A Table In Advance (Issue 702)

In which we are reminded: Get to our clients BEFORE they finish their budgets and plans for next year.

Boston. Late September. Looking forward to a big Italian dinner with 11 friends on Saturday night in Boston’s North End. Everybody’s excited to go there. I started revving them up for this a month ago. It’s Thursday night before the Saturday.

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“Sorry, we’re full, hon. That’s a big party and we have a lot of large parties that night.”

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“We don’t take reservations on Saturday night, sorry.”

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“We don’t take reservations, but, if you come early and put your name in, I’m sure we’ll be able to seat you.”

OK, thanks, I’m glad it’ll be a warm evening.

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“No, sorry, we’re full.”

OK…. YES, I could have called for reservations a month ago when I proposed dinner in the North End. I didn’t. So, work with me! (Turns out pleading is not favorably viewed by these restaurants.) Maybe I could say, “Could you seat us?…. I will pay you any amount of money to seat us.”

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“No, sorry, we’re all booked up. I could seat you at 5:00 or 10:00. Could that work?” (Not exactly.)

“Hi, I’m Nick, I’d like to seat a party of 12 for dinner on Saturday night around 7:00.   Could you seat us?”

“ No…. well, …. how many people? …. I need to talk to my manager, she’s not here. Can you call tomorrow? I’m Annie. Call me tomorrow after 3:30.”

OK, that’s the day… before … our dinner … YES, Annie sounds darkly promising. I really really really really hope she can do it. I REALLY don’t want to email everybody and say, “Oh, sorry, I came up empty in the North End, change of plans, we’re going somewhere else….. like…. Mike’s Middle East in Medford.”

Like it’s a big surprise that the North End would be all booked up, plans and budgets set for Saturday night by a few days before a beautiful fall weekend. Who could have predicted THAT?

And, who could have predicted that our clients might have finished up their budgets and plans for next year by, say, November 1. That’s like Saturday night and we’re at Thursday.

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