“Power Hour” and the $10,000 Mistake
This post first appeared February 24, 2014
If you haven’t turned 21 lately, or like me, had a child turn 21 lately, you might not know what a “Power Hour” is. In Arizona, last call is 1:00 a.m. on weekdays (2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, more on that later). It seems there is a recent tradition that many young adults have a celebration of becoming old enough to (legally) drink by inviting all their friends (at least the ones over 21) to join them at a bar starting at midnight on the day they are actually turning 21 and drinking the hour until last call. As you can imagine these invitations go out through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.
My youngest daughter Victoria was no exception, earlier this month when she hit the big two one. In fact, she convinced us to allow a “few of her friends” to come over to our house around 8:30 p.m. to “pre-game” for her “Power Hour.” A few friends quickly turned into 18 and the party was on.
As her father, I was recruited to be one of the designated drivers. Everyone was having a great time and many were already feeling no pain by the time we loaded up the gang and headed out to the bar my daughter had chosen, McFadden’s at the Westgate Center in Glendale, AZ
When we arrived at McFadden’s the party had actually grown to over 25. As everyone gathered around Victoria went boldly up to the bouncer and presented her I.D. showing very clearly, that as of one minute ago, she was indeed now legal to drink. The bouncer very rudely informed her that she still wasn’t allowed into McFadden’s, as they don’t recognize someone as being 21 until the following day. The crowd quickly got ugly. (Did I mention alcohol had been flowing?) I tried to intervene and asked to speak to the manager. From the way he walked over to talk to me, I knew instantly that this conversation wasn’t going to accomplish much. It quickly became apparent that he hadn’t read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” In fact, I’m not sure he had read too many books period. I very politely asked him what day it was. He affirmed to me that it was indeed the day I thought it was. I then asked him what day someone born on that day, say…….. 21 years ago might become legal to drink. He agreed, it was that very day. So no problem, right? Wrong! He said that it was still the previous day as far as their business day was concerned and that until he closed out that business day he and McFadden’s wouldn’t consider my daughter to be legal. Seriously dude, I have 25+ people that are ready to come in and spend a ton of money and you are going to turn your nose up. You may have noticed I have given you the name of the bar (McFadden’s at the Westgate Center in Glendale, AZ) several times. I’m doing that so that the name burns into your mind. I hope you remember this post the next time you are in the area and are ready to pick a place. There are some great bars and restaurants in the area. McFadden’s isn’t one of them.
Someone suggested we walk the 50 feet or so to Saddle Ranch. Saddle Ranch is a country bar. You can tell it’s a country bar by the hay bales outside and the mechanical bull inside. Once again, my daughter boldly approached the bouncer with her ID at the ready. She loudly announced it was her birthday and handed over her driver’s license. He swiped it through his handheld ID verification machine and held it up so that everyone could see that it read “Age 21” in big read letters. A cheer rang out from the assembled crowd and we started to walk in. It took a few minutes for the bouncer to check everyone else’s I.D. (except mine….sigh). While we were waiting, a different bouncer, who had seen the cheer ring out stopped the manager of Saddle Ranch and let him know it was Victoria’a 21st birthday. He came over to us, congratulated her, asked her how many were in the party, and then offered to buy the first round for the entire crew! What a difference!!! I know how much that cost (approximately $200), because I bought the second round. Well earlier I mentioned that last call on Friday and Saturday was actually 2:00 a.m. Since Victoria’s birthday fell on a Saturday, her “Power Hour” turned into two hours. Very conservatively we spent $600 (25+ people X $8/drink X 4 drinks = $800). Saddle Ranch wanted it, McFadden’s didn’t.
So how is this a $10,000 mistake? Let’s say that none of the 25 people that partied with us that night ever return to McFadden’s (I know I won’t). And that the average bar tab is just $50. Let’s also say they might have gone there a total of 4 additional times in their lifetime, that are now not happening. So here is the math: 25 people X $50 X 4 lost visits = $5,000 in lost revenue. But it doesn’t stop there. What if each one of them convinced just one other person not to ever go to McFadden’s again? We just doubled the $5,000 in lost revenue to $10,000.
But actually it get’s worse. Much worse. Here is what I have observed over the last several years. People that are around 21 post EVERYTHING on social media. They aren’t just telling a friend or two about their bad experiences. They are telling EVERYBODY in their social network. Just that night I saw no less than 10 Facebook posts about how McFadden’s had been rude to us and how awesome Saddle Ranch was. I’m sure there were more than 10 but I’m not connected on Facebook to all of my daughter friends. I know that it was also tweeted and countless pictures were posted on Instagram with #McFadden’s Sucks, #PartyAtSaddleRanch. Honestly this night turned into a much bigger mistake than just $10,000 for McFadden’s. If you think that each person that attended reached 100 people that night via social media, and that it affected the behavior of just 10%, then McFadden’s lost more like $50,000 by being rude. Conversely Saddle Ranch paid less than $200 (in free drinks) to get some of the absolute best marketing it could possibly hope for; the spontaneous endorsement of raving fans.
Recap: You can’t afford to have your clients upset with you. They won’t tell just a few people. There is a good chance that they can reach thousands with their message. I currently am connected to 1785 people on LinkedIn, 480 on Facebook and have 2,101 people that follow me on Twitter. How many of them would you want to hear about how great you are? What if the news wasn’t so good?
Question: What do you want your clients to say about you on social media?