Do your policies punish your customers?

I love the Elephant Bar restaurant. They have yummy, fresh food for reasonable prices and cheerful, efficient servers. I love that they list the calorie count after each item. And I especially love their half-price appetizers during happy hour.

So imagine our confusion when meeting friends there for an early dinner and asking if we could order the appetizers in the restaurant. We were told we could go to the bar and order and pay for them, then bring them to the table in the dining room.


We asked the server if she understood this policy. We’d be ordering them from a server in the bar, so why couldn’t we order them from her? She said her cash register didn’t allow her to enter them. All orders were processed by table and she couldn’t give us the half-price appetizers at a restaurant table.


This seems odd. What difference does the 10 feet between the bar and the restaurant have in justifying a different price structure? If someone can order appetizers in the restaurant, why can’t they get the same deal that is offered in the bar? The revenue all goes to the restaurant, even though they may track bar and restaurant income differently.

But this should be an internal issue, not one that affects the customer. It should be transparent to the customer.
I suggested to the server that we bring this up to management. So I am. Here. We’ll see if we get an explanation and response.

Will it prevent me from visiting the Elephant Bar again? No. But next time I may tell my friends to meet me in the bar, not the restaurant, and the establishment will get less revenue.

Have you looked at your own policies lately to see which ones don’t make sense to your customers, even if they make sense to your internal accounting needs? If you don’t confront your own customer-questioning policies, your customers will. And they may find a way around them that isn’t what you envisioned.

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