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Online living in Dubrovnik is in need of a serious reboot

Written by  Dec 12, 2020

With living online the new norm you would have thought that local businesses would have been pulling out all the stops to make sure that their presence on the world of www would be stronger than ever. The pandemic has changed all our lives. And it has forced businesses to get creative and play within the new rules. It isn’t impossible, it’s just a new challenge.

As I have just celebrated my birthday, and actually going out to eat isn’t possible, we decided not to cook but to order take-away. It was my birthday after all. Not knowing what was open, and which restaurants were able to deliver I hit Google. Wow that was an eye-opener.

I really don’t want to name names, to point out restaurants in particular, and to be honest I don’t really have to as the vast majority are in the same online category of terrible.

The first choice, a Chinese restaurant, stated that they were open. But after countless attempts that was clearly not the case. The second pizzeria didn’t answer the phone either. The third had last updated their social media in June 2019. The fourth had photos of a menu that looked like someone had just thrown up on it. From six restaurants that I explored online every one of them had what could only be described as poor levels of attention to detail.

It struck me that either they didn’t know how to do better or they just didn’t care. Or maybe a combination of the two. Websites, well the ones that actually had websites, looked like they had been designed with a pirate copy Windows 95 from Neum and published when we were still using dial up internet. This massive lack of customer care was shocking. With their doors closed to the public you would have thought that they would have been working on their social media and their websites and apps all day and all night.

There are exceptions to the rule. To be honest it isn’t difficult to stand out from the rest of the crowd. And again I don’t want to name names, but they know who they are.

I needed to compare and contrast. With the UK also in lockdown I searched their answer to the online restaurant problem. Avoiding London and any big cities, I searched a pub in the middle of nowhere in the north of England. The first impression blew me away and immediately had me hungry and wanting to order. This was a small pub and it had a NASA level app that allowed you to add extras to your pizza topping, to order craft beer and to even decide when you wanted delivery. You could even pay with PayPal. The vast gulf between the online presence of a tiny pub and the local offer was, well vast! It was a million miles away from some restaurant answering the phone with “Eh, what do you want?”

This isn’t brain surgery. It doesn’t take Einstein to update Google or Facebook to say that the restaurant is closed. You don’t have to be Bill Gates to be able to refresh your social media. The one or two restaurants and indeed hotels, that are doing it right aren’t making a bomb but they are probably earning a living. Whilst many of the others are using Covid-19 as an excuse for their own mistakes. As my mother always said to me, “If you don’t know – ask.”

Yes, times are tough. Times are tough all over the world. But these eateries are making it even tougher with their neglect of the 21st century technology at the finger tips.

The overwhelming majority live from the tourist dollar. From guests who’ll eat there once and never again. This has bred a culture of ignorance to the local population and a level of customer service that, if I were generous, can only be described as lacking.

From the now infamous advertising gaffe, when a Lapad fast food offered “all you can eat” for 50 Kuna, which turned out to be not the case, but rather each meal was reduced to 50 Kuna. To 404 websites, to unanswered phone calls, Facebook fails and Instagram idiots.

We know that as the local population you don’t depend on us to pay the rent, and that you’d rather just close your doors in the winter anyway, but you don’t have to rub this fact into our faces with your lacklustre approach. As I said the exceptions to this rule are shining now, in this darkest time, like the north star in a bura night sky.

And to these golden few I salute you. I’ll leave the last word to Bill Gates “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” There are plenty of lessons to learn.

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