The Milwaukee Bucks haven't made it past the opening round of the NBA Playoffs since the 2000-2001 season, when the team got as far as the Conference Finals, losing in 7 games to the Philadelphia 76ers. The small-market NBA team isn't used to success on the court and local businesses in the surrounding arena aren't accustomed to national spotlight.
But on Sunday, after the Bucks won a home game to tie up its current series against the Boston Celtics 2-2, one local establishment had a great opportunity to make a strong name for itself. BelAir Cantina had the pleasure of catering to the "Greek Freak" Giannis Antetokounmpo, who apparently wanted some Mexican food after the big win.
Yet, things went wrong after he stepped into the establishment. Apparently he couldn't get a seat and so he left, causing all types of national media to cover the mishap. However, BelAir Cantina did some making up for the error thereafter and here are a couple of takeaways for all small businesses from what occurred.
1. Be prepared for big moments.
Basketball players are not difficult to spot. They are usually at least a foot taller than the average person. As such, employees and especially managers, who should be on the floor any night there is an expectation for an increase in patrons, should be able to point them out and take advantage of the situation.
Here, Bucks fans were certainly not going to complain if someone who helped their team win a pivotal playoff game would have been seated ahead of them. The player should have been spotted and seated immediately. The situation then could have possibly been exploited for further commercial gain to show that this is where a prominent player comes to eat after a win when he has the pick of any establishment of his choice, like this place did when Antetokounmpo went there after not finding a place to sit and eat.
2. If something goes wrong, push out a strong public apology with speed.
People love giving others, and even businesses, second chances. But there is an art to making an apology. It must be sincere and it can't be given to quickly after the error nor, mor importantly, too far after the mishap occurred.
BelAir Cantina seems to have done a good job with a public apology shared across its social media channels, which states,
"We are very sorry we weren't able to seat Giannis Antetokounmpo in as timely of a manner as we would have hoped. The Milwaukee Bucks big win, thanks to his tip in and the team's great play, combined with today's spring weather had people turn out in droves to celebrate and we had quite a wait. We were honored he came in for a celebratory meal, and wish we could have accommodated him right away. We welcome him back Thursday after another Bucks win and will hold open a table. And to turn this into a positive for everyone, we are pledging that if the Bucks win the series Thursday night in Milwaukee, we will provide all Bucks fans with a free taco with any purchase all day Friday at all our locations! #GoBucks #BucksIn6"
Usually, an apology coupled with a generous promotion can go a long way.