Are you exceeding their expectations?
The benefits of being a heretic

"If you don't your like dinner, I will pay for it."

Two weeks ago, my lady and I were looking for a quaint dinner spot in Athens.


A man on the street attempted to woo us into his family restaurant. He went through the usual litany of ... great menu items, reasonable prices, and a complimentary glass of wine. Then there was the final part of his offer, "if you don't like your dinner, I will pay for it." The previous statement was presented with cool and sincere confidence. Truth be told, it was hard to resist. After an approving look from my lady, I responded with "ok, we're in!"

Our dinner checked all the boxes, great food, attentive service, and a very reasonable price. Then my marketing curiosity kicked in. As we were leaving the restaurant, I felt compelled to ask the owner, "has anyone requested you pay for their dinner?" At first, he wasn't sure why I asked the question. He might have been concerned that I wanted him to pay for our dinner. That was not the case, and after a little clarification, he let the fascinating details fly!

According to the restaurant owner, almost 200 people come through his restaurant daily. And not everyone is offered the, "if you don't like your dinner, I will pay for it" guarantee. The owners astute reasoning, "if they're a local they probably cook at home and it's hard to compete with that." So, the satisfaction guarantee offer is only offered to "foreigners." It's called justifiable marketing discrimination. And this business owner was very in-tune with the target market.

Finally, the critical question, "How many people have asked for you to pay for their dinner?" His response, "every couple of months (at around 200 people a day) may be one person would complain."

From what I observed, his customer numbers reconciled. When we had dinner, the restaurant was packed and had 60-70 chairs. It was in a busy tourist section of Athens. Thus a daily 2x-3x seat turnover seems very plausible.

Which leads me to the million-dollar question ...

Would you guarantee a customer's satisfaction at your event? Most event organizers would never consider such an offer. Their response, "we're afraid everyone would ask for their money back." To which I respond with, "then is your event really that great?" Because if your event is as good as you say it is, a carefully thought-out guarantee should be a no-brainer.

Ironically, the most successful event organizers I know, offer an iron-clad guarantee to their attendees. "If you aren't happy with your experience at our event, we'll give you your money back!" Their ticket refunds are minuscule and profits massive.

Are you willing to do the same? Food for thought!

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