Are you getting the basics right?

Are you getting the basics right POST


This week I had to drive to a restaurant I’d never been to before. When I’m driving to unfamiliar places I use my car’s GPS system. So I looked up the address of the restaurant. Its website simply stated the street name but no street number.

I don’t know about your car’s GPS system, but mine insists on me typing in a street number before it will even allow me to progress to typing in the street name. In the past, when I haven’t known the street number, I’ve typed in a random number in the hope that I would spot my destination (if it’s a store, cafe, or place with signage) by driving up and down the street. Tip: this is not productive. Especially if you’re on something like Epping Road or Pacific Highway.

So I simply called the restaurant to ask for their street number. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi there, I was wondering if you could tell me your street address please.
Them: It’s [they told me the name of the street but no number]
Me: I need the street number.
Them: We don’t have street numbers on this street.
Me: (dumbfounded silence)
Me: Really?
Them: Yes
Me: Well I’m driving from quite a long way and my GPS system won’t work unless I have a street number.
Them: Oh yes, we get this problem all the time. Umm …..
Me: Perhaps you could give me the street number of a nearby building.
Them: Oh yes, that’s a good idea. The Crowne Plaza isn’t far away. I’ll look that up.
Them: The internet is really slow today … sorry.
Them: Sorry, the computer crashed. We really should have those details handy shouldn’t we?
Me: (internal dialogue) Ya THINK?

After 15 minutes on the phone, I had to say: “You know what? I actually need to start driving or I’m going to be late. How about I call you from the car?”

This restaurant failed on the basics. Are you getting your basics right? I’m talking about simple things like displaying your address, phone number or opening hours. Or answers to frequently asked questions.

When I got to the restaurant, the food was actually divine and the service was awesome but there were only two groups dining for the entire lunch period – and I was in one of them. If you don’t get the basics right (like making it easy for people to find you), then you may be scuttling the rest of your efforts.

Do you have your basics right?

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • Tanya_blogreader

    Very true. All the rest comes later.

    • valeriekhoo

      And if only more businesses would get that right!

  • Suzi

    Wow. Something to be said for staff training, there.

    • valeriekhoo

      Crazy isn’t it. A simple laminated cheat sheet by the phone would have done the trick.

  • Bronwen O’Brien

    I want to know what restaurant it was! :-)

    • valeriekhoo

      Hey Bronwen, feel free to email me and I’ll let you know!