Hot off the presses: Olive Garden fixed a huge mistake and now sales are booming. To quote the article in Business Insider by Hayley Peterson, “Olive Garden is making its restaurants a more convenient place to eat, and sales are booming. The pasta chain just posted its best quarterly sales performance in years, with same store sales rising 6.8%. This marks Olive Garden’s sixth consecutive quarter of same store sales gains after years of declines.”
- Overall experience inside an Olive Garden is significantly better than it was 12-24 months ago
- They simplified their menu
- Closing checks seven minutes faster than in the past
- Invested heavily in marketing for its take-out menu resulting in a 40% increase
- Expanding to add large party catering delivery
- They look at convenience as a huge opportunity
Hopefully you see the connection. After years of downturns and poor sales followed by another year of lower sales, they turned it around. Like Dentistry, the Olive Garden is a consumer driven business where the public votes with their feet and in this case, for years, the consumers had voted them off the island. Sounds like a lot of lackluster dental practices I know of.
The good news is that it is not too late. The Olive Garden, just like every dental practice should, embraced changed and began to spend the time and money to market and create convenience for their customers. I would have to say that we should also take this to heart. Most practices have been majoring in doing just the opposite. These practices fail to recognize what their patients want. It’s the “threshold effect”, where dentists continue to create barriers that potential clients have to crawl over to get into and stay in our practices. It’s no wonder we are struggling in Dentistry when our patients are crying for consumer hours, acceptance of their insurance, an office for the whole family, and a way to fit the cost of dentistry into their budget. Dentists that continue to try and sell 8-5 Monday through Thursday hours, out-of-network (or no) insurance utilization, don’t bring your kids in, and only pseudo-specialty services are now waking up to find that few if any consumers/patients will tolerate an attitude of condescension leading to a lack of understanding of their needs.
Become convenient and tell everyone about it. That’s how you Summit.
Mike Abernathy, DDS