Monday, 6 June 2011

Counter Service R.I.P.

There has been talk in the world of garden centre catering of the benefits of table service for cafes - I'm from the restaurant business and appreciate the increased average spend, greater customer service and better plate presentation that it can deliver.

However, counter or self-service cafes are great when:
  • you want to encourage the mid-morning and afternoon market where that cake sale depends on customers buying with their eyes
  • customer numbers are inconsistent - ie due to weather or season - and you cannot afford to have expensive staff standing idle
  • table-blocking and dwell time is a problem at peak periods when customers sit waiting for food to be delivered
  • you want to keep a real value proposition because the customer does much of the service themselves
  • customers like the self-selection process as in a supermarket or with a buffet
  • coaches or large groups need to be served quickly
  • finding and training smart, smiling, reliable, fast, English-speaking staff is an issue
Counter service has its fans and is far from Resting In Peace.