Why All Great Businesses Should Tell Great Lies

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One of my favorite restaurants in the world is The Cheesecake Factory…and I love it because they lie to me every single time I go there. Not just one lie, but a series of well crafted lies.

It all started with my first visit there…I was on a date and when we arrived, they told us it would take 30-35 minutes for us to get seated…but it was all a lie, because in less than 20 minutes my number had been called up!

They then passed us their menu…and then proceeded to tell us their biggest lie ever. Their menu was called the dinner menu, but what we ordered was not dinner. It was more than dinner…it consisted of an overdose of free bread and water appetizers followed by a huge bowl of our so called dinner order. Except that this dinner consisted of 3 meals in 1, you had the main dinner, then breakfast from the dinner leftovers and then a lunch meal from the breakfast leftovers!

It was all a lie, because they made us believe that the food we were ordering was for dinner alone…when in fact it could last us an entire day! In fact their menu name should be changed from “dinner menu” to “dinner plus lots of leftovers menu.”

After struggling through the meal and the packaging of our leftovers, our kind waiter had the audacity to ask us if we wanted to see the dessert menu. After the whole dinner menu experience we kindly opted against this. Which brings me to the last and final lie…The Cheesecake Factory claims they have the greatest Cheesecakes desserts in the world. But they fill you up with so much food, that you never actually have the opportunity to verify their claim as you are already stuffed by the time the dessert menu comes around. But despite this and the many other lies they tell me I still find myself going to The Cheescake Factory at every opportunity I get. It is easy to say that I am addicted to cheesecake factory and it is simply because they know how to lie effectively…they under promise and over deliver.

This is the trademark of great businesses and great entrepreneurs…people that over deliver on their mission statements and promises to customers. Sometimes they over deliver so much so that their final product when compared with their initial promise is so far apart that you can’t help but call them liars.

Sadly many business do the complete opposite…they over promise and under under deliver. They say they will prepare your meal in 30 minutes but end up giving it to you an hour later or in the classic case of That Restaurant That I Won’t Name By Name tell you that the Egusi soup you ordered 30 minutes ago is not available and that you have to order something else. Or that Fast Food joint that serves chicken at their restaurant…you know this because the Chicken menu is printed on the resplendent display at the back and the name of the restaurant is Chicken __________ (no name mentioned). But you get there and they don’t have any more chicken!

This is not just restricted to restaurants or product delivery type businesses…it also affects service type businesses. For instances businesses who say they close at 6pm, but yet will attend to that stray customer that comes in minutes past closing time with a large smile and close just a bit later to accommodate them. Or the comedian/entertainer who is paid to perform for 3 hours, but ends up performing for 5 hours to show appreciation to a supportive crowd and squealing fans. These are the positive lies that make customers get addicted to a business or person.

As an author/speaker/ninja one of the things I always tell event organizers is that I will autograph every book for everyone that buys. I have had situations where the event organizers are asking me to stop autographing books because the line has over a 100 people in it. But yet I keep on signing till the last person leaves or till my ink runs dry. I do this because I understand the importance of over delivering on promises. And I hear the appreciation from the people in the line that…some say “I can’t believe you stayed back and signed all those books for all this people.” And I smile because it is the same thing I say when I think about the king of liars…The Cheesecake Factory…cause I still can’t believe they have three entire meals packed into one single dinner meal and that’s why I love them!

As a business, you have to ensure that you are lying to your customers…all great businesses do! But you also have to ensure that you are telling the right type of LIES.

Ofili is an award winning liar motivational speaker, author, success coach and chicken hunter entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on twitter , facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. He has written two books, How Laziness Saved My Life and the best-selling How Stupidity Saved My Life, to find out how they both saved his life visit ofilispeaks.com

Wishing You Extreme Success,


Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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31 comments on “Why All Great Businesses Should Tell Great Lies

  1. Speciall on said:


    Thanks for doing this post. The concept of ‘Underpromising and Overdelivering’ is paradigm shift for Nigerian businesses.Infact,I somewhat want to believe that it is quite strange for them to understand.

    The reason why I stated the above is that I think most Nigerian businesses still operate with a survival mentality.When you iperate in that mode,you only remain a mediocre.

    Once again,ofili,this post rocks wella!

  2. Ofilli my dream releaser. Thanks a lot for sharing this timely principle. “Under promise and over deliver.” From experience, this positive lie principle is encumbered by some cultural factor which the new age entreprenuers should live above. Your articulate description and humourous illustrations always leave champions asking for more. Well done. *wink*

  3. Great read. Brilliant as always. I’ve had a similar experience sometime at a particular restaurant when I’m told the food I’ll arrive in 15 minutes just for me to get served just 6 minutes later.. These ‘right lies’ actually help foster great relationships with customers

  4. sally bonne on said:

    I usually come here to read your posts and all, this has got to be one of my best posts and I liked the cheese cake factory example just wished nigerian business will just follow suit so we won’t have to be complaining. Nice one though mr ofili

  5. Ok, My, that was funny…but actually really true if you come to think about it.
    Let it go of the ninja already, LASTMA will catch you and kill you or BRT will jam you while you are hopping about the place.

    But all in all, you’re an insightful writer.

  6. Another great post. Well.. Nothing beats meeting client’s expectation when they least expected it. It does not wow them. It makes them happy. I lie every now and then to my clients. Just so they will allow me do their job well.

  7. Victoria on said:

    Ofili, another brilliant post, hope it become a lifestyle in the business environment. The most amazing thing about you is: you always take your time to answer each comment. keep it up.

  8. I think the reason why a lot of business don’t “lie” effectively is because they seem to be more concerned about the initial profit from the immediate sale (be it a product or service).
    They fail to think about building the brand of their biz and turning casual customers into loyalists

  9. joshua ogri on said:

    Great post!i actually believe most of them thrive on the element of surprise thereby leaving their clients with little option but them.

  10. GOSH!!! I’ve got goose pimples all over. What a super-fantastic blog. As an entrepreneur this has always been my goal, having the client feel like they underpaid because you over delivered. Its hard to achieve this though cos some over-realistic-artisan-employee will throw his rusted spanner in your “good” works and say “Oga leave am, dem no go know”

  11. This was a really good read. Brilliant idea to under promise and over deliver. Your integrity is at stake when u make a promise because people expect that you will deliver. Maybe if we’re more conscious of this, we can have more successful businesses.
    Thank you for this

  12. Ayodeji on said:

    Hmmm, that lie is what makes the ordinary extra or is it the EXTRAordinary. Love you much @ofili

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