Friday, December 12, 2008

Flea Market Research

I need to do some specific site research. There are 2 locations that on paper i.e. are large 250+ booths and near where I live, that I need to physically go to and see what the action is like. While I am there I have some questions.

What am I looking for?

I want to know the lay of the land how other food vendors are set up.

How much does each space cost?
Do they have sinks?
Do they have electricity?
How do they cook their food?
How do they refridgerate their food?
How do they serve their food?
How do they serve their drinks?
How much are they charging for food and drinks?
What kind of "specials" or "meal deals" do they have?
What are their hours of operation?
What type of POS are they using?
Does it require electricity?
What kind of payments do they accept (cash and/or credit)?
If credit cards, do they charge a fee?
Is there Internet access (for PayPal)?
What type of signage do they have, both permits and advertising?
Do they give out free samples?
Who manages their place (owner or employee)?
Where is all of the foot traffic?
Is there a "food court"?
How much space do I need?
Is this indoor, outdoor or both?
Do they advertise a web site?
What else would you want to know?

Monday, December 1, 2008

How do I take an order from start to finish?

How do I take an order from start to finish? Seems like a simple enough question right?

What do I use for POS (Point of Sale)? An old school register or do I get a full blown POS system?

Benefits of the old school - simplicity and cost. It is easy to use and implement and I can find a register on Craig's List for about $50. No credit card transactions with the old school either. I wonder how much that will affect sales in the beginning days at the Flea Market. Not much is my guess. Honestly, I already know this is the way I am going for the beginning. I just wanted to think things through (TTT - anyone remember the halls of MBNA?).

Benefits of the new school w/a full blown POS application (I am thinking web based too) - most of it has to do with access to detailed information on sales and inventory i.e. business intelligence. This solution is also scalable, meaning (if)when I open multiple locations, this POS will grow with the business. It also integrates periphials like a credit card reader, the cash drawer and the reciept printer. All of these things are good, but cost A LOT more and also make more sense in a larger store, so I will keep this in mind.

So, for the near future, here's how it is going to work - Customer orders, I ring it up, they give me cash and I give them a receipt, food and change if needed. Oh, speaking of change. I mostly hate change, change as in coins. My prices will always end in a denomination of $0.25 and will always include tax. When I give change, the only change will be paper bills and quarters. I won't accept pennies, nickels or dimes... just kidding about that last part =).