketing, the dots started connecting.
Family Is God, but Customers Are God’s Chair
At our shop,
Dad: “Shajedul, sit here and I’ll be back in two minutes.”
Me: “Twwwwo minutessss. I can just give you one minute, dad.”
Dad: “Okay, sit down.”
That one minute never came. It changes every time. Sometimes one hour, sometimes two and a half. Sometimes the worst: four hours. Dad starts working and forgets I am even there.
One day, it was four hours and I was sitting there. After four hours, he turns on his mobile. His eyebrows raised, “68 missed calls! Woah!” It was my mom. She was tensed about me and the turned-off mobile amplified her worry. Dad forgot I was even there. I was blowing with anger.
When I went to the home, I got happy. I got a back pain by tripping off in the room with mom’s tears. One week bed rest. Yahoo!
Why the wait at the shop? Dad had to walk/drive me to the barbershop three minutes away.
Just three minutes away.
I have to cut my hairs at the 1st of every month. No excuse. No nothing. It’s a strict order by mom. Once, we woke a barber up from sleep just to cut my hairs before 11.59 p.m. on the first of October.
But, when mom sent me with dad, in 12 months, at least five of the times I had to cut my hair the next day. Dad forgets me when I’m at our shop.
Family might be God but customers are God’s chair. Without the chair, God has to stand. Without customers, you have to starve. Customers are the top priority.
Customers Are God’s Chair, but Employee Is the Carpenter
The first people to get a present (even cash gift) on any kind of an occasion is our employees.
My birthday? Two big cakes already went to all our shops for the employees. Our one? It’ll come at the end of the day (sometimes might not even come.)
Me and my siblings used to hate them, “Are they his children or what?”
And, did I say we can’t call our employees by names? Yeah, we have to respect them by adding the words “brother" or “uncle.” Even dad calls each one of them his big brother even though most of them are way younger than him.
Our employees eat at our home even though they can cook. My mom stills cooks for them. Afternoon and evening. (Mom loves to serve — come to our home someday.)
You need employees to thrive. If they are happy, your customers will be happy too. If you care about them, they’ll care about your customers too. Customers might be God’s chair, but you need a carpenter to build and maintain that chair. The employee is the carpenter. Without them, you’re a loser.
Build the Chair Along With the Carpenter So That You and Your Family Can Sit
Dad is present in the shop means our sales are sure to be doubled that day.
Without dad’s present? Sales declines. Yeah, dad is charming and handsome but we don’t have that many lady customers.
Now even without dad’s presence, the shop rocks. Why? True leadership isn’t about holding back all the knowledge you acquired. It’s to transfer that knowledge and wisdom to amplify the impact.
Dad transferred his charm to the employees, in turn, amplified it.
Remember your customer’s cuisine
You visit our shop and your meal is already getting ready. You don’t even need to speak a word.
It takes a maximum of one week for our employees to get habituated with your habit once you’re in our shop for the first time. They will also remember your name and face forever.
Dad understood most of our customers comes after a lot of hard work in the day or doesn’t have much time to get to their work and are in a hurry. Without opening the mouth, if you get your favourite food, you don’t need anything. Only your mom can do that. Our shop is everyone’s mom. That’s the feeling we all crave for. Everyone gets it.
No money? It’s alright
Here in Oman, a lot of people either get the salary after a lot of delays or most of them forgets to bring their wallet when they visit any shop.
Customer: “Ohhhhh, I forgot to bring my wallet today.”
Our cashier: ‘It’s fine. No worries. Take care.”
The message is: feel free to leave. No banging. No torturing. No call the police.
Some never paid any money even if it’s years.
But it’s cool because there’s not much loss anyway:
- We love serving food and if we somehow fill their stomach, we win — that’s our profit.
- A few people ending up eating something for free doesn’t add much to the loss.
- Most of the times, they bring in more people with word of mouth.
Give more than you want to receive
When people ask for something extra, the strategy at our shop is simple, the employee asks: “Can I give a little extra than you requested for?” If he agrees, he receives extra. This is to ensure that the food isn’t unnecessarily wasted. But, you’ll always receive more than you request for.
Take This Away
The idea is simple. We all crave for the care. Care is precious than gold and mother’s care is the best and the most precious. If you get that, you won’t ever question anything and you always come back for more.