Depending on how many customers I expect to have in my bakery
(occupancy), I'll have to build one or two restrooms. That's money and space. I really wanted to have a big sit down area, maybe seating for 12 or 15, but I think I might save money if I only provide seating for 4 to 6. Really just a waiting area, not a sit down place.
Do you think I'll miss out on some business if I don't have enough spots for people to come in and chill?
Do YOU have a retail walk-in store, and would this be a problem?
What do you think?
Me personally, if I were going into a bakery for some cupcakes for example, I wouldn't use the sit-down area. UNLESS you provided coffee, then I'd be all about it!
I do not have a storefront but have thought on the seating/restroom issue long and hard. When I finally get to open a storefront/walk-in bakery there will be no seating/eating being done at the facility by customers...it'll be get it and go. I don't want to be cleaning up strangers' crap (and there'll always be someone who jacks up the bathroom somehow or another or has some IBS or intestinal malfunction...ugh...I'd be out of commission for an extended amount of time if that ever happened) nor do I wish to have to hire someone else to do it. They'll need to be takin' care of their 'business' in someone else's bathroom....blah!
If it were walk-in, there shouldn't be any need for seating. If they came on time to pick up their order...get it and go. If they're too early...they can leave and come back on time or sit in their car or shop at a nearby store....maybe a bench outside...lol...I wouldn't want 'em hangin' around where they can be seen if they're waiting on their order if they're early...other customers may get the idea that you're late with their order....
Then, if you get seating and serve coffee/desserts there, not only will you need to have restroom facilities but also someone to keep the seating area and bathroom(s) clean...
expand later....much later (that thought of cleaning the bathrooms has my lip doin' the Elvis thing...oof)
All4cake has some really good thoughts on this. I went to a cupcake bakery while on vacation and I did wish we could sit down and enjoy the ambience. It didn't stop me from making a purchase, though.
There is a cupcake place in Annapolis that offers those small tall tables with bar stools. There are only a few tables (maybe two tables with two stools each) because it only takes a minute to eat a cupcake. I may be mistaken, but I don't think they have a restroom. Maybe there is an "in-between" setup that has tables as a quick convenience, not a place to linger. Every area is different in their requirements, so it might not hurt to ask. Other places with no restrooms have a few tables on the sidewalk. They sell cookies, fudge, ice cream, etc.
Restroom requirements may depend upon the jurisdiction. In Ohio, you don't need to have a public restroom unless you seat over 24. I only seated 22 in my coffee shop (with no room for more.) I would let people, who asked politely, use our restroom. However, since access was through a food prep area and was not handicapped accessible, to offer it legally to the public would have cost me thousands. I did have someone complain to health department which sent the inspector to my shop. The inspector had to tell me what the complaint was, counted my seats and agreed that I was in total compliance. It angered her that people think they know the law and file unnecessary complaints.
I've had both types of shops: one with seating for 19 and one with no seating. The seating for 19 was because in NY if you have seating for 20+ you must offer public restrooms. Next shop, I did not have seating for a number of reasons - the restroom being the least of my concerns: First, and most importantly, as I learned the hard way, you are paying for every square foot of space. The space for my tables and chairs was seldom fully occupied = paying for unused space. Also, when they were being used, customers would stay for hours and only buy coffee - some not even coffee, just hang out and talk and make a mess. Moms came and children ran, they touched the pastry cases, they touched every piece of window glass - the clean up was extensive sometimes.
The next shop I used every square foot (inch) for decorative purposes, up-selling baskets and gifts made with our products. During the holidays the space was selling much more than coffee and cupcakes would have! Sometimes people asked to stay but it was occasional and they got over it. To compromise, we got a permit to have outside seating - which was lovely for 3 seasons.