OK, I am in a business referral group. We meet weekly to discuss our businesses and pass and share leads to each other. It has been a very profitable group for us as well as many of the members in the group. We have anywhere from 25 to 35 people each week who show up. We don’t have any kind of meeting space so we are on a constant lookout for a space we can use that is free or costs very little. Being a lunchtime group (11:30 to 1) we usually find a place that has a big enough room for all our people and the place gets 20+ meals every week. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Well out last place got to be too small for us. The group grew to about 30 people and we were crammed into the room of the place we were using like sardines. So we began a search for a new home. We found one place that could work, but is farther away from the ‘area’ of our group than we would like. They have a huge room that we can use for free and the food was good and reasonably priced. But too many people had issues getting there so we kept looking.
Then we hit upon this last place. It was an Italian restaurant in the downtown area here. Location was great! They even have an upstairs room we could use that would easily hold the group as it is now plus allow room for growth. Parking sucked around this location, and the food was expensive ($20 for chicken parm + tip, for lunch?) and they won’t split checks unless you are paying cash, but it worked so we voted to make it our place 2 weeks ago.
This week, the manager comes up to us before the meeting and says that unless EVERYONE orders lunch, they would charge us $250 to use the room. Now mind you if you went downstairs, there might be a dozen people in this place for lunch. It is NOT busy. Nnot by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, out of maybe 25 people there were always 3 or 4 who only ordered drinks, but you still had 20+ people ordering over-priced pasta in an otherwise empty restaurant. Our group leader tried to negotiate, like a $5 per head charge for those that don’t eat or something but this guy was adamant that everyone eat of pay up.
So my question is what school of business say to throw away $300+ of food orders on a time and day that you are NOT busy, because you want more? Way to go, you moron. I hope you get fired for this because a complaint was sent to the ownership group. We found a new place that doesn’t charge for the room, is friendly, has good food and actually wants us there. Enjoy your silence.