Vagrants, Homeless and Crazies
Hey Everyone, at my cafe we have lots of problems with non-paying customers setting up shop for long amounts of time. How do you handle the situations? We have some crazy people who come in and it makes it very difficult to reason with them without making a scene and getting the police involved.
Any advice or stories on how you handle these situations would be greatly appreciated!
Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company
11-25-2012 01:29 PM
Hmmm.. Depends a lot on the situation.
Are these people dangerous? Have you attempted to maybe give them a free cup of coffee and remind them about their very important meeting they need to get to? Why do they come into the shop in the first place? (are they looking to socialize, or they just randomly chose your shop?)
Making a scene is not always necessary, normally these kinds of situations can be resolved without calling the police as well. The trick is to stay calm, and reason with them. (sounds tough, but it can be done in most cases. Unless they are potentially dangerous, then you would need to call the cops...)
You can start by asking them calmly if you can help them. If they say no, ask them what they're looking for, if they came for something in particular, etc. If they say no again, ask them the reason they came into the shop. Listen attentively, and then say that it's store policy that tables, chairs etc are reserved for people consuming product. Point out that while it may not be busy (or if it is, point out how busy), and say it would be a shame if someone were to buy their coffee and not be able to enjoy it sitting down.
Of course all depends on the kind of person they are.. But I reckon that would solve 90% of your problem with harmless ones anyway...
The first thing you need to clearly understand is there is no such thing as a non-paying customer.
If a person comes into your establishment, and doesn't pay, they are not a customer.
You are a business, not a charity.
And you should not allow anyone that is unclean or could cause any potential health problems in your coffee shop. It's about the safety and well being of all your patrons.
Have a policy requiring everyone to order. Those who have no intention of ordering will leave.
We've had that policy for years and have only gained customers by doing it.
Be clear. Be professional.
Salt Lake City, UT
Great advice, thanks John.
Originally Posted by John P