Trakin’s first guest post comes from Sourav Ghosal, one of the writers at Simplifying Management.

Following post talks about the simple, yet extremely effective ways adopted by uneducated road side dhaba owners to attract and retain customers for their business. The manager in this case is a 16 year old boy. Read on..

How many times have we ever watched carefully how the vendor on the street sells his goods or the little road side dhaba sells its eatables, mouth watering and hot. Well there is something to notice. I would like to share my experience.

Last time I went to Kolkata (capital of West Bengal in India), one of my friends told me if you ever go to Saltlake, visit the road side dhaba called “ASUNDADA�. Saltlake is supposed to be the IT and ITES capital of the state. His suggestion took me by surprise. Here was a person not telling me to visit the mammoth TCS building or the huge IBM dome, but a small roadside dhaba. I got curious and decided to visit the place.

Indian street manager

What I saw was like this: Its location was just perfect, at the crossroads of the 4 IT major offices and could be seen from any window of any building (remember any P of the 7Ps!).

People of Kolkata love rice and hot fish curry and that’s exactly what he offered (catering to the tastes of the local public). But what was more important was the person cooked the fish in front of everybody in a chuli. The steam and the smoke which came out was really mouth watering which was a main cause of attraction, and it even attracted me to have lunch there. I felt it was a highly innovative way of attracting customers.

The person serving the fish brought the fish in a tray and gave each customer an individual choice to pick the fish he wanted to it and this really pleased the customer, for here they were served hot and on time, something they loved the most. But it doesn’t end there, he comes back with another tray and asks if anybody needs more, and if anybody says no, the little boy in his unique charming way says,� Sorry Sir, you are my guest . Cannot leave you with just eating one.� And you cannot ignore the little boy or his smile.

On first thought I thought it was really silly, but around 35 people eating took a second fish including me! What an innovative way of up selling.

Last but not the least, the little boy doesn’t keeps a track of who is eating what. The customer comes to the table where he has to pay and himself says what he has eaten and on basis of that the bill is made and he pays. The whole relationship is of trust and makes the customer happy and satisfied due to the trust shown on him. He feels like he is in home. Lastly while going out you meet the little boy again with his charming smile saying “ Sir, do come again.�

An amazing thing to be seen is all the strategies which were being used at the dhaba for attracting customers are being taught in Business School. But here are two smart 16 years old smart street kids who are running the dhaba. Isn’t it just amazing! And forget about B schools, they never had education. But they implemented one thing, which every one of us have, but most of us never apply: COMMON SENSE.

Lastly every body knew about the dhaba through the word of mouth publicity (unless how did I get to know).

Lets talk a bit in management terms:

P: Product: The hot fish and rice curry.

P: Place: Awesome location at the cross roads.

P: Price: IT engineers and security guards all come to eat!

P: Promotion: Word of mouth

P: Process: As simple as it takes a bit common sense

P: People: Remember the charming little boy

P: Physical Evidence: Cannot ignore the mouth watering fish cooked in front of you.

I said to the little boy �You are a genius!� He gave me a curious glare and said �Sir, is the food bad?� I gave him a smile in return and said “ I will come again….�.

Hats off to the thousands of street managers in our country.
24th September 2007 From India, Ahmadabad

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