Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lebanese Minimum Charge

(I'm back. My last post was back in May, I won't say I didn't have time, i did, but had no mood! hope you still remember me!)
Ever heard of a minimum charge rule elsewhere in the world?
If so, although I never did, we have some very unique standards here in Lebanon.
This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it usually has the same template whenever reserving in almost any restaurant/pub/lounge/night-club in Lebanon:

Them: Sir, each reservation that exceeds 15 persons has to be enrolled in a 35$ formula that includes shared cheese platters and salads (of course in tiny portions) or a 30$ minimum charge.
We require a down payment 48 hours before the reservation and an exact number of attendees a couple of hours before.
Me: What if I reserve twice for 14 persons using two different names?
Them: Hein?!

On a later stage, they informed us that they might reserve a couple of tables in our corner for other clients depending on the number of attendees.
The ridiculous thing is that this happened with a new local lounge in town, and when I went there for the first time, a week before my expected reservation, it was hardly 50% full.
It is not a very well-known fully booked place that can put any boundaries and still be over crowded (I can understand SKYBAR doing that) and it seems it will never be!

My point of view:
Shouldn't they encourage people to come and discover the place before putting some conditions?
Shouldn't they consider that this potential client might bring in 30 others, and that their feedback should be a good marketing tool?! (= more exposure = more clients = more money)
Even if you trained well your bartenders, and mixed some good cocktails, people won't know about it unless they come and enjoy their night. I can develop the best iPhone application ever, but without marketing, especially with a fresh portfolio, my app is worth nothing.

On the other side, Lebanon is suffering one of its worst summer seasons since ever! Protests, electricity cuts, internet issues, phone network issues, lawlessness, tourism failure, high cost of living, weapons, drugs… Instead of making things easier for themselves and for those who can still buy a drink, they double the restrictions!
This country is going down. Prove me wrong.