How to apologise to regular customers for unexpected closure?

(5 Posts)
TeaRoomTales Wed 13-Feb-13 18:47:19

I took over a small tea room at the beginning of the year - it was all going well, I've developed a rapport with the regular customers and I am training a casual staff member to cover in my absence - until a week ago when I was struck down with flu! I'm furious with myself because business resilience was one of my priority areas and I knew I needed to sort it ASAP; I've not been ill for years and I'll have cover in another few weeks - typical!

I'm reopening on Friday after being closed for 5 business days (there has been a notice in the window apologising for the closure) and I would appreciate opinions on how best to deal with the response from customers - some are quite opinionated and have already made it clear how they would do things, and there are others who rely on the tea room for social contact or make a special journey to visit.

I was thinking of offering a free tea/coffee to those regulars who mention that they'd been disappointed to find me closed, and most people will be lovely about it - but how should I deal with the criticism and comments I'm likely to receive, especially in front of other customers who may not know I'd been closed?

DolomitesDonkey Thu 14-Feb-13 07:14:14

Personally I think you're thinking a touch too much about it. "Here Doris, I know you've missed me here's a free cuppa!" Is sufficient.

Make light of it, crack a joke about not wanting to give your favourite and valued customers the lurgy, invite them to moan about their illnesses.

The show must go on and you don't need to apologise to anyone for being ill! smile

AlwaysOneMissing Fri 15-Feb-13 11:53:05

Surely those customers would be more than happy with a free cuppa, you couldn't help being poorly! You don't actually owe them anything. It will be a nice gesture, and if they are not happy with that, well, tough luck!

TheFallenNinja Fri 10-May-13 16:56:28

You put a notice up apologising, that really should be sufficient, you might want to bung any wingers a brew or a back hander. smile

starfishmummy Fri 10-May-13 17:18:58

I think a free cuppa is a nice gesture. However I am sure there will still be some who whinge!!

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