The social media platforms available on the web offer everyone the possibility of publishing opinions about their experience in restaurants and hotels to get feedback from clients. Especially as an entrepreneur, you have an instrument to use for free to see if your clients are satisfied or not.
On the other hand, the same instruments allow you to say out loud what you think about a specific argument or even express a political opinion.
But should you, as a restaurant owner, take a political stand? The answer is no! The truth is that a restaurant owner should always have a diplomatic position.
I am not saying that one should not or can not have one's own political opinion. I am just saying that it should not interfere with the entertainers' role, such as for a restaurant's customers.
As a small restaurant owner, you do not have the luxury to make politics or any statement. You never know how a client will understand your message, and a discussion could come up.
Of course, you will have your opinions regarding politics and other facts of public interest. But we, as restaurant-entrepreneurs, have the duty to offer superb food and an unforgettable experience. That's our job.
If you want to discuss politics, you should do it at home with your friends. But never on the premises of your business or any way in public, where potential clients could identify you.
Those who think differently from you will not differentiate between you and your business.
If they disagree with you, they will undoubtedly be influenced when deciding if visiting your business or not. Do you agree?
Think about it for a moment. You, too, will have had a similar experience at some point. Don't you? If you don't like a restaurant's owner, you will not feel well and avoid that establishment.
In the last three decades, the world has changed many, and governments have changed year in, year out. And we all, as entrepreneurs, have always been exposed to this matter. People want to know from you what your opinion is. They want to hear that you agree with them.
The game is easy. Agree, but never take a real stand. An entrepreneur has to learn how to participate in a conversation without getting involved at a personal level.
We do business, no politics. We sell food, no votes. It's crucial to understand when you run a restaurant business, mostly if we talk about a small business where you, as the owner, are part of the staff, or anyway present to welcome your guests.
And you've got to ensure that your waiting staff gets it clear too.
With this in mind, we must consider that the risk of being provoked can be relatively high when we use social media like Facebook, for example. These platforms have given people a free and many times anonymous instrument to say out loud whatever they think. Whatever!
You will often disagree with someone, and the temptation to jump into the discussion is sometimes enormous.
But then, when you write your opinion, someone will think the same as you before and disagree with you.
Too often, this ends in an endless flue of comments, in one way and another.
You should make the best of all the new technologies offered, but only for your business. Don't get involved personally.
Use Facebook to set pictures of your dishes and drinks, use it for advertising, and make business communications like your opening times and announce special events.
Warning: Never, ever use your company account to share any information that is not strongly related to your business - never! For this, use your private account.
So, back to the political statement, right now, we are in good time. By the time I write this article, US elections are just around the corner.
But who will be the winner?
No matter how the result will be, it could affect your business, and you will have to make the best out of it. That is all.
A few weeks later...
(I paused the writing of this topic intentionally. I just jumped over to another article. I always work on a few at the same time)
While I was writing this article, the US 2020 elections were taking place, and now we know how it ended.
I don't know if you're happy with the result, and it is not the point of this article, but you will agree with me that the situation is not comfortable, given that we are already facing a challenging time.
It's easy to imagine how a conversation about politics with clients could easily slip and end up having a discussion that will take who knows where.
Will, the client, be interested in your opinion, or will he be intelligent and accept an idea different from his own?
But above all, was it worth it? Because if you have lost a client because of a discussion about politics or any other "hot" topic, I would say that it was NOT worth it.
You see, it all is about common sense, and we all must be conscious of our actions' consequences.
The lesson you should learn here is that you can go with whatever you think is best for your business. But always make the decision!
Maybe right now, you're just thinking about opening your own business, and you still don't see the need to think about these things.
But take note of what I'm saying because the world wide web doesn't forget, and you should think very carefully about what you publish on the various socials.
The offer to open a free account is so vast that it's easy to forget about all the sites where we subscribe. I sometimes get calls on my mobile, and when I ask where they got my number from, I am sometimes amazed.
Yes, because maybe I entered it years ago because I was interested in it then. And now, I am worried that it is public out there after years.
The years pass quickly, but the information on the net remains there, forgotten and ready to come back to the surface when you least expect it.
A comment written may be to respond to a post on Facebook or Youtube, or any other platform can raise hell, and really nobody knows for sure what they do with it and what they will do with it.
Have your say, but in moderation. It's not always easy but try it. I avoid reacting to social media publications, but sometimes you fall for it, and then at least before answering, let's take some time to reflect and say the things we think with the right tone.
This is especially true for professional accounts such as Tripadvisor & Co.
A customer's complaint must always be analyzed before answering. Check what is written and discuss it with your staff.
Always consider that the answer will potentially be read by other potential clients trying to understand what led to a negative review.
It is imperative to convey confidence and professionalism. Never offend a client! Even if a customer has used aggressive tones and misplaced arguments, you always respond in a way.
Apologizing for the incident is the first step. That immediately makes it clear to readers that you care about your business and your customers.
Then at a later stage, you should clarify that it was an isolated case and that you will take care that it does not happen again.
Suppose you are confident that it is an exaggeration or even an attack by a client due to other reasons unrelated to the product or service. In that case, you must defend your position and your staff. But always in a way and without counterattack.
All this is ultimately part of the same opening speech of this article. Whether it's politics or any other hot topic, many customers will not answer you there now, but instead, they will do it from home when they feel safe, thanks to the anonymity of the network and social networks.
The old school teaches us that the customer is always right. This rule is often misinterpreted.
Merely changing the meaning of the sentence would have a different and more appropriate reaction.
It is not a question of agreeing but rather condescending and merely respecting another person's opinion who is our client.
The fact that a glass of particular wine or a dish is not to our client's liking does not necessarily mean that it is terrible. The customer simply does not like it.
It is a question of taste and not of reasons.
And the same applies to any hot topic, such as politics. In the end, it is a personal opinion that must be respected and not questioned.
Good work, everyone.