Monday, June 20, 2011

Are you missing the empty glass moment?

I’ve recently dined at a couple of places which won’t make it to my other blog.  They weren’t bad, but they fell short of being blog-worthy.  One of the things that they had in common was that I dined at the bar, and I had to ask the bartenders for additional drinks when confronted with the horror of empty glasses.

Empty scotch glass

An empty glass in front of a patron at a bar is an opportunity for the bartender, not just to sell another drink, but to make small talk, offer a glass of water, anything to improve the drunkard/patron’s experience.  The mercenary reasons are for both the additional sales opportunity and for the shot at improving the tip.  A more strategic reason is to build a relationship, and improve the chances of repeat business.  Another, more human reason is that happy customers are nicer to be around and make the job better.  It is an opportunity to engage the customer when there is an obvious invitation for interaction, a shot at satisfying the customer and maybe even making a buck at the same time.

You’re probably wondering where I’m headed with this, and if I may have been over-served before writing, but fear not, there is a point coming…

A lot of folks aren’t comfortable starting conversations, so we don’t do it.  I get it, it can be hard, and awkward.  One way to make it easier is to look for our own “empty glass” moments, those opportunities where there is a void to be filled.  They may not be as obvious as the empty glass, but look for them, and take advantage of them.  They may be as direct as someone floating a question in a group, or as subtle as a prolonged silence, but if you look for the opportunities you will probably find some.  Instead of selling drinks, we can sell ideas, or simply make connections and make people aware that we are paying attention so that it is easier for us when we really do need their attention.

That’s it, deep thoughts from the end of the bar.