Not long ago, my wife and I visited a local pizza joint for a late dinner. The place was nearly empty when we arrived. It was also a mess; every table was piled high with the previous guests’ trash. Being a seat-yourself place, we found what we believed to be the least-trashed table and stood next to it, hoping to catch the eye of a server to clear the way for us to sit. Foolish us! Instead of acknowledging us and coming to our rescue, the staff busied themselves clearing off the other tables … where no guests were seated. My wife and I remained quiet to see how this would play out. Many minutes after arriving, a harried server finally came over to greet us and take a drink order — while the table remained piled high. At that point I politely asked to speak to the manager, who came over and explained about the big party that had just left, etc. She apologized for the delay in getting our table cleared and indicated she would “take very good care of us” (which I took to mean a free drink or discounted meal — not so, as it turned out).

We left there vowing that, with all the competitive options at our disposal, it would be a very long time before our shadows darkened this particular establishment again. Claims about the freshest ingredients, the widest selection, the best specials, the best taste, etc. will forever fall on my deaf ears simply because of a dropped ball on the simplest base-level details: a messy table and inattentive service.

Bringing this home from a branding standpoint, the table and service are among the critical brand touch points for this – or any – restaurant. And effective delivery of these will determine if the business is a success. Or, not.

Touch points will define your brand, and make or break your business. Do you have some cleaning up to do? At 34 North, we can help you clean up a bit.