Frequently Asked Questions
At The Roost, we're doing the best we can to offer great jobs and a great product with great service. While we love that The Roost has taken on a life of its own- shaped in large part by our community of amazing patrons- we've also learned that in order for The Roost to be the best Roost it can be, we need to occasionally manage the space in ways that, left alone, it wouldn't always manage itself. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about choices we've made at The Roost. If you have any questions about any of this- or anything not covered here- we have a Manager on Duty on at all times. Please also feel free to send us a message directly on facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do we limit our wifi hours and not have power outlets?
We had originally conceived of the Roost as a space that people could enjoy for many purposes: dates, studying, playing games, hosting events, reading, writing... We imagined themed evenings like movie nights, tap takeovers, bingo, karaoke… the list goes on. We envisioned the café like this because it sounded like the most fun to us- like a place we would enjoy ourselves- and also because we thought it was our best chance of being feasible in the long term as a low margin business in a highly competitive café town. We learned early on that having both power outlets and wifi available in the café meant that the vibe of individuals doing work on computers for hours at a time would tend to dominate the space. We repeatedly received feedback that people didn’t want to be social in our space- meet with friends for drinks and dessert- because the space felt like a library. We also learned quickly that having power outlets available and unlimited wifi was not good for business. Since our goal is to provide great jobs and a great product with great service, we decided that it was best for the long-term health of the café to adhere to our original vision of creating a space that encouraged socializing and activity. We realized the best way to achieve this was to not offer power outlets and to limit wifi hours. Currently, wifi is available all day Monday through Wednesday and from 8am-8pm Thursday and Friday.
Why do we put coded locks on our bathroom doors?
At some point in 2016 we decided to put locks on our bathroom doors. We did not do this lightly. After years of cleaning bathrooms that had been vandalized by graffiti- and much worse- we decided to make our bathrooms only available for customers. After some awful messes that had been left behind by people who were not customers, we decided there was no amount we could pay our staff so that cleaning these messes would be a reasonable part of their job description. While we value inclusivity as individuals, we’ve found that as business owners, we need to identify our values and then figure out how to prioritize them because they don't all easily reconcile with each other in our efforts to create better jobs and a better product with better service. We decided to prioritize having bathrooms that are clean and available for our customers and to never have to ask our staff to clean up messes they should not have to. We don’t love the locks. But after trying it for several years without them, we decided it was time to try something different.
Why do we sometimes ask customers to move from one table to another?
We know that customers don’t love being asked to move. We don’t love asking them. It would be easiest for us to let customers sit where they want and use the café however they want, but we’ve learned that’s not what’s best for the business. While we’re aware that the perception might be to some that The Roost is often busy and bustling and should have no apparent problems making the business ‘work’, the reality is that the financial ecosystem of a high volume, low margin business in a highly competitive café town like ours is incredibly fragile. Beyond paying off the considerable loans we needed to open The Roost, we’ll be working for years to come to keep the Roost financially viable as we strive to offer better jobs, a better product served with even better service. One of the tools we use to keep the The Roost working is to occasionally ask customers to consolidate the space they are occupying to make room for other customers.
Why don't we allow outside food at The Roost?
We are a café/restaurant/deli/bakery/lounge/dessert bar. We can’t offer up our space to people who want to bring in their own food while they enjoy the atmosphere we’ve created. We are a restaurant like any other that needs to sell the food we buy and prepare. Unfortunately, our space is too limited to allow people to enjoy it for free.
Why don't we have live music at The Roost?
The Roost is not zoned by the Northampton Building and Fire Departments as an Entertainment Venue. Getting approved as such would have required considerable and prohibitive expense when we built out the space in 2010.