Extended trading hours

As soon as I said it I realised it was a mistake. Once more my attempts to be helpful had come up short.

My suggestion to extend opening hours to adapt their offering to suit their customers was based on recent market research, but as I said the words they seemed highly controversial. The discussion I was having with a client revolved around service quality standards, product range, and environment. So it wasn’t a great stretch to see where I was coming from.

Now I should stress that I wasn’t suggesting a Bookseller branched out into selling Bananas, nor even that a Fishmonger should start selling Lingerie. The product and service extension was a logical move grounded in research. However, the reaction that my comment generated suggested either:

A). I was grossly stupid, or conversely

B). It was an idea that they should have been working on already!

At the time I believed A, and slunk away with my tail between my legs. Having given it some thought I’m not so sure.

And so on to a somewhat related story…

pret a manger colour
Image courtesy of RHL Images


A little after that episode, I read that Pret a Manger were actually doing something similar – not the same I should stress, just similar.

They had announced plans to extend their service offering to a ‘dinner service’ where, amongst other things, they would offer alcoholic beverages in their London Strand branch. The trial restaurant was to open until 11 pm and if successful would see other sites follow suit.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, likes of Wetherspoon’s have moved successfully into the breakfast market. Surely it was only a matter of time before the coffee shops and sandwich bars looked to extend their trading hours too.

A fine example of making an existing asset pay for itself in other ways, the only question might be why no one has done it sooner. There are two ways to find out, wait until after the trial or look at your market research. Not only to establish if there is a demand for that service but also in evaluation the success.

An initial flurry of excitement is to be expected at any such establishment changing their offering but once that’s dies down will the buzz remain?

Maybe it’s time to look at the market research, oh you don’t have any? Well I know someone who can help…


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