Editors Blog

Bring Home the Bacon - and Bring Back the Customers

September 13, 2010

Last week, while headed north with some of my family, we stopped at Tony’s in Birch Run, Mich., a diner famous for its oversize portions.

My husband, father, and brother had all been there before. My sister and I were the newbies. (Yes, it’s the kind of place guys love to go to. I think they can fantasize while there that they are contestants on some type of “Man v. Food” contest.)

Since it was my first time, I felt I had to order the diner’s signature BLT. And when it arrived, it lived up to all the hype. There was a full pound of thick, salty bacon on the plate in front of me, and somewhere hidden underneath were the bread, lettuce, tomato, and mayo that made up the rest of the sandwich.

It was greasy, unhealthy, and way too much food for me. Yet I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. (And I really did bring home the bacon - I packed up enough leftovers to provide 10 people with bacon at breakfast the next morning at the cottage.)

So why blog about a diner that serves 1-pound BLTs and sells “Got Bacon?” t-shirts? I think there’s a good business lesson to be found at Tony’s.

It’s not a bad thing for a business to become known for one thing it does well, whether it’s serving huge portions or arriving promptly for every repair call.

But if you want to stake your claim on that one thing, you better not disappoint. If you ever slack off and fail in that one aspect, I can guarantee you won’t have happy customers. And they won’t come back to you.

But if you can consistently deliver on your one big claim, your customers will remember - and they may even forgive a few of your other flaws.

Because I was counting on Tony’s for one thing and one thing only - that full, one-pound stack of bacon - I forgave the diner for everything else while I was there. Even though the fries weren’t great, I didn’t mind. When you’re in bacon heaven, you don’t worry about the fries.

So I’ll happily head to Tony’s again (but hopefully not often enough to increase my risk of heart disease). Are your customers happily heading back to you?
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