Wednesday, May 20, 2009

getting punched in the gut by a former customer

The blogdowntown is a great source for LA to read about what is happening in our city, specifically downtown. Ed Fuentes wrote a really nice send off piece about siptea closing our doors. I just want to say that the economy & difficulties in opening my business in general made it hard to weather the storm here in a slightly more desolate section of downtown. Yet there are successful restaurants that have made it right around the corner, so I know that there might be other factors. Well I got two blogdowntown readers views & felt like they (really one in particular) punched me in the gut. I guess my response would be how the next writer responded, why didn't you say something? The one writer didn't like any of the seating, "uncomfortable", didn't like the food, didn't like the staff, I was listed as "ok", wanted us to carry the NY Times, wanted sofas & comfy chairs, too expensive, layout bad, signage bad, erratic hours, wanted more non-caffeinated options, wanted more events. I know that comments tend to the negative & that his bad review prompted another bad response, but really, what is the point of kicking someone when they are already down. I am not in business anymore & you could have said all that in a more positive way or if you felt so strongly & came in 15 to 20 times over the 7 months, couldn't you have said at least one thing? I know that no one suggesting getting the newspaper, it was suggested to be open on Sunday so we were, sometimes making as little as $50, we never closed early. We had a small selection of teas, that did increase over time & we tried to get things people asked for, I don't remember being asked for more decaf options. I know I could improve the staff's customer service & that will be something I learn from this, but as a business owner here is my advice to my customers, if you want something different ask for it, there is no way to serve the customer if we don't know what you want. I will do more surveys & have a suggestion box at the next location & would love to have your comments here so I can learn from them. You can email me too with complaints or suggestions on our 1st location & would love to hear how to improve what some people loved & others obviously thought was severely lacking in many ways.


traci said...

I loved the signage and menu design, as well as the menu options. I thought the prices were good, and always experienced good service.

I seemed to always crave you on Mondays, the only day you weren't open! But, that's not your fault.

I also thought the atmosphere was comfortable, and loved the tea service/set-up and the eco-friendliness of your build out.

It was a huge surprise that you closed so suddenly. Everyone in my office enjoyed having you in the neighborhood.

Sorry for the bad feedback you received... good luck with future endeavors.

siptea said...

Thanks sorry to leave you in the lurch. It was sudden, met with my accountant on Monday & closed the end of that week. Someone was interested in taking over the lease, I wasn't making money, part-time staff was going home for the summer & just seemed like a no brainer. I will miss our regular customers, you were great & appreciative & hope you follow us online & to a new location that I will tell you about as soon as we sign a lease.