Barney almost has it right when it comes to understanding the relationship between a small shop owner
and their customers.
I love you You love me
We’re a happy family
With a great big hug
and a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me too
He’s got it right…
if you live in a land where sun shines out of your ass, and puppy dogs and rainbows are a daily sight.
We love our customers, but as a small business it’s about establishing an understanding of how what we do means something to our customers, and what our customers’ support means to us. All of our customers who come to spend time inside our shop always buy a drink. It’s understood. But for those who are new, we need to quickly establish expectations.
customer: The word derives from “custom,” meaning “habit”; a customer was someone who frequented a particular shop, who made it a habit to purchase goods of the sort the shop sold there rather than elsewhere, and with whom the shopkeeper had to maintain a relationship to keep his or her “custom,” meaning expected purchases in the future. (http://www.dictionary30.com/meaning/Customer)
Both Yiching and I grew up in a culture where it’s understood that when you go into an establishment and take a seat, be it a cafe, coffee shop, bar or restaurant, you order. It’s called “customer etiquette”, which is something that many people seem to have forgotten. People come in, they want to enjoy the space, the warmth or the cool air, the music, and the people, but they seem to have forgotten the reason for being there– enjoying a drink AND all of those other things.
All of our tables have a little sign:
And on the back it reads:
to operate caffe d’bolla.
Our passion is in every drink we make for you.
It’s the soul of what we do.
Therefore, one cup minimum is all we ask.
Every cup represents an understanding
between you and us
of love for something exceptional
and this is what supports caffe d’bolla.
Please enjoy every sip.
We’ve had this policy for years, but found it most effective if customers can read and understand rather than having to tell them. Making this policy clear has done several things: It creates a better caliber of customer all around, it shows current customers how important their support is to us, and it lets newcomers know we take what we do very seriously. And it virtually eliminates any bad customers. We’ve had a positive response from our customers.
There are those few who don’t get it, but there’s a place for them… it’s called 7-11.
So to our customers we say,