I used to go to a Saxby's coffee house but never liked it. I went there primarily because of the free Internet. I hated being there, for several reasons:
1. The "chairs" have no backs and were painful to sit on for more than 5 minutes.
2. I observed that my solution to the no-back chair problem, of resting my back against the wall, was making the workers uncomfortable -- as if a show of free will was unwanted.
3. The store never stocked enough bagels and they acted like they could do nothing about it.
4. The food was overpriced in general.
5. The layout of the furniture was weird, with a huge frustrating 8 foot high shelf thing in the middle of the room holding items for sale that everyone had to walk around.
7. Too few tables. Patrons complained about it.
8. Despite the dearth of tables, they had included one table that had an in-built game board for checkers and chess. So if you sit at that one, maybe you'll be asked to move by players?
9. Distracting big-screen TV on the wall, as if the place were a sports bar.
It's hard not to be a little bitter about the painful chairs. It's like they're saying "we don't trust you to pay for stuff every hour or so, so we'd rather just prod you like cattle to get out." It reminds me of a Starbucks and a Panera on the Main Line I've been to where they keep the temperature down around 60 degrees. It's disrespectful of customers. Only a dumb business person would think this policy is clever.
The more I see businesses that are franchises of little-known brands, the more I'm wary of them. It's like the owners don't know how to succeed, so they choose a dumbed-down cookie cutter "sure thing". Why think when you can spend? Why ask the public (who can't be trusted apparently) what they want? They sign the contract and get scammed and I don't feel sorry for them.
Scammed how? Well I've heard owners and workers complain about franchise contract terms at places other than Saxby's, for instance:
- Having to buy furniture and equipment from specific, expensive sources.
- Having to sell specific coffees and foods in specific quantities that may be overpriced, unhealthy or low quality.
- Maybe requiring that franchise specialist consultants design the store layout... for a big fee.
- A huge buy in cost. Tens of thousands of dollars.
- Requirements about minimum profits, types of locations etc.
- Penalties for non-compliance.
Whatever happened to Americans' "can do" attitude? A franchise is a choice for people who are saying "I can't do" and "I'm not smart enough".
About the Saxby's brand:
- The name does not imply coffee.
- From the road, driving by, one cannot see the word "coffee" in the Saxby's logo because the lettering is too small.
- It's not a household name... so why even buy into it?
Out near Seattle, they have highly profitable drive-up coffee stands where the young women serving coffee wear bikinis. Now that's thinking outside the box. That's a "can do" spirit. My local Saxby's however has... a checkerboard table. And painful chairs. And today it was closed with a sign on the door that I did not bother to read.
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