Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hey Bud!

Anyone who has visited any of my restaurants may have noticed I don't sell Budweiser. I haven't for many years. I also don't sell any beer brands that the local Bud distributor sells. In my opinion that's the biggest downfall for not dealing with that supplier. They sell Guinness and Sprecher among other worthy beers. Those I'd like to have on my lists.

The original reason for not selling Bud was simply that I didn't like it. I also grew up in the shadow of Miller Brewery and feel an allegiance to that beer. As a young man if I was short on cash my friends and I knew we could always take brewery tours to satisfy our taste for the hops. We also could go over to the brewery and buy "shorts", bottles that were incorrectly filled and sold dirt cheap. Many of my friends dads worked there as well. You simply didn't drink beer that wasn't brewed in Milwaukee. (To this day I rarely do)

When we opened #1 I was convinced by the locals that I HAD to sell Bud. It was a big Bud town. So against my better judgement we opened selling the evil brew. The decision to stop selling it was made easy by the arrogance and ineptitude of the local distributor. Their service and attitude were terrible. It gave me a good excuse to dump it. So for years I didn't sell it, much to the chagrin of the local bumpkins who drank it. Unfortunately, one of my favorite beers, Sprecher, (A Milwaukee micro brew)recently switched to the Bud distributor. I stopped selling Sprecher. To their credit the Sprecher guys got wind of it and starting shipping direct. It must have been a pain in the ass for them because the next thing you know a Bud salesman shows up at my door. (They've always known better not to waste their time) I explained the lousy service and attitude and how I'd really like to sell Sprecher. He promised better service and mentioned I wouldn't have to sell Bud to sell Sprecher. I'm sure he looked at it as a foot in the door. I agreed and began selling Sprecher once again.

I think it was the second time we placed an order that the distributor screwed up. They also didn't fix it and gave me the impression they couldn't care less. Bye bye Sprecher. They will not be given a third chance.

I guess when you are the biggest brewery in the world you don't have to try so hard. Customer service is simply two words in the manual. In my book, it's the first two.

You would think that Bud would want a presance in the best restaurants in a community of a quarter million people? Also the restaurants that host executives from the biggest employers in the area and from all over the world. We may not sell a ton of beer but you'd think it would be embarassing for the Bud people not to be sold in the highest profile restaurants in the area. They couldn't care less.

So Budweiser? Kiss my ass.


Anonymous said...

Some random thoughts from an interested reader.

Salty, man I used to be you, almost exactly. And the business was my life until I prioritized and realized that there was no way that I could be responsible for the day to day of multiple locations and continue to grow my business in any real way.

I also felt the exact same way about BUD, however you operate these restaurants for your guests, not yourself. Just because you feel it's the right thing to do because of the way you grew up does not mean it's good for your guests or your business.

Soon, you and your wife will break free of the chains that bind you and realize a freedom that you have only dreamed of. Plenty of free time to focus on what you know will grow your business and your life.

Keep up the high quality work and you will prosper, but remember it's not all about YOU, it's all about who YOU serve.

PS. Love what you did with the visiting execs.

Scott said...

That is not the first time I've been told that. One of my biggest faults is my pig headedness. (Is that a word?)

Anonymous said...

I have some new respect for the fact that you responded, I was worried that you would take my comment wrong.