Stumbling in after a long, arduous lesson on a scorching hot day, students and CFIs normally grab for an icy drink. Don’t force anyone out into the blistering heat or bitter cold in search of a comfy chair, a good cup of hot Joe, or an icy cold bottle of water or soda. Creating an inviting environment is more than being friendly. It is also important to anticipate wants and needs so people won’t have an excuse to leave. Providing an atmosphere of warmth and coziness in the cold months and cool and relaxing on hot days will make sure the cash stays within your doors.
To that end, put the rancid coffee pot in the closet and get a Keurig, which gives choices of coffee, cocoa, or tea. Put out good creamers and sweeteners—make it worth charging a buck a cup. Consider investing in or leasing a vending machine for bottled water and soda or a drink-snack combo machine. They are relatively inexpensive and usually pay for themselves quickly. If you don’t want to purchase or lease a vending machine right away, at the very least put a mini refrigerator under or behind the counter. Post a sign advertising the cold drinks you have and charge a buck a can or bottle, which you can purchase in bulk at the big box stores.
Once word gets out that your school has cold drinks and good coffee, people will start popping in from adjacent hangars and other flight schools for the goods as well.