People who care a lot about personal finance have a love-hate relationship with eating out. When you have the conversation about savings and frugality, restaurants invariably are brought up. “Don’t have as much money as you want?”, “yeah…”, “Well how much do you eat out?”, “I dunno, like two…three times a week…”, “Well THERE’S your problem!” Sound familiar? It’s true, eating out costs a lot more than making the same meal from scratch at home. You could probably make some financial changes if you were to improve your cooking. But we’re not talking about that today.
We’re talking about the times when you decide to eat out, even though you eat out as little as possible….and you have a bad experience. This is an infuriating occurrence in the life of the thrifty person. You may have used up your entire month’s eating-out budget in one go. And you had a bad time! It’s enough to make a person twitch, then write a scathing Yelp review when we get home. But it’s important to remember than unpleasant experiences like this are also learning opportunities. What can we learn from the bad food, unpleasant atmosphere, and wasted hours you just spent?
First of all, it’s important to remember that it’s hard to stay sharp. Most people who are focused on personal finance will have a business of their own someday, if not currently. It’s important to think about what makes a business good or bad, and there’s no better time to ponder these things than when you’ve just had a bad experience at a restaurant. Rather than just getting angry, think about the individual elements that made your experience rocky. Think about how you could turn these things around to improve your own work or business.
Sometimes it’s in the tiny details. Foodies learn to spot a good restaurant from the moment they walk in, starting by the POS that’s behind the counter. Modern iPad POS systems are ubiquitous in new restaurants. These are simple systems that rely on the intuitive design of Apple’s famous product, and the ease of incorporating restaurant apps into them. This makes things easy for customers and staff alike.
Another thing to think about is a place that’s past its prime. Maybe years or months ago it was in the zone. But today it’s not working as well. It’s easy for restaurants to slip in quality, but the same is true for any business. Whether you’re a graphic designer or a rock climber, it’s imperative to stay on the cutting edge of your craft so that you can keep making money, as well as stay interested in the thing you’re doing. The lessons you can learn from a bad restaurant experience are many. It’s important to make sure you’re learning these lessons, and not just letting your frustration simper in your belly. Use the lessons you learn about slipping businesses to make your own work stronger and more effective. It’ll be better for you in the long term.