Catching Up with the SweetSpot

I’ve reviewed the SweetSpot previously, and here are a few quick remarks about the new menu and remodeling of their location at 226 West Whitewater Street. I’ve not yet reviewed the SweetSpot Bakehouse, on the other side of town at 1185 West Main St, Whitewater.

Remodel (and Menu Changes It Brings).  The remodel adds a soda fountain, and brings the SweetSpot closer to being a sandwich shop as well as a coffee house.  It’s had sandwiches before, but adding fountain soda moves the restaurant even farther in a lunchtime direction.  In fact, by ambiance, it’s more a hybrid than solely a coffee shop.  (A traditional coffee house would not have a soda fountain at all.)

We’re a small town, and there’s both benefit and need in offering an expanded lunch menu.  A traditional, coffee-only shop with china cups and orders of pastries on plates might have trouble making a long-term go of it here.

And yet, a sandwich shop with à la carte side dishes (as this menu now has) is a stylistic contradiction (if an economical or lucrative change, depending on one’s vantage):  a sandwich shop would typically include sides, as the old menu did.

Speed of Service.    An independent coffee house (unlike a Starbucks) doesn’t have to move quickly. Service is languorous because for an old-school shop, speed’s not only unimportant, but actually unwelcome – one moves slowly and leisurely.

A sandwich shop can’t be slow – patrons wanting lunch are on a schedule, and need to get their food quickly to maximize the limited time that they have.

In my recent visits to the SweetSpot, lunchtime service has been too slow for some patrons, and people walked out.  There’s a second electronic register, but on these occasions I’ve not seen it used.

When patrons walk out, they don’t vanish – they go elsewhere to eat.  If they like elsewhere enough, they will not return to the original destination.  Whitewater has more than one shop that offers sandwiches. Time hasn’t been a concern for me, but I can see that it is for others.  It’s unexpected that a remodel and menu change did not bring, at the same time, a change in speed of lunchtime service.

As always, this post is delivered without financial or other connection to the establishment or its owner. The dining experience was that of an ordinary patron, without notice to the staff or requests for special consideration.

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