Supermarkets, cafes, shops – Turn down or even better turn off your air conditioning & shut that fridge door

I came across this on-line petition (see below) the other day and signed it but it also fitted with something I had been noticing of recent times – how cold some supermarkets and cafes really are.

Since air-con became a fact of life in supermarkets, cars and cafes there’s every danger that it’s left on all the time and not regulated or checked, never mind being turned off when it’s not really required at all. I guess that the big companies who run supermarkets and coffee shop chains don’t really take much notice of air-con running costs and their managers are not tasked with regulating it?

But I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s noticed that air-con in say coffee shops can often be blowing out cold air when it is not needed and at times you have to try to find a seat where it’s not being blown down your neck – COSTA coffee shops are often guilty of this in my experience. You’d think that the bottom line (cost of running it) would matter to local managers even if they don’t give a fig for the environmental consequences of using unnecessary fuel, but seeming neither are motivating factors and the air-con runs all day every day at cooling levels that are not needed in our temperate climate, except on hot summer days.

Aughton – Empty shop unit at Town Green – Surely a coffee shop opportunity?

The shop unit above, which is next to Town Green Station, has been empty for some months now ever since the previous occupant (Spar) closed down.

I regularly cycle this part of the world and usually stop at the small parade of shops. This empty unit has made me ponder, bearing in mind we are taking of an affluent area which I have heard referred to (obviously jokingly) as Ormskirk’s stock broker belt. And the ponder? Why has it remained empty for the past 6 months or more?

My first thought when the Spar shop closed was that within a very short time it would probably become a coffee shop, maybe yet another branch of the Costa franchise. But no, so far no such move but considering the affluence in that part of West Lancs surely I’m not the only one to have had that thought am I?

COSTA – Does it suffer from inconsistent/variable standards?

The Liverpool Echo has a story on its web site which got me thinking – see link above

As a regular user of COSTA across many of its cafes around the UK I have to say that, in my opinion, the standards can be variable in terms of cleaning and customer service. I’ve put this down to the franchise-type operation of the cafes whereby groups of them are owned by differing companies who buy into the COSTA brand, although I have also noticed differences between standards of their cafes that seem to under the same ownership. Clearly the local manager has a big say and a big responsibility to meet what I presume are common standards?

I wonder if COSTA use mystery shoppers to check out standards without the staff of the cafes even knowing they have been? If they don’t they should do. Now and again I get e-mails from COSTA asking me about my experience of a particular cafe in their chain that I have been to. I always respond but wonder if anything ever becomes of the comments made by customers?

Maybe COSTA suffers from the circular doors of companies in the retail trade who can’t recruit and retain staff? Certainly it is far from unusual to walk into a COSTA to see a new member of staff learning the trade. An ever changing workforce can’t be good for consistent standards.

I don’t go into McDonalds very often but when I have done I have gained the impression that they do adhere to a common and usually high standard. I say this as I think the franchise-type business model may be similar.

My feeling is that COSTA needs to either start to employ mystery shoppers, or if they already do then employ more of them. But more importantly their reports have to matter and be acted upon even if that means taking franchises away from partner owners who don’t meet corporate standards that all COSTA cafes should be meeting.