A friend and I went to one of our favorite restaurants last week, and at one point during the meal, I believe we were the only customers there.  This is quite the change from their initial opening, when for the first month or so there were long lines and waits for any table.  I know several people who went once and never went back because it took too long to get in.  Every time we go, I wonder if they will still be there.

Now a bakery just opened in town, accompanied by the new-place hype that adorned the restaurant above.  The bakery was eagerly anticipated, and apparently they ran out of product and closed early during some of their first days.  I have not yet been there, because I am hesitant to drive across town in case they won’t be open or well-stocked.

I fear that this is the start of a vicious cycle for them, one that befalls many new ventures.  The grand opening brings lots of publicity, word of mouth, and a paid advertising push — and, as a result, a rush of customers.  But when the initial demand exceeds the capacity or supply, it creates an irrevocable black mark on the establishment and drives away clientele.  

If you are starting something new, be it a restaurant, bakery or more modest project in your organization, take care to modulate the initial hype.  ‘Tis better to build your reputation with gradual consistency like a candle than to be like a flare with intense brightness that flames out quickly.

— beth triplett

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