5 Sure-Fire Ways To Ruin Guest Experience And Drive Away Business

*Note* the following article is satirical and should not be taken as actual advice. There is, however, a lot to be learned from it. 

If you own a restaurant or bar, you’re probably getting tired of all that frequent business and growth you’ve been seeing due to you providing great food, excellent customer service, and the ultimate guest experience. Having patrons come in day after day, spending money and enjoying themselves is getting pretty old—it’s time for a change! 

Looking to drive customers away and keep them away? Simply follow these 5 steps and you’re almost guaranteed to be out of business in no time!

1. Impersonal Service Without A Smile

Bear sitting at picnic table bad service meme


What? You’re expecting your staff to come in for every shift prepared to treat your guests like royalty?! What did these “guests” do to deserve that? I mean, other than travel a whole lot, pay for gas or an Uber, maybe book a babysitter, brave the weather if it was bad out, spend a ton of their hard-earned money at your venue, and so on. Is that really enough to treat them like you’re appreciative and build some kind of long-lasting relationship?

Jerry Prendergast, a Restaurant Producer and contributor to Forbes Magazine, says, “No matter the location — a small town or Manhattan’s Upper East Side — it is the local clients that make a business thrive.” So make sure they don’t know who you are!

Believe it or not, Prendergast actually “trained staff to keep track of what regular customers ordered and even bring their favorite cocktail to the table when they arrived.” Through this, he effectively turned many newcomers into regulars.

I’m not sure I would recommend doing the exact opposite of that, since it would involve getting to know your guests a bit to find out how to not have their favorite drink prepared. So, here I’d recommend spending as little time talking to these people as possible.

If you’re busy, you’re busy! Don’t bother stopping by their table to chat or offering them something extra if they had to wait a while for service.

(Shortcut Pro-Tip: Stop getting your staff to smile at guests by treating them like garbage too!)


2. Pay No Regard To Your Underlings

Dave Chappelle meme about birthday money

Twitter | @iamroxxyhaze

You’re already paying your employees, like, every two weeks—what more could these blood-suckers possibly want? Respect, leadership, career growth? Probably.

If you’re someone who leads by example with ample amounts of respect, it’s likely that your staff will actually enjoy coming to work and maybe even put in extra effort to make those around them feel good as well.

Even worse is if you’re acting as a mentor to them, honing their skills until they become proficient enough to make decisions on their own and earn themselves a promotion! A content employee is bad enough, but one that’s actually happy and gracious is simply a danger to any business looking to fail as quickly as possible.

(Shortcut Pro-Tip: Never reward a job well-done. In fact, cancel any plans for staff parties or events that focus on team-building and employees’ sense of satisfaction.)


3. Get As Lazy As Possible

Lazy man drinking soda from laying down in lawn chair

Reddit | GeoKureli

Come in late, leave early—that should be a given—but to be truly lazy is a skill only perfected by the likes of Garfield and Homer Simpson. These two should become your idols.

Some owners/managers are actually so invested in the guest experience that they’ll engage with some follow-up materials after these customers have finished their meal. Things like emails, comment cards, or even (heaven forbid) talking with guests is shown to leave a long-lasting impression with people. It really drives home the idea that you care! People love to have their opinions heard and validated, so allowing them to freely give input can make them feel more connected to your business. Gross.

Another way to make it clear that you don’t care is to camp out in the back. Set up a nice office or break room and spend 90% of your day there either napping or mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. The added bonus here is that your staff will think you’re horrible too!

(Shortcut Pro-Tip: Your phone is a great way to show the real world that you’re not engaged with it. Hold it up and move your thumb around the screen to show you’re not paying attention.)


4. Put The “I” And “Am” In The Word “Contaminated”

Moe looking at drawing of Mr. Stinky from The Simpsons


I probably don’t need to tell you that poorly cooked food and an unclean kitchen can drive away guests—but have you considered your own personal hygiene? What about the eating area? If it’s immaculate every day, then you’ve got to make a change—and fast!

Say you need to clean the floors, I dunno, say for the health inspector’s sake. When that’s the case, I’d suggest investing in a mophead. That’s right, one single mophead that will never need changing or cleaning. The best part is, you might get accustomed to the smell since you spend so much time in your own venue—but that glorious stench of garbage and sweat will linger on like a walking corpse and greet your customers as soon as they walk in the door.

(Shortcut Pro-Tip: If your bathrooms are close to the entrance, half the work here is already provided by your customers! Simply let that savory stank idle right by your main doors. Your guests won’t know if it’s a restaurant or a barnyard!)


5. Create An Environment That Confuses And Annoys People

Mumford and Sons read mean tweet on Jimmy KimmelMe.me

Music and lighting are small details which, if paid close attention to, can create an ambiance in your venue that positively exceeds the expectations of your guests. Studies show that people will spend more time and money in locations that provide a comfortable and/or stimulating environment. So, it’s important to completely ruin this aspect as much as possible.

Forget about paying for proper music licensing, pay zero attention to what your guests’ demographic likes to listen to, and blast the most irritating noise possible. Personally, I find that leaving your TV screens on any given channel is an easy way to allow incredibly loud commercials to blare into the ears of your patrons while they’re trying to converse. Of course, if you have a fine-dining establishment with an older clientele, you can’t go wrong with playing the entirety of “36 Chambers” by The Wu-Tang Clan on repeat.

(Shortcut Pro-Tip: YouTube has a 10-hour-long loop of the theme song from Buck Bumble, a fairly unrecognized Nintendo 64 game from 1998. It’s guaranteed to annoy most people to no end!)


*Note* If you’re looking to keep your patrons, make more money, and create an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone involved—well, I suppose you could do the opposite of these.

See how Control Play can provide an atmosphere that doesn’t drive customers out the door!

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