Friday, May 11, 2018

Getting Your House in Order

Recently I went to a local restaurant with friends for a “quick” post-event meal – emphasis on “quick,” which turned out to be anything but. A glass of house wine arrived a mere 15 minutes after ordering and the specialty flatbread took almost an hour.

Our server could not be found on the side of a milk carton and as far as water was concerned, you could have gotten a refill faster stranded in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Now to preface this fiasco, the place had recently received a lot of local press, primarily because the owners had opened several other locations throughout the Tri-State area. As one who covered the restaurant industry for 12 years and worked within its confines for another six, I tend to judge my dining experiences with a fairly critical eye but also with a bit of sympathy for those in one of the most demanding businesses there is.

But there are limits to even what I will tolerate.

The manager came over and apologized profusely and even comped the check. A good start but it doesn’t even begin to get to the root of the problem.

You better believe my scathing online review would make exactly no one dash madly to get there.

As I recall one of the adjectives I used repeatedly was “abysmal.”

The experience drew an eerie parallel to a client of ours in New England who was seeking a smaller firm to merge in. But like the restaurant, here was the problem. He did exactly no due diligence on a merger he completed the year before and was now in the midst of cleaning up a number of issues including sanctions against the previous owners by the state board.

Even a cursory background check would have revealed this but he was so anxious to grow his firm he bypassed that critical step and was now paying the proverbial price.

In addition, two of the partners in the merged firm were set to retire within two years and he had neither the capacity nor the talent on the bench to assume their workload. So he was scrambling to get out his clients’ workload and filing extensions when he could.

So I told him what someone should have shared with the owners of the above-mentioned restaurant. Get your own house in order before even thinking about expansion.

Restaurant patrons like accounting clients may overlook certain things, but trust me – bad service is not high on that list.

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