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I’ve been constantly stressing the value of collecting a database in my seminars and blogs. I’ve got to tell you about an example of a seemingly professionally run business not recognizing the value of collecting a database.

This story relates to a personal experience that our family had.

It was Saturday evening and my wife and I took our 3 teenage sons to a local hamburger place called Urban Burger.

It’s only 10 minutes down the road from where we live, so it’s pretty convenient.

The Urban Burger chain has developed from an original gourmet burger bar in Melbourne, Australia.

It quickly became well renowned for offering burgers that are made from carefully selected meat with a low fat content, no preservatives and low GI buns.

In other words, everything’s pretty fresh, including the cool, urban environment inside the restaurant, with the mandatory plasma screens pumping out funky music!

It’s a growing franchise chain.


Anyway, back to my story.

The 5 of us arrived at our local Urban Burger restaurant at about 7.30pm and ordered 5 burgers from the illuminated menu board, together with 5 drinks.

About 10 minutes later, 4 burgers arrived at the table, with “Mr. Unlucky” (that’s me!) being forgotten!

The staff member realised that she had not entered the fifth hamburger into the ordering system and was totally embarrassed and apologetic.

Despite the fact that I was so hungry I could eat the leg off a chair, I didn’t show my inner-frustration and accepted the young lady’s apology and said “that’s fine, I’ll just wait.”

Of course, the rest of the family took great delight in munching down their tasty burgers and fries in front of me, whilst my attention was diverted to a number of rap songs on the giant plasma screens!

To their credit, the Urban Burger people had my hamburger in front of me within about 10 minutes and they told me “it was on the house” and even provided me with an extra drink for free!

So what’s my reaction to this?

Very positive and indeed, I thanked the restaurant manager for his hospitality in providing the hamburger and additional drink at no charge.

He had “made good” and therefore had a satisfied customer leaving the restaurant.

I just couldn’t help myself. I commented to the restaurant manager (who explained that he was actually the franchise owner!) that whilst he had certainly made up for the mistake, he was missing out on a golden opportunity by not requesting my contact details including my email address!

Believe it or not, his reply to this was “Gee, why is that so?”

Mind you, at this point, my 3 teenage boys were rolling their eyes and wishing that their father was a butcher or baker, indeed anything other than a “know-all marketing consultant who thinks he needs to fix everyone’s business!”

Nonetheless, the owner of this franchise was such a nice guy I just felt compelled to explain the meaning of life to him – okay, well at least the meaning of database life anyway!

I explained that despite the fact that I was leaving as a satisfied customer, he could have asked me for my contact details and explained “this was because he wanted to send me some more special offers over the weeks and months to come”.

To which I would have certainly responded by giving him my email address and other contact details.

You see, every business that fails to collect the name, mobile number and email address of each of its customers is leaving money on the table!

No matter what business you are in, make sure you never let a customer escape without gaining their name, mobile number and email address.

In the Urban Burger case, I suspect he has hundreds, if not thousands, of customers coming through his restaurant every week – and he has no idea how to contact any one of them!

In the instance of my personal experience, this franchise owner could have further won me for life by sending a personal email of apology and providing me with some sort of incentive to bring the family back within the next couple of weeks.

And wow, Urban Burger has a great story to tell – but by not collecting a database, they are limiting the number of people they can promote this story to.

Just visit their website at and you’ll see that they have lots of great things to boast about, not the least of which is the “fresh and healthy ingredients” in the menu items!

Oh, incidentally, after my free advice to the owner, guess what happened?


He thanked me for my tips and bid us a good evening!!

After all that, he never asked us for any contact details!


Of course, once we hit the car and headed home, my kids were relieved that their “database-manic father” was now a good distance from any small business owner – oh, until we stopped for fuel on the way home and the petrol station attendant didn’t ask for my name, mobile number and email address!