Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scholar's Inn Bakehouse Shuttered

Old news, but as of last week, the Scholar's Inn Bakehouse in Broad Ripple is closed, shuttered, locked up tight with a "For Lease" sign in the window and a disconnected phone. One has to wonder if a local coffee and sandwich shop couldn't make it in that location, what will? Another bar perhaps? And with local leaders touting the strength of daytime business in Broad Ripple (and commercial rents approaching the downtown prices), one has to wonder what went wrong. The website is still up touting sandwich specials. Cory Schouten reports Kosene and Kosene raised their rent and their business had been down.

6 comments:

Kirsten said...

From passing by the place regularly, it looked like the likely culprit was decreased sales.

And maybe that was related to their not-always-stunning service. Once I was served (without notice) a chicken soup as a substitute for the vegetarian one I had ordered. The two soups looked basically the same, so a bit of warning and, obviously, a question about the substitution would have been nice. But even that wasn't a big deal until the staff said that they wouldn't substitute a similarly-priced item without an up-charge. I had to get a little irate (not my normal mode at all) to get a satisfactory response from them.

Also, their menu probably could have benefited from an update.

Jimmy said...

First, I think the building is owned by the Neighbors Family, as is the Voque. K&K manages the property. In 1983, when they assumed mgt., they raised our rent to the point that it was less expensive to move to Keystone at the Crossing. That's a price increase.

Parking has not been a problem in the 27 years since the 'redevelopment' of the old G.C.Murphy site by Jeff Simon, et al

Resident said...

It would appear that the Bakehouse and SI downtown suffer from the same flaws. What I'm speaking of is, "Customer Experience"! So few business owners/managers etc. EVER have a customer experience at their place of business. What does this mean? It means...if Feigenbaum or his managers EVER entered SI or Bakehouse through the front door...they would see their glaring errors.

First, don't have a huge radio advertising campaign to tout a complete revamping of your product Scholars Inn into "SI" and leave "Scholars Inn" signage in place. Even the most daft human will scratch their head upon this sight of the "new" place and ask: "what did they change?"

Second, and this really proceeds the first, enter your business through the front door, NOT the entrance customers don't see. In the Bakehouse's case good luck finding the front door. I've passed the Bakehouse likely at least 500 times on foot, car or bike and I can't tell you if there is an entrance on college, br ave, neither or both? Back to signage: "Bakehouse" screams "everything is fresh from 6 am - 10 am then day-old by noon, AND we close at 2pm". Does it say anything different to anyone else? Actually, I'd take if for a remote baking location, not a deli? I'm guessing the decision to even call this location "Bakehouse" was related to promoting the brand they sell to other retail stores and really in no manner related to the business at this location. Just calling it Scholars Inn or Scholars Inn Deli would have likely conveyed the message rather than confused.

All of this can be attributed to concept not executed very well, OR owner has way too many interests going on and has not built a mid level management team to help carry out the concepts.

Anyway...all of this translates to BAD CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE! BAD CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE=NO REPEAT BUSINESS=NO LOYAL CUSTOMERS=BUSINESS CLOSES OR IS SOLD.

Pretty simple formula when you remember that when a human shops somewhere other than a big-box discounter they have come to you for one of two reasons: Exclusivity OR Customer Experience. If you don't have a monopoly on a product then you better offer a great customer experience, othewise consider what you're doing a "hobby" and have fun competing on price.

interestedparty said...

Last time I was in there - at 10:00 AM - there were no bagels available. But never mind, I've only had coffee there for the last year or so. Last time I actually ate there, I had black-tinged potatoes in my breakfast wrap AND a mouse under my chair.

Hoosier Foodie said...

Aside from the other things posted, I think the general quality of the Bakehouse was poor. To me there was no value at all...value of course perceived benefit related to perceived cost. The menu was way to expensive for mediocrity, and with Bagel Deli being just down the street, an EXCELLENT value, and a new Patachou location around the corner, there is no chance for this place. I was impressed they made it as long as they did. A reasonable venture moving into that spot with the same general concept would clean up, IMO. If only I had the dough!

Erin said...

I agree that the SI Bakehouse failed not because of the concept but the execution. It reminds me of another local that should have been a sure-fire hit in BR, but fell flat on its face because they could execute the idea WHATSOEVER - the Abbey. Great concept, great menu, if it can't succeed in BR then where can it - but utter incompetence doomed it.
In fact I think the BR Abbey had an even better concept and menu (but maybe even worse service).