I was listening to a news story recently about a famous French chef (Chef Ludo Lefebvre) who loved to create, to cook, to push culinary limits – but hated the stress, hours and financial overhead of a traditional restaurant. So Chef Lefebvre decided to turn his entire business model upside down and create Ludo Bites – pop-up restaurants that show up at limited locations in the Los Angeles area, for a limited time, and with a limited menu.
The results have been transformative for Chef Lefebvre. He works fewer hours, makes a greater profit (even with lower prices due to the low overhead), and is able to channel unfettered creativity into gastronomic works of arts. Customers become groupies and post photos of these intimate dining experiences throughout Social Media sites.
The broader lesson for all of us is that scarcity as a strategy has its benefits:
Another great example of the power of scarcity is the success of Groupon, both as a company and as touted by local owners who have used this channel to get out limited time offers and thereby grow their base.
Your Next Best Three Steps?:
My mechanic has me trained. When I take my car in for an oil change, he places a sticker in the upper left hand corner of my windshield to remind me what date and mileage I should have my next maintenance completed. But every once in a while, he forgets to put the sticker on the window.
Then I have to remember the date and mileage details. It’s a good thing to train your customers and it can help you pump up your bottom line. But if you choose that route, it’s important to follow through.
Because my mechanic occasionally forgets the oil change sticker, he shifts the burden of that “perk” to me. That’s a burden I don’t want to bear. On top of that, it could cut into his business if I delay the maintenance because I’ve forgotten when the car is due. And if he forgets stickers on several cars… well, you get the idea.
Training your customer when and how to do business with you helps both them and you. But make sure you have a mechanism to help you follow through. Unmet expectations have a way of driving business to your competition.