Last week while in London, my wife and I went to a restaurant at Piccadilly Circus called The Criterion for a pre-theatre dinner. Neither of us had ever been there before and the restaurant was quickly filling up with pre-theatre diners like ourselves.
It was a beautiful little restaurant with a glittering mosaic ceiling, high vaulted ceilings and gilded chandeliers and wall sconces. Everything you would expect from an upscale West End dining establishment.
That is, until the two 30-something ladies sat down at the table next to us with their three “birthday party” clad little girls in tow. I believe it was their clueless attempt at teaching the children how to behave while out to dinner, or possibly to “educate” them to the “better things in life.” Either way, all they succeeded in doing was to ruin the brand experience of every other diner in the restaurant — especially those (us) seated right next to them.
I had to nibble on my crown of lamb while three crying little girls spilled every beverage placed in front of them while their mothers pried in between our tables to mop up the mess, all the time whispering “What do you say to the waiter?” when steaks and other adult fare were placed before the children.
The real culprit here is a restaurant that does not understand their brand and should not allow the promised “experience of fine dining” by allowing children into the main dining room.
We preach to every brand we develop that, in order to be important to your target market, you must also “not” be for other markets. In this case, they believe they are a brand for everyone and therefore will remain unimportant to anyone.