Saturday, March 20, 2010

From Café Sante to Café Sans to Sans café – the tale of the deterioration and demise of the new café at the body bar 

Yes this is quite an interesting story of greed over promising and just rewards which I witnessed from the beginning to the end at the gym I visit. Now they gym had a simple Café before run by quite a poor boy and his sister. They did an excellent job was reasonably priced and everyone loved it. Except guess the management of this institution who had not heard the saying “Don’t fix it if it aint broke”.

One day they were given notice and were told a bigger better and nicer café was going to be built at the gym. Of course the rent was going to be jacked up many times and to add insult to injury they were asked to join as staff of the new gym. Of course the boy refused and left and finally the patrons at the gym were left high and dry for nearly a year or more before the newly renovated and refurbished “café Sante” was launched by a new owner.

Now the new owner had been spun a story about the quality of the clients of the gym and how most of them were very rich to be honest all of this was true. And all the Mercedes and BMWs and Land Cruisers and Monteros’ parked outside the gym added credibility to these facts. In fact if you looked at it from outside it made perfect business sense to start a small upscale café for these high yield individuals. But no one had told them that these people were some of the stingiest people under the sun and would complain and bicker and bitch if the price of a patty was increased from ten rupees to twelve rupees. The Café Sante started on a bad wicket from day one. Mainly because the clients of the gym did not like how the previous café owners had been treated by the management. So everything which was done at the Café was compared against how the previous guys did it. The stuff in the café was more expensive than before not by a huge amount I would say 20-30 rupees more; but it was enough for everyone to complain. Also the café owner did not take the trouble to understand the specialized nutritional requirements of the gym junkies and they were selling what they wanted. For example the previously the brother and sister used to make half boiled egg whites for people who needed a protein boost immediately after their work out and had bananas for sale for instant energy boosts. Also we had not been having access to a café for over a year so everyone was in the habit of bringing in their own post work out snacks and this too was a contributing factor to the lack luster demand for the services of the café.

They did not have some of the basics right for instance I would never patronize the café if I did not have change because the sales girls are not supplied with cash float. One day I only had a 2000 rupee note and they made it my problem to find the right amount of cash. Ultimately I had to get my trainer to pay for it but from that day onwards I never order anything unless I have the exact amount of notes in my purse. Also most of the time what was advertised was not available.Very soon the owners of the café realized that things were not working out and they were being ignored by the customers of the gym. So instead of trying to take steps to entice the customers back they scaled down their operation further. Now the café did not operate at all the times that the gym did. In fact they started closing on Sundays and half days Saturdays. Also the few items on offer became fewer. It was a vicious cycle. And from what I saw the café was more closed than open. But I guess that way they could save money and cut down the losses. Anyway this morning I heard the owners of the café had finally decided to shut down and the brother and sister who ran the café are going to be coming back to take it over once more. It is sad because the lady who did the café was a decent individual but she thought it was a seller’s market. I also believe that the ill will created by the rough handling of the previous owners of the café made the clients of the gym resist the new café in a subconscious level. Anyway it seems everything has gone an entire circle and we are right back at square one. :)

1 comment:

Dee said...

ha! down with corporate greed :D