One of my favourite short business sayings comes not from an American business leader or a President or wartime Prime Minister but from a waitress in Denny’s in Hawaii. My bride and I were on holidays there and we had ordered something from the menu out of curiosity and when we tasted it we curled up our noses at the blandness of it. The waitress leaned on the counter next to us and in her wonderfully rich American accent, said ” you’ve got to pump up that puppy” meaning add taste, and pushed a rack of condiments across the counter to us.
That lovely expression has resonated with me for years. How many businesses do you walk into that need to “pump up that puppy”? Recently I was in country NSW at one of the regional hubs and had breakfast at a cafe chosen purely because it was the first one open. It called itself something green and fair and rootsy, perhaps even organic but upon entering, it looked more like an ex ice cream shop. Bad lighting, bad furniture, bad decorating. It had bags of garlic hanging under the front counter that looked more like chewing gum stuck under a desk than it did an homage to rootsy back to earthiness. The quote came instantly to mind. You’ve got to pump up that puppy!
The coffee was great, or at least one of them was, you see, in spite of me being the only person in the place, two different people made my two coffees. Who is the best coffee maker? They should be making the coffee! Pump up that puppy by having clear roles and playing to your strengths.
The paleo pancakes read much like the French toast on the menu so I asked barista No1. which was better. He said he preferred the pancakes so I went with that. Once I had eaten them, that was the perfect time to engage with me by asking if I had enjoyed them. Pump up that puppy by engaging with your clients. Pump up that puppy by seeking feedback.
I understand that there is an inherent risk in asking for feedback, it can be scary. But here is your only customer and he has asked for your personal advice, followed your recommendation and you fail to follow-up? That is just a wasted opportunity.
The breakfast btw was sensational. The plate looked like something from the nineties which was disappointing all swirls and wisps, but I could not fault the texture or taste. Here was a business that really needed to pump up the puppy.
I wanted to give them feedback but I went to Facebook and couldn’t find them. Surely a new business is going to have a Facebook presence aren’t they? They should! Pump up that puppy by connecting with the local eaters and coffee drinkers, letting everyone know how early they open and what great food they serve.
I wonder if they will be there when I next return? Almost certainly not if they fail to pump up that puppy!