A few days ago, I ranted about a segment of shoppers at Stew Leonard’s: the folks who — in addition to all the free samples — scarf down bagels, wings, ziti (and anything else) as if it too were “free.”
The story drew 30 comments. As expected, they ranged from “hey, everyone does it” to “those people are not only stealing from Stew’s, they’re stealing from me!” (higher prices, for you non-econ majors).
A few minutes ago, Stew Jr. (Himself) weighed in. But his comment is not what you might expect:
Scarfing at Stew’s — Dan, you make me laugh!
There are some “scarfers” at Stew’s, but that day we also had about 10,000 really happy people and families because of all the free samples and “tastings.” When we have our demos of free food (100 a week). we get people from local businesses coming in for lunch! What do we do? We can’t let this very small percentage (less than 1%) of our customers dictate our policy.
This morning I watched a mom come in the store with her crying baby. She grabbed a bagel. The baby “teethed” on it and stopped crying. She spent over $300 on food. What’s a bagel?
If you want to go “nuts,” stand by our loose pistachio display. I find shells all over the store! When we package the pistachios, sales drop in half.
Let them scarf. My brother and I will smile! Happy New Year — and let me treat you to some of my mom’s lasagna next time you’re in the store!
And a couple of lessons learned:
- Scarfing does not really hurt the bottom line.
- Stew Jr. owes me a lasagna dinner.