On paper, Rock Bottom is a game day delight: a brewery, great beers, a revamped menu, awesome servers, and lots of TVs scattered around the bar. And yet customers are walking out the door.

I went to Rock Bottom on Saturday with a friend to have a beer and watch the RaysRangers game. When we arrived around 5 p.m., there were maybe a dozen people scattered throughout the bar area watching assorted college football games–and at least two TVs with no one around. We asked the hostess if we could watch the baseball game on one of the (no one around) TVs. Here’s what happened next:

  1. She and her co-hostess looked exasperated.
  2. They said they’d have to ask the manager–and he was in a meeting.
  3. We pointed to a TV and asked whether someone could just switch that over for us.
  4. She suggested we might try the upstairs bar (which isn’t really a bar, where no one was, and which isn’t optimized for sports viewing), presumably in hopes that we’d go away.
  5. We said no, we’d wait for the manager.
  6. We almost walked out.
  7. Someone found a manager who put the game on for us.

We thought maybe it was a girl thing. Clearly, our treatment was magnified by that, since a manager later walked up to the TV we were watching and started playing with the channels. He ignored my “excuse me” until I walked up to him, and then he said, “Calm down. I’m just trying to see what else is on.” (I didn’t think he would have done it to a group of guys.)

Later that night three guys came in, assessed that we were watching the baseball game, and asked the hostess if she could switch the other set in that corner of the bar to the South Carolina game. She gave them the same story about having to ask the manager. They waited a few minutes and then got up and left. We sympathized.

It seems to me this issue could be solved with common sense. Are you empowering your employees or letting customers walk out the door?

Photo by Bernt Rostad (Flickr).