We’re out of that, and that, and that too

I was at a restaurant the other day and had an interesting experience. I ordered three different menu items at different times. Each time the waiter went away and then came back 5-10 minutes later to apologize.

“I’m sorry we don’t have that item available.”

It is COVID times and I get it. There are various reasons one might not be able to order certain items at a restaurant.

Wait staff are frontline salespeople. It’s their job to understand a client’s needs and serve them appropriately. This means knowing what is not currently available on the menu.

And this is true across every industry. Salespeople need to understand the needs of their customers and then decide if they (or their firm) can deliver towards those needs.

Saying “we can’t help you” or “we don’t have that” early is way better than trying to explain it later.