Hi everyone. I need some advice on how to handle a client who always calls at the last minute. He was always last minute (that’s how he became a client….we were the only ones who could bail him out). However recently he has taken it to a whole new level….calling after we have closed in the evening for a breakfast in the morning. Usually we are able to accommodate him as his requests generally fall on days that we are not busy. Last week however we were busy but we still tried to accommodate him, but ended up being late for his event. How do I politely tell him that he needs go give us more notice without ruining our relationship?
Frustrating Last Minute Clients
Some customers are not ever going to make you money---this may be one of them.
You need to pay staff for overtime when this sort of thing happens.
You will need to make it clear that these short notice jobs come under the 'emergency' pricing
and must be billed at a high premium----Has he ever given you a big money job?
You should have explained that he was an important money customer right off the bat.
You have two choices---come up with menus for his last minute demands---ones that you can prepare quickly and properly---with prices that make them worth the aggravation---
Or thank him for the opportunity to serve him in the past and move on---
It is rare, but sometimes you need to fire a customer-----We have had to leave more than one behind---
One was a huge fortune 500 company----they were so demanding and also paid their bills in 60 days---
The last minute demands were always for small meetings with oddball menus (and china and personnel) ---They were treating us like lowly peasants who would do anything for a crust of bread and a warm cup of tea---
Sorry--but they were not a profit maker so out they went!---Mike---
We used to have some last minute calls---and sometimes I would ask for the type of guests--and the importance of the meeting---and simply promise to get them an appropriate menu --on time---My choice----
You must have customers that trust you for that---but a regular customer is not to hard to figure out---
I don't want to hijack the thread ,but I am going to tell you about a last minute order that got a little twisted--------
We handled the training classes and daily needs for some big companies---
1:00PM---AT&T called and asked for me---could I keep quiet? They might be going on strike the next day and needed Coffee and rolls in the morning and lunch for 200 workers.
I said, sure--let me know----
Quick call to the bakery to get them on stand by---Kitcchen manager said Chicken kieve would be easy and on hand----
4:30---Yep--strike is on--see you in the morning!
I made the coffee run---we had a very busy lunch run that day---three trucks headed in different directions---I had one of the best drivers scheduled to deliver the food and set up the buffets---
There were to be 3 shifts--about 70 to a seating----self service----all they needed to do was refresh the buffet from the hot boxes------
You see where this plan had a flaw----The first shift diners broke int the hot boxes and had seconds--and thirds-----
I got back to the shop from my lunch run to find the kitchen manager at the back dock with a scarry look on his face--( This was before cell phones)
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"They are running out of food!"
"So why are you standing here?"--
I barked out orders--"They don't care what they eat----You--load up two gas grills and a grill set up---you get cold salads panned up----you here's cash---buy buns and meet me in Oak Brook---
Load my up with Franks Brats And burgures---Call them tell the to delay the last shift.
-------That was some fast driving and some even faster grilling---I was surrounded with picketing office worked---most of whom I knew----Another of our trucks showed up with buns and a crew---the last shift was fed 15 minutes late---
I stayed at the grill and fed all of the picketers---------
Why not---I knew most of them and they were hungry----
My act of kindness did not go unnoticed-----I returned to the shop to find orders for two more offices for the next day---and a big thank you from the top boss at AT&T--thank you for feeding the strikers---When the strike is over, we must work together again--and what you did showed that there are no hard feelings for striking---
The strike lasted almost 3 weeks---grew to 800 guests a day--24 hours a day---all snacks and drinks,too.
We were burnt out----but the help got a nice bonus----we paid a lot of bills and still had enough left to play with----
All in all a nice last minute customer---Mike-----
My apology to the OP----
You've answered your own question. You politely explain that to do the best job for him, you'd appreciate more notice.
If this client doesn't argue about price and pays on time, suck it up and be thankful that you have the ability to handle his events.