Turning On The Aircon In I-Café
These are questions that I always see in forums frequented by Internet café owners. Do you have an air-conditioner (aircon) in your café? Do you still use it? What time do you turn on the aircon if you still use it? The owner of the Internet café with aircon is posed with these questions because of the prevailing low rental rate in the market for a long, long while. At the rate the questions are getting asked, turning on the aircon in a café, because of its power consumption and the high cost of electricity, seem to spell the doom or success of the business.
In a tropical country like the Philippines and with humidity averaging 85% during the dry season, having an air-conditioned space in one’s place of business is always a come-on for the customers. Do you remember the days when taxis would have the word “Aircon” painted on their bodies and how commuters would choose them over non-aircon units? Why do people go ‘malling’ on their spare time? If you’re a male, where would you like to get a haircut, on an aircon barber shop or on one with electric fan only?
The answers to the above questions will prove the need to turn on your air-conditioners if you have them in your shops. It would of course be a different story if you are charging your café customers below your operational cost. In the first place, if you know that you will only charge ten (10) to fifteen (15) pesos per hour of computer rent, you should not have bought an air-conditioning unit. It will only be a burden in your capital payback and return on investment.
So you are charging your customers a fair computer rental rate and you are convinced that you must turn on your air-conditioners to keep them in and entice more to try your Internet café, the question now is what time should you switch the aircon on. On this question, the answers of café forumers vary but most of them say they will turn on the aircon when they already have enough customers.
For me, the above is not the best answer on the question of when must an aircon be switched on. I suggest that you set the hour of the day that you turn on the aircon, say one (1) hour after opening and stick to that schedule. The only time that you must turn in on earlier than the schedule is when you have enough customers in the first hour of a café business day. If you do this religiously your loyal customers would know what time to come to your shop and have the convenience of working in an air-conditioned area.
If you are convinced that my advice is correct, I ask that you also announce to passers-by that your café is air-conditioned by having a sign similar to the image on this blog. You may find it corny bit I tell you it worked before and it will work now. Remember that the weather in our country is not changing. If it is, I say it’s getting worst, so more customers are preferring air-conditioned areas.