Businesses will always have us and downs. Some of them are based on decisions made by the business owner and others are due to circumstances that are out of our control. Rolling with the punches and maintaining your professionalism are key in making those relationships last. In the case of Fish Gallery, a relationship developed starting in 2002 with a single location and franchisee in the Houston area. With corporate approval and implementation Cheddar’s began placing fish tanks in all their restaurants. For Cheddar’s, the tanks worked well with guests having to deal with wait times at their new and popular restaurants, and generally added to the ambience and customer experience.
Cheddar’s was then bought by a VC firm out of New York. The VC firm immediately stopped placing fish tanks in all their new locations in order to maximize profits. The tanks were seen as an unnecessary operating expense rather than what they provide from a customer experience standpoint. For Fish Gallery, who enjoys growing partnerships with their customers, this was not exactly the news they were looking for. From a business standpoint we continued to service the tanks that were initially installed but the relationship definitely was suffering. Maintaining relationships at these difficult times are critical in that they define whether you are willing to see things from another point of view that may differ from your own. With business all things are cyclical and the wind will eventually start blowing in another direction.
Cheddar’s was eventually packaged and sold to the Darden Family of Restaurants. They own well known brands such as Olive Garden,Eddie V’s, Capital Grille and others. With the sale of the restaurant came the idea of once again placing fish tanks in all new Cheddar’s locations. With the decisions back in the hands of an experienced restaurant group came the need to find a way to differentiate themselves from other brands while providing a great customer experience. This is something we take to heart and think about everyday at Fish Gallery. With Cheddar’s new yet old fish tank initiative back in gear came a trip to Abilene, TX to install a tank for Cheddar’s for the first time in 3 years. We are thankful to Cheddar’s and the Darden family of restaurants for seeing the value add of a fish tanks in the commercial space. After all, we all want to find value when spending our cheddar.