brian on 2006.03.21
at 03:47 pm
Today is a day off for me. One of the advantages of a job without 9-5, M-F hours is unusual times off. This week makes that a random Monday and Tuesday my “weekend” off.
With my day off, I felt like getting out of the house. This was prompted by a lack of breakfast goods. Luckily for my there is an utterly charming café up the street which even embraces my Danish heritage. It’s called the Danish Pastry House and it’s right down the hill from Tufts University.
I enjoy the DPH’s chai lattes, and have yet to be disappointed in their baked goods. Granted their chai is nothing more than Oregon Chai (I saw the package), but lucky for me, I like Oregon Chai. Of course, the frothed milk doesn’t come from a package, so I appreciate the labor involved. I don’t drink coffee, so this is a way for me to enjoy a latte. Because heated liquids are better when they’re $4! For me, however, I’ve had to cut my intake of tea, especially the black tea chai is made with, due to its high amount of oxalate, and my kidneys’ propensity to allow that and calcium to create geologic formations in my internal plumbing. But that is a story for a different time.
But back to the DPH — the place just oozes charm and elegance. Beautiful, warm scandinavian interior, complete with the requisite Bang & Olufsen audio system hanging on the wall like art work. An inviting place to sit back and enjoy a lemon-ginger scone.
However, despite its European roots (actually owned by a Dane) and its proximity to a major university… it does strike out in one major progressive area… they charge for wireless internet, aka WiFi.
Free WiFi, despite minor draw backs, is the best thing a café can do to instantly add business with miniscule overhead. I know that I would spend more time on my days off there, if I could do all the things I have do on the ‘net up the street in a warm inviting place with human interaction and great food and drink served by attractive employees. (Major companies like Panera Bread and Schlotzsky’s have reaped the benefits of free wi-fi)
But, instead of ordering a second round of tea and scones, or sampling another of their endlessly tempting treats, I had to cut my time and sales short with them, because I needed to get back online. They could have gotten more out of me, and the house wasn’t full the entire time I was there, so they didn’t need to turn over the table for new business.
I can see times where free internet might be problematic. I can see some of the students coming down the hill treating the place, which doesn’t have a ton of seating, like a study hall. But I think that occasional issue could be rather minor compared to higher flow of business that would come from simply being listed on all those free Wifi listings… ads which cost the café nothing…
In their position, I would suggest they contact my friends at Tech Superpowers in Boston. They administer the Newbury Open.net and the Salem Open.net with great success. I’m sure they could connect up the DPH, both locations, and even their sister flower shop next door Ulla’s. You have to have the net for these locations anyhow, beyond the one time set up and occasional service and support, the cost of the free WiFi system would be negligible. And a great service for your customers!
My time there was enjoyed as always. I’d go more often, if I could get online for free. I passed this along to the staff, suggesting it would likely be less expensive to offer free service than to charge for it. After all, they’re in the eat/drink/merriment biz, not the selling internet biz… they have to outsource that ability.
Lastly, I’d say that the Danish Pastry House lacks one last, critical thing: a web site. For that, they could look into a Danish-American web and technology consultant… like myself. We specialize in making affordable, wonderful websites for small businesses, Danish or not! I really would like to see an online menu, so I can figure out what to get when I arrive, and to tell me when new offerings are introduced… and perhaps even a Danish Pastry Blog!
Posted in: Technology
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