Monday, July 9, 2007

When do you open for business?

Sunday morning, I went to my usual Sunday Morning Coffee Shop, the Firefly. They open at 8am Sundays. I was there at 7:30. I knew that I'd have a 30 minute wait but I was prepared. I sat out on their deck with my laptop and started writing this blog.

Another regular customer, Pete showed up at about a quarter till. He was upset that they did not let him in, so when he did get his coffee, he refused to tip. What do you think? Is it okay to wait until your official start time to unlock the doors and let customers come in? Or does it make more sense to let the earlier risers come inside and get started?

Does the weather matter? If it was raining, I would not have sat out on their deck waiting for the clock to strike 8. But the difference is I knew when they opened, and I knew what to expect.

A year ago, there was another coffee shop in town called Seekers. They struggled to stay open and eventually shut down without warning. However, I discovered about 3 months before they went out of business, a simple secret that could have saved their caffeinated soul.

Seekers was located on a busy street with lots of traffic that would have provided them with the extra money they needed , if they were there to serve them. See, Seekers did not open until 7am weekdays. One morning I was supposed to meet a friend their at 7 and they didn't open up until 7:15 that particular morning. Opening their doors at 6am would have cost them an extra hours worth of wages, but the business that they would have generated between 6:15 and 7am, could have kept them open and growing.

Are you there for your customers when they need you, or will they go elsewhere?

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