Lyle's Blog

Elvis and change

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I always look for new things...different things that might heighten the experience for our diners and for my employees, for that matter. A few years back, I found an animated deer that hung up in our entry way. The idea for all of that came from a friend down the road, Kent, who owns the Shell station down on the corner. Kent also ran the store in Sisters for a while and I got a kick out of his creative animated things in it that I knew he put in there for the same reason. When Kent noticed Buck, he turned to his wife and said, "Look, Honey, it is like being home.".

Buck was abused by non caring customers and is now quite dead. I learned a lesson of accessibility there. It must be supervised. Anyway, I was online looking for another Buck who is no longer made. I ran a search for animatronics and ran across Elvis. It is a life size bust of Elvis that talks and sings. I bought him and he arrived last Monday. I was told that Friday was Elvis's birthday so I decided to introduce him on that day.

We went all out for this introduction including movies, music, trivia, and a special menu. I just wanted to have fun with it all. For the most part, I think it went over well. The animated Elvis is cute and as long as there is a customer stream past him, he stays awake. If not, he states it himself, saying, "Elvis has left the building" and shuts down till you reboot him.

I am actually thinking of running the fun menu that Judy put together through the weekend or at least part of it. It will depend on how hard it affects the kitchen on the busy weekend. If it causes them to slow then I probably won't just to insure that the service does not slow because of it.

I am constantly looking for ways to better the experience. Whether that is the food, the service, or the fun. Although I know that I must always price things in a certain way to insure profitability, that word is NEVER in the forefront of my decisions. Some customers get that while others do not. I cannot let any of that bother me but be true to myself as one friend told me.

So, I will push on with my new Alacarte dinners because I feel that it is the right thing to do. The same 'Jake's' portion but with a cheaper price. I can only believe that the customers will see the value in that. What I have seen so far is that most of them seem to be happy with just the meal and not the frills while others desire to have the soup or salad and are willing to pay what would have been the old price for it.

The trick there is perception. And the key to perception is not always reality. I plan to run an additional ad on the radio to help that perception along but can only hope that it comes across the way that it is intended.

So, I will keep that in the forefront. I will attempt to remain outside the box, give the customer what they want, give back to the community who keeps me alive, and give the people who work for me a good hopefully fun place to work knowing that their lively hood is based upon it also. If I do all of that and keep the numbers right, I will remain. That is all a part of this vocation that I have chose.......or did it choose me?

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