Saturday, May 5, 2012

Can you please pass the bagels, please?

I don't want to be the dude that hates on the upstart bagel shop. This town needs a bagel shop, and I want it to do well. I want it to survive. But I have tried twice now to purchase a sack of a dozen bagels for my hungry co-workers, and have been unsuccessful on both occasions. I won't name the place I'm talking about here, but you all know it.

The first failure took place last week amidst a bum-rush of college students milling around the counter; I lost confidence after standing five minutes in a still-unqueued mass that things would improve, or that I might get a bagel in a reasonable amount of time before getting into work. So I moved on. This morning, the staff had not  made enough bagels to serve three people in line who wanted to purchase a dozen apiece. This was at 8 am. Actually, they didn't know that I was the third person in line for a dozen bagels; I just heard the manager tell the woman in front of me that she would not be able to get her dozen. This was after I noticed that the man in front of her who managed to secure his dozen still had to jump through a few hoops. At that point, I just got frustrated and left.

Some thoughts on this sad state of affairs. I realize that it's not my place to tell people how to run their business, but now after having been on two failed missions just to get a bagel (or dozen bagels), I'm just going to point out a red flag or two.

First, I see a business that is built like a bar, not a bagel shop. The outlay for supplies, staff, and workflow to run a working bar all seem to be there, but the systems that need to be resolved to run a successful bagel shop, unfortunately, are not.The wire baker's shelves are stocked with liquor, not coffee or flour sacks, and the refrigerators are full of beer, not juice. I don't have a beef with late-in-the-day bagel fans, or people who want to booze with their bagels. And I can live with the ersatz thermos of coffee and carafe of cream rather than a functional coffee counter if the bagels are good. But if you're going to commit to selling bagels, maybe you should make your place look like it -wants- to sell bagels. Don't make the bagels look like an afterthought to a space that you've envisioned as a bar.

It won't hurt to maybe let your customers get their hands on  a bagel, either.During both bagel connection failures, I saw at least five, possibly six staff people behind the counter. The line was not moving this morning, either. They were milling about in the kitchen and behind the counter, rather than breaking up clots in the workflow (e.g getting the queue moving), but instead, they look like they are waiting for instructions on what to do. Meanwhile, people wait in a line (or something less structured than a line) that isn't moving efficiently, and they lose patience. Some of them leave, like I did. I mean, I'll wait around in a crowd huddled around a bar for a drink, but not for a bagel.

Maybe if I started adding a splash of Maker's Mark to my breakfast drinks, I'd be a bit more chill about all of this.

Again, I want these guys to succeed. Someone please bring these people to a functioning bagel shop and show them how it runs so they can figure out what they need to do to make things work.

Is this less of a white-whine if I say that I'm feelin' for bagels like Andre Williams does for biscuits? Probably not; actually, it might even make it worse. But it's a good song that should be played often.

No comments:

Post a Comment