When Mr V opened his first V’s Barbershop in 1999 he really wanted the barbershop to be as authentic as possible. Whoever heard of receptionists in old-fashioned barbershops? It’s much better to have that personal touch, with the relationship between a barber and his or her patron as undiluted as possible. So at V’s, each patron is greeted as they arrive and their barber will make sure they are available to wait a while if necessary. That’s how it’s been ever since the start.
All our owner/managers share V’s ambitious philosophy for growth. But we like to start out each shop modestly, with just a few barbers to start with, so a receptionist would mean an additional and unnecessary salary. But more importantly, a receptionist could act as a detractor between patron and barber. From a small team, we build organically, offering a premium, personal service where each barber gets to know every patron. Walk-ins still account for most business initially, and our barbers have a rough idea who’s going to come in on certain days at certain points of the day or month. You’ll see handshakes and fist bumps between them, smiles and laughter. And I love that.
One or two new barbers to V’s Barbershops staffs have voiced concerns about the absence of a front desk, but they soon learn that if it’s them ringing up the bill and showing the patron to the door, their tips are frequently higher than the average. Plus, that money goes straight to them and not into a central pot. Why should it? Every barber is working under the same system.
But there are times when it gets so busy; the guys and girls are working so intently behind the chair while the door keeps swinging open with yet more patrons coming in that they can’t do the personal greet. So how do we balance that? Well, it never gets so bad that the barbers can’t deliver a personal service; the shops aren’t so huge that they can’t nod hello from wherever they are as the waiting chairs fill up. We’ve got Shortcuts salon software, and are currently transitioning to its Walk-in Manager & Wallboard system, which allows the patron to self-check-in, and see their name populate on a waiting list hosted on a large flat-screen in store, indicating how long the wait will be. So if it’s 30 minutes until they sit in the chair, they can go get a coffee, or a beer, without missing their slot. And at the really, really busy times, we bring out our secret weapon – our shoe shine guys and gals. Part of their job, besides making sure patrons’ shoes are shiny enough to see their reflection, is to make sure everything runs smoothly – that the towels are topped up and the shop is kept tidy.
Unlike a receptionist, they ‘float’ in the salon, after all they have their own patrons to service, which means they are there when needed but never get in between the barber and patron. . You will often times also see our owners out milling around with the patrons, acting as the mayor of their shop and helping to coordinate the busy influx of patrons during peak times.
The bottom line, it’s about the entire, authentic, barbershop experience, not just a friendly face to greet you and take your payment for services.