Some customer bringing in and consuming drinks and food from other stores

We recently opened our first full service coffee shop near a university. Some customers are bringing in and consuming food and drinks from nearby stores. First, we put up a sign that says its ok to bring in food or drinks provided they will not consume it inside our shop. Somehow their are still people who disregard the request and worst influence their friends to bring in products from outside. We're having a difficult time addressing the situation, care to share some wisdom. Many thanks in advance.

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Do they buy anything along with bringing their outside food/drinks in?

 

Get rid of the sign that says it's ok to bring food/drinks in, and replace it with NO outside food/drinks

 

In my opinion, if they bring stuff outside in, and do buy something from the shop, then I'd allow it. Of course there are extreme circumstances. It really depends on the owner. But if you do decide to put the *NO outside food/drinks* sign and still see people not following it. Just kindly let them know, "Hi, outside food/drinks are actually not permitted. It's okay this time, but just to let you know for next time." and smile. Remember to always be kind and polite. They will appreciate it and have a higher chance of respecting you and your policies.

 

Outside food or drink should not be in your shop under any circumstances.

Try bringing a Pizza Hut pizza into a Chili's and see what happens. 

 

YOU have products to offer. If they want someone else's products, they can hang out there. It's disrespectful to the nth degree. These people have no intention of being a customer. There is no need to placate these kinds of people. No manners. No understanding of proper customer etiquette. You are a business. If you don't learn to say "no" quickly, you are doomed.

 

Good Luck!

Yup, one would buy a drink and get the wifi password and then their friends will come in with iced tea from our neighbor. Then lounge for a couple of hours.

Jimmy B said:

Do they buy anything along with bringing their outside food/drinks in?

 

Get rid of the sign that says it's ok to bring food/drinks in, and replace it with NO outside food/drinks

 

In my opinion, if they bring stuff outside in, and do buy something from the shop, then I'd allow it. Of course there are extreme circumstances. It really depends on the owner. But if you do decide to put the *NO outside food/drinks* sign and still see people not following it. Just kindly let them know, "Hi, outside food/drinks are actually not permitted. It's okay this time, but just to let you know for next time." and smile. Remember to always be kind and polite. They will appreciate it and have a higher chance of respecting you and your policies.

 

We did approach customers who ignored our no outside food/drinks policy. It's just that we are new in the area and hesitant to be labeled "strictly rude". Actually, another shop (tea shop) is using that angle to label us rude. I don't know if we could come up with a politely rude approach in dealing with these kind of crude manners.



John P said:

Outside food or drink should not be in your shop under any circumstances.

Try bringing a Pizza Hut pizza into a Chili's and see what happens. 

 

YOU have products to offer. If they want someone else's products, they can hang out there. It's disrespectful to the nth degree. These people have no intention of being a customer. There is no need to placate these kinds of people. No manners. No understanding of proper customer etiquette. You are a business. If you don't learn to say "no" quickly, you are doomed.

 

Good Luck!

It's not rude at all.

 

The simple answer is to have a sign, enforce what the sign says. It's not you, it's "the sign".

 

Honestly, you will not lose one customer over this. These kinds of people are not now, nor will they be, actual respectful and paying customers.

 

Remember: Policies are not for good customers. Good customers follow policies without being told -- because it's normal and proper behavior.  Policies are enforced as a reward to your good customers. It's that simple.

Thanks for your point. Maybe I was trying to please everyone and

kind of being nice in a wrong way. Our focus must be for our true

customers. Thanks a lot.

Yes. Take care of those who take care of you. It's a win-win!


Ron Serapio said:

Thanks for your point. Maybe I was trying to please everyone and

kind of being nice in a wrong way. Our focus must be for our true

customers. Thanks a lot.

Thanks for the reminder, 80% of our customers are students. How do you handle the situation in your shop? Is there a compromise in handling it? Like some days we enforce and sometimes exempt customers from the NO outside food/drinks policy.


Todd Campbell said:

You also have to consider where you're located. You're right by a university, right? So, that's students. I live in a college town (Lexington, KY) and the few shops that have strictly enforced food and drink policies have all failed. If somewhere else allows outside food and drink, those students will simply go there. I see it happen all the time.

I'm not saying it's right for them to do, but it's just how it goes. But with all that said, if you dont have a large student customer base then disregard this.


Either way, good luck!

I completely agree with this idea. Being in a college area you will always have outside food in your establishment. I think by having a strict - No outside food policy - could turn people off. However, it is not okay to have someone come in and sit, for hours, without purchasing anything.

 

The interesting challenge is figuring out how to sell your product to that customer - get them interested in your store. A vested interest.


Todd Campbell said:

You also have to consider where you're located. You're right by a university, right? So, that's students. I live in a college town (Lexington, KY) and the few shops that have strictly enforced food and drink policies have all failed. If somewhere else allows outside food and drink, those students will simply go there. I see it happen all the time.

I'm not saying it's right for them to do, but it's just how it goes. But with all that said, if you dont have a large student customer base then disregard this.


Either way, good luck!

Our present advantage is our place. Better to hang-out, study/read, wi-fi, air conditioning. No big brand coffee nearby.

We will try to blend your suggestions,

1. A sign " No outside food/drinks consumption inside" (allow them to eat at our alfresco area)

2. Those who would not follow- approach a politely explain the policy for next time with a smile.

3. Come up with better value choices of drinks and food.

4. Reward good manners haha 

 

Hope these works. Thanks.

Brandi Thompson said:

I completely agree with this idea. Being in a college area you will always have outside food in your establishment. I think by having a strict - No outside food policy - could turn people off. However, it is not okay to have someone come in and sit, for hours, without purchasing anything.

 

The interesting challenge is figuring out how to sell your product to that customer - get them interested in your store. A vested interest.


Todd Campbell said:

You also have to consider where you're located. You're right by a university, right? So, that's students. I live in a college town (Lexington, KY) and the few shops that have strictly enforced food and drink policies have all failed. If somewhere else allows outside food and drink, those students will simply go there. I see it happen all the time.

I'm not saying it's right for them to do, but it's just how it goes. But with all that said, if you dont have a large student customer base then disregard this.


Either way, good luck!

This is the worst situation for me. I work at a coffee shop in the cafe of a Wegmans grocery store. Some of my customers sit in our cafe and eat/drink, others just buy a coffee to walk around the store. I have a rack with these plastic things that hold your cup and hang on the side of the cart and all day long customers walk in with starbucks and tim hortons etc coffee and come up to my register and ask where the cart holders are. ummmm #1- right in your face. #2- how rude!

 

     This is my number 1 problem in my store, I even had one person tell me he did not like my food and the drink came with the item they purchased elsewhere or they would buy something because they like my dining room better. Who is supposed to teach manners?

 

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