Tag Archives: Starbucks

Seven Minutes (and you’re almost there)

How long would you wait for a cup of coffee? More importantly how long should you have to wait for a coffee?

English: Peacock When Dunfermline High Street ...

Going elsewhere?  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Peacock Rooms’ at the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline is designed to provide an ‘all year round’ place for families to grab a coffee, eat cake and let the kids run around in a great play area with full length interior glass windows. Good for you, good for them.

So, it’s popular with families and gets busy, particularly at weekends. All of which is great I hear you say. But to be honest I find myself dreading the moment when someone pipes up “lets go to the Peacock Rooms” because the service is in a word ‘dreadful’.

I mean they seem to try hard and they have improved slightly by getting one person to make the coffees, to let the rest of the staff focus on front of house activities like serving and clearing. But… it still doesn’t work.

Let me give you an example. I was there on Saturday and from bitter experience I sadly found myself taking note of the time I joined the (modest) queue.  Maybe six people in front, two of whom were a couple, none of whom were ordering more than a cake and a cuppa…

A cappuccino in a ceramic coffee cup

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seven minutes later I had not moved an inch. Now seven minutes is a long time to stand still. If you don’t believe me then try it. Now try it with a child tugging at your leg and wanting to go and play on a slide. Now try it with a hangover. Eternity?

By the way seven minutes is also coincidentally, the maximum time a trained waiter would regard as reasonable for a person to wait for table service, (and that’s pushing it). This doesn’t bode well for a counter service environment, which is meant to be quicker.

So what was the hold up? I hear you ask. Well it turns out that the counter-staff were having a crisis, one person was struggling and this put pressure on everyone else.

I mean everyone is entitled to a bad day, right? But why does the same thing happen EVERY time I‘ve been there?

Lose count of your order? Fair enough. Forget your entire customer order? Maybe, not listen to your customer because you were distracted? Ok…

Except it’s not ok. This is their job, it’s why they go to work and it’s what they do.

Now training could be an issue here.

Contrast if you will my ongoing experience with Starbucks and Costa. Both of whom employ excellent staff, who despite the natural reserve that comes from being British, seem to have no problems in serving folk with a beaming smile, taking orders quickly and efficiently, taking payment and often seeking out your name to make the whole thing more slick and personalised, cakes and coffee – done.

Starbucks

Starbucks (Photo credit: Piutus)

“But they charge you more”, you will say hesitantly. Not true says I. My experience is that café prices are not a million miles away from the baristas on the high street. But efficiency, cleanliness and customer service are.

I said that I almost felt sorry for the person in my local café the other day. Almost, but not quite and here’s why. If we just accept bad service then it will never change, never improve, which in a venue like the Peacock Rooms is very dangerous. (and yes my comments went in the customer comments box)

You see, the Peacock Rooms are set in a park with no immediate competitor and because they are the only game in town during the winter they’re very busy (rocket science it ain’t). This is why I think they must think its acceptable for uncleared tables, long queues and muddled orders to be the norm.

Newsflash! It ain’t and it’s a real shame, because it totally overshadows the fact they serve great cakes and very tasty coffee… worse still it’s slowly but surely turning me from a customer into a critic and come the summer I can vote with my feet.

But the really sad thing is this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many badly managed establishments out there in the wider world that I just know I will have struck a chord.

Which is why our motto this year should be “I’m not called Matt now stop walking all over me”

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In praise of watches

My Metal Banded Watches

(Photo credit: alexkerhead)

I’m an affable kind of guy, I don’t want for much and I generally feel quite content. Put me in front of a roaring fire with some decent food, a nice bottle of wine and leave me. I will be more than happy.

At the weekend take me out for a wander along a beach or to grab a coffee and a look around the shops and I feel equally at ease. Which is fortunate as my wife is also very keen on both, perhaps leaning a bit more towards the retail spectrum as the winter approaches. So imagine the scene, there I am poking about in various shops (books and clothing mainly) and just about ready for a visit to Starbucks when I am stopped in my tracks by a window display. I was lost.

You see I am addicted to watches. Big ones, small ones, cheap ones and some not so cheap, I just love them. Which is why you should never leave me alone too long in a shopping environment. (I also love jackets but at least there is a single-minded aim there  – to find the ultimate jacket – something I have come close to on a number of occasions and a vice which is then largely under control for the moment).But watches on the other hand are always there, singing their siren song on web, in stores, brochure, magazines and newspapers.

Men don’t really wear a lot of jewellery and a watch provides us with a bit of individuality. They are also my favourite accessory, I have daily work watches, weekend watches, I even have evening watches. I have straps of rubber and straps of titanium, stainless steel and plain old canvas. Traditional watches, digital affairs, G-shock, diver, military, surfing, chronograph and LCD. All shouting “pick me, pick me”.

I have been known to buy a watch instead of food and go hungry in earlier years, I’ve also found myself hanging around the same jewellery store week after week gaping at a particular prize and desperately fighting the inner voices that want me to get “the preciousss, get it now”.

My favourite watch is probably a Breitling Avenger Seawolf with a yellow face, which at over £2500 is not on my Christmas list. For the smaller budget there is a bit of a look alike called the CX Swiss Military Watch SEAWOLF I Scuba NERO which retails for about £450. But to be honest I enjoy wearing different watches so much that I just can’t bear to spend that level of money on something that doesn’t involve a plane and a passport.

So with feet firmly on the ground my latest object of desire is a Tokyoflash Kisai Maze Watch which disguises the time in the spaces of a LCD maze, making it very difficult to the untrained eye to read, but easy for the end-user. I mean how cool is that? It is also a more palatable £87 and is water-resistant to 3ATM’s (whew).

I’m also quite taken with the Timex Ironman watch, which was on special offer during the Amazon Black Friday sale. An absolute bargain at £20 against the normal £65 price tag. Similar in many ways to the Casio G-Shock but if anything slightly more rugged. Sadly I missed out this time but will keep looking!

I’ve making every effort not to feed my addiction, but I did recently purchase two watches from Avon (long story), one which I love and one which I prefer not to talk about. So with Christmas just around the corner I really don’t know what is going to happen, but if you feel the need to intervene just remember that I want the silver strap and the blue face please.

Watch this space (if you pardon the pun).

Timex Ironman 20th anniversary watch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)).

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