As the weather outside turns warmer, Ralph Bretzer looks at the challenges of getting ice cream in Sweden due to long and frustrating queues.
Spring has finally arrived in Sweden. Not the meteorological one – that one has been around for a while, but the real one. The one that actually lets you leave the skiing jacket designed for subarctic temperatures at home.
The sun was shining over Västra Hamnen, the newly built part of town with a beautiful seaside boardwalk beloved by locals, as soon as the clouds clear the sky. This weekend, when temperatures pushed 15 degrees for the first times this year, it was positively crowded. Everybody seemed to have ventured to this little patch of town looking out over Öresund and the Öresund Bridge – the longest combined road and railway bridge in Europe.
Walking there, enjoying the day and the fact that the sun actually put some warmth in our skin, we decided to have a cup of coffee and watch the people pass by.
We were obviously not the only ones to have this idea.
First stop: the outlet of the big nordic coffee shop chain present in most Swedish cities and quite a few in neighbouring countries as well. Let’s just say it was somewhat discouraging. The L-shaped room was packed to the limit, but not with people enjoying their coffee, just standing in a very long queue waiting to be served.
Needless to say, I took one look at the queue, turned around and walked out. A forty minute line for a cup of coffee is not my idea of a nice afternoon out.
“Let’s try that other place instead”, I said.
So we walk on, heading for that little Italian café with the good coffee and the excellent ice cream. But alas, the prospect there was not more encouraging. Here we didn’t even try to get inside. The line stretched out through the door and onto the boardwalk, perhaps twenty metres outside the premises of the establishment.
So no coffee here either. And no ice cream.
And we thought to ourselves: what if they only had an app with preorder and prepaying options? What a difference that would have made. We would have had the refreshments we so longed for and the coffee shops – both the little local Italian place and the big chain – would have had a lot more business, had they been able to serve everybody who actually wanted to buy their products rather than people turning away due to the long queues.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.