Photo: Google Street View
Nick Sarillo, CEO of Nick’s Pizza & Pub, ran a pretty successful business, but a short period of hard times struck, and he was in a jam.He was about to come up thousands of dollars short of making payroll and paying his vendors, and there was a real possibility that he could lose his business. He tried to get the funds needed, but couldn’t, so he decided in desperation to turn to his loyal customers, reports Carol Roth at Chicago Business.
Sarillo sent out an email to the 16,000 members of his restaurant’s frequent-dining list. He explained his situation, detailing how he “overbuilt and overspent,” and pinned the blame on himself.
“The whole responsibility for our troubles is mine for making the bad decisions that got us into this mess,” he says in the email.
At the end, he makes his plea.
Excerpted from the email, entitled “Nick’s Pizza & Pub: An uncertain future“:
“I do have one last hope for me and the 200 team members of Nick’s. If within these next four weeks we could see a large increase in sales at either of our restaurants, we could still pull through. So my final request is for each of you to come dine at Nick’s Pizza & Pub and tell all your family, friends, co-workers and neighbours to come now, too. We want to continue on as a part of your community [sic] and aren’t ready to tell you goodbye yet.”
It was a bold, risky, desperate move.
But his brutal honesty worked. Tons of customers voiced their support and came to dine.
Sales doubled in the first week, and stayed up enough for Sarillo to make payroll. Plus, the amount of public support convinced the local banks to restructure the restaurant’s above-market mortgage. Sarillo’s customers successfully saved his business.
Sarillo’s episode is a lesson in honesty and transparency. He told his customers exactly what had happened, and how he had screwed up — no excuses, no bull. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
If one of your favourite small businesses was going through a rough patch, would you help out?
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