We all have them the infrequent customer that is just a pain in the a** or cost you more than they spend. I've got a guy who insists on moving my big leather chairs from our conversation nook moving a table up there and sits for 3-4 hours on his laptop and yapping on his phone. he spends like $10 at day and has posted favorable Yelp reviews so I hate to say anything, we have a dedicated laptop bar but he doesn't want to use it would rather screw up my conversation area which is now useless because nobody wants to use it with him working. Or Customers in the drive thru talking on their cell phones, I had a drive away this morning because the woman who just ordered a black coffee kept waving off my barista and refused to roll down her window until she finished her conversation, then she pays cash and sits at the window for like 30 seconds while the customer behind her pulls out of line and drives off without their drink. Who's pissing you off today?

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Don't know what to do about the drive thru, but as far as the guy hogging your seating area, maybe disabling the AC power plugs?  Tell them there was a short and you had to shut them off.  Don't put the blame on them just attribute it to some sort of electrical problem.

 

Maybe that will limit his time in your seating.

 

Also, eliminate WiFi.  When you offer it, you're essentially encouraging people to stay.

I'm out in the subburbs, we can't eliminate WIFI, I'd love to but a large chunk of my customers work form home and like to be able to get out for an hour or so. Most do not abuse it they log on on check their email and are off to their next meeting. Our shop is 2500sf so we dont have a space problem and I have areas designed for laptop use with easy access to plug ins. I just have a problem with this guy, I also hate making his drink, he orders a large Mocha with 5 PUMPS of chocolate Skim milk an extra shot and wants a inch of drip coffee in it. And he orders it like he's some sort of gourmet, I'm really just venting about those customers that are few and far between that after 7 years of shop ownership I've just had enough of. I'd ask him to take his business elsewhere but it would set a terrible example to my staff and is against my philosophy on customer service.

Design your shop for the way it will be used, not the way you would like it to be used. If you provide comfortable lounge chairs where people can sit for hours, then you have to expect them to do just that. You may call it a "conversation nook" but customers call it nothing but a comfortable chair. 

 

My view is; comfortable lounge chairs are a nice idea, but you're better off with just regular old wooden cafe tables and chairs - There's nothing special about them so there is no special need to drag them around and be a dick taking up prime cafe real estate, because there is no prime cafe real estate!

 

 

That drink certainly sounds interesting.  I'm curious to know: how much do you charge for that drink?



Alex said:

Design your shop for the way it will be used, not the way you would like it to be used. If you provide comfortable lounge chairs where people can sit for hours, then you have to expect them to do just that. You may call it a "conversation nook" but customers call it nothing but a comfortable chair. 

 

My view is; comfortable lounge chairs are a nice idea, but you're better off with just regular old wooden cafe tables and chairs - There's nothing special about them so there is no special need to drag them around and be a dick taking up prime cafe real estate, because there is no prime cafe real estate!

 

 


Good idea Alex but this guy is moving the comfortable chair and bring a regular cafe chair and table up into the conversation nook so he can be close to an outlet. He probably has other reasons, other than doing built in furniture ther is no way of predicting how the public is going to interact with a cafe space. He also asked one of my baristas if he could just get a couple ounces of a $6 a cup Kenyan Micro Lot that we have on our brew bar right now to top off his abomination of a mocha. Most of the time and most of the customers are fantastic this guy has just really gotten under my skin. Of course I got even by selling him a 1/5 of the Kenyan to take home with him.
Just under $6 jay.

My point is if all chairs are the same standard wooden cafe chairs, then he would have no reason to move the furniture or hog a particularly special part of the cafe. He might still have a favourite area of the cafe, but there wouldn't be any "holy grail" comfortable leather lounge chairs for him to shoot for. One of the reasons he is pissing you off is because he is misusing an arbitrary label you have placed on those particular chairs that he likes.  Think like a communist-of-furniture - everything equal, everything the same, nothing is more desirable than another.

 

You're only partly right in saying there is no way of predicting how the public will interact with a cafe space.

 

There was an architect (I apologise for forgetting his name) who designed a park. When he designed and built it he didn't put any paths in until 1 year after the park was finished. He did this because you can't count on people to use something the way it was designed, if you look at parks you will always see dirt trails that people carve out between the actual paths, shortcuts and more desirable routes, so he waited until people had trampled the grass and created their own paths; and this is where he then built the actual paths.

 

I've had my fair share of fuckwit customers in my time that have revealed flaws in cafe design and layout. Every time I spot something like this I take mental note. In a weird way I like customers like yours - they help! To me, this customer of yours looks like this;

-Special chairs and areas don't always work. What I call a conversation nook, they call a quiet space to look at porn/work/chat on my laptop. Solution - Keep chairs equal.

-5 pumps chocolate, skim milk, extra shot, inch of kenya filter... For crying out loud! Why the fuck did I follow this "just say yes" starbucks bullshit??! Solution - "I'm sorry sir, but it's not on the menu." If this dick kicks up a fuss then just follow with a polite "We are trying to maintain a consistent and superior experience for all our customers. If customers don't order from our menu, then what is the point of having one? We can make you a great coffee from our menu, but if you want something else there is a Starbucks across the road, next door, and also one attempting to rape us from behind. By the way, did you see our communist chairs?"

 

Mind you - these are notes for if you open another cafe in the future. It's still important to note what works and what doesn't though. 

 

My solution to your problem - just start fucking up his drink. Or kick him out. You would be surprised how much respect you get from other customers when you ban someone who pisses you off from your shop! But if you're afraid of a potential backlash, just start making his drink wrong until he gets fed up and goes somewhere else.

I understand you really dont want a anwser you just want to vent on us so you dont take it out on him. I get that. Sometimes guys just have to over analize everything. We all have these customers.

That's the stupiest, most unprofessional thing I've heard in a long time.

Alex said:

My solution to your problem - just start fucking up his drink. Or kick him out. You would be surprised how much respect you get from other customers when you ban someone who pisses you off from your shop! But if you're afraid of a potential backlash, just start making his drink wrong until he gets fed up and goes somewhere else.

How so?? Tell me how you would deal with a customer you feel is detrimental to your business.

Mike McGinness said:

That's the stupiest, most unprofessional thing I've heard in a long time.

Alex said:

My solution to your problem - just start fucking up his drink. Or kick him out. You would be surprised how much respect you get from other customers when you ban someone who pisses you off from your shop! But if you're afraid of a potential backlash, just start making his drink wrong until he gets fed up and goes somewhere else.

Other than my spelling stupidest wrong, intentionally making someone's beverage poorly is what indeed would be F'd up. How I'd handle it would depend on my situation. Maybe make a sign "please do not move the furniture" or "it's ok to rearrange the furniture in Your house, this is Our house". Talk to a customer one on one who ignores sign. Ask politely to leave the furniture how we have it arranged. If they refuse and still move it, quietly ask them to get up and put the furniture back where it belongs myself. If they still don't get it, ask them to leave. 

Alex, I have to agree with Mike on this one. I will also add that your use of profanity surely wouldn't be welcome around my customers. Hopefully it's just your way of venting/ranting and not used on a daily basis. 

 

The common use of the phrase "the customer is always right" doesn't sit well with me. BUT some do require that extra bit of patience and attention at times.

 

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