The staggering demand for coat racks

21Nov08

This month has been colder than usual, so virtually everyone has started breaking out their winter coats. As these people go into restaurants, stores, and other venues, they naturally need a place to put their bulky pieces of clothing. While getting a haircut the other day, I noticed that the coat rack filled up very quickly, leaving many people without any place to store their coats.

Naturally, I wondered how the salon owners determined the size and type of coat rack to install. By my count, the rack could hold maybe ten jackets, which was about the number of customers whose hair they could cut at once. That sounds logical, except it makes no allowance for the husbands, wives, friends, and children that might accompany them during their visit. With that adjustment, they easily needed twice as much space on the coat rack.

As a business owner, the right approach is to look at your peak customer capacity, including the people who might be waiting for service during busy times. Then add on how many people tend to accompany them into the venue, and use the total as a guideline for coat racks and other simple conveniences. Obviously, it’s pretty cheap to add another set of hooks right below the current ones, but the lost mindshare can be significant if you fail to think through how much capacity you need.



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