Monday, May 05, 2008

“Couples Only”

I was at Apache last evening, a local pub, and I ran into what seemed to me (at least initially) to be some pretty strange behavior. Let me explain.

Firstly, I’d gone there with a girl. (No, that isn’t the strange thing!)

Now, the upper floor at Apache has two sections, which I shall refer to as the Outside and the Inside. For some unfathomable reason, the management running the place has decided to reserve the Inside strictly for couples. There’s a board saying “Couples Only” at the entrance to this section. (Okay, that’s strange all right, but it still isn’t what I’m talking about.)

So the two of us have just climbed up the stairs, onto the upper floor, and are looking for a place to sit – in the Outside section – when the waiter tries to usher us into the Inside. “Sir, couples ka andar hai. (Couple seating is inside)”. But Inside looked a little too gaudy and the music was too loud, so we decided to ignore the waiter’s “recommendation” and found ourselves a table on the Outside. A table for four; it was the smallest one available.

Soon the waiter attending to our table arrives and repeats what the earlier one had said, “Andar baito, couples bahar allowed nahin. (Sit inside, couples are not allowed outside.)” Not allowed? This seemed like a little too much. As far as I understood, the board “Couples Only” implied “Only couples can sit here” and not “Couples can sit only here”.

I tried to explain this to the waiter, but he didn’t really seem to get the difference. I was half-tempted to tell him, “We’re NOT a couple. We’re just friends!” But I have a feeling that would have been a waste too. However, I have a penchant for stubbornness, so I finally managed to convince him that the music inside was too loud and thus we would be sitting outside, thank you very much and if he had a problem with it he could go complain to his grandfather.

After he left, I thought about how strange this all was. But within seconds I realized that there was a simple reason that the management had ordered the waiters to ensure that all couples sit inside. A very rational one at that.

The clientèle of the place were mainly male. Consequently, the Inside was almost empty – only one or two tables occupied – and the Outside almost full. The two of us had plopped ourselves down at a table for four. Thus, by sitting Outside, we had denied place to some other group of stags, who could not sit Inside anyway. Assuming that the situation remains like this – Outside full, Inside empty – we had effectively taken up six seats!

You don’t have to be an Economics Major to figure out that that isn’t the best outcome for the pub.


Fangs said...

this is the apache on FC?
how's it? always wanted to go there, but never found company.

Kunal said...

Is this the Apache on FC road?

Melody said...

Sorry, I still don't get it?

If the bar is short on clientèle, why reserve the inside for couples?

So what if there are mostly males - almost every bar has mostly males (except higher end ones) and they're the ones who spend most of the money, so bars do not have issue with that either.

Finally, one more weird thing - th music inside was louder than the music outside? If it was the same music, you could have just asked for the AV guy to get the music down a little - especially since the Inside was almost empty.

Arnold said...

Fangs - Yes, FC road. It's pretty sucky. We were just in the locality, that's why. Toons (on MG) is way better.

Kunal - Sí, amigo. Bad times indeed, eh?

Melody - Okay, one at a time. Firstly, it's not short on clientèle, it's short on female clientèle (like every other bar around). Secondly, the bar does not have an issue with that, but as far as my best guess goes, some of the female clientèle do. Hence the separate section where for restricted only to couples. Thirdly, the music being louder inside was not the main reason for not wanting to sit inside -- I'm just a stubborn, whimsical idiot and since I wanted to sit outside, I wanted to sit outside. On principle. The music was just the reason I gave them in the end to put an end to the pestering.

Abhishek said...

the question you need to be asking (and answer it on economic theories again) is what advantages the bar gets from reserving space for couples? I think it might be something to do with average expenditure. Maybe the average bill for a couple is much higher than for stags and the bar prefers to have fewer higher-spending couples than scaring them all away with drooling eyes.

Another explanation is that the owner feels that the only way to draw in female junta would be such an arrangement. That way he still has some eye-candy.(sorry if this seems sexist - I'm just putting myself in the barman's shoes!)

Arnold said...

Abhishek - A far harder question, I'll admit. Let me first tell you what, I believe, are NOT reasons for the "Couples Only" section.

Firstly, couples would NOT spend more than two guys. I don't believe that. It's primarily a bar and more often that not, two guys (or a bunch of guys) would drink more and spend more than a guy and a girl.

Secondly, it's not to "draw eye-candy". There are two advantages of drawing eye-candy -- a. it's good for the staff (this might be a small reason, but it's too small), and b. it's good for drawing in more (high spending) guys. The problem with Point b. is that to draw guys, the girls have to be sitting outside and not in a separate section inside! The "couples only" board is a negative argument this way.

I'll think over what the possible reasons could be over lunch and get back to you.

Mulling Over My Thoughts said...

ok here's how i understand it.
most stags out there, would rather be drinking at home in the company of their televisions showing off their beer bellies half naked and arguing with their mates about some sporting event or the out a whole lot cheaper than sitting in a disc or a pub.
the incentive of going to one of these places comes form three angles:
1:> The stupendous service
2:> The fabulous ambience
3:> The hope that they might, just maybe might get a glimpse of some hot woman!

i reckon reason 3 is the most important one of the afformentioned.
if you happen to be the manager/owner of apache, and if you have recognised this fact, you might wanna attract some members of the female species so that they in turn attract some of the eager male species...hence a separate enclosure for the couples to help feel secure.

all this argument being immaterial, apache can have really bad music...too loud for the kind they play. and i am on your side, i wouldnt have moved either, more lazy than anything else...

Akshay said...

In my opinion pubs can come up with all kinda weird rules....whatever works for them I guess!!

Anonymous said...

LOL that cracked me up!

What is this Apache place?