1. Why can’t I find your menu online?
2. Do you have WiFi, and do you kick people out if they’ve been sitting at a table using your WiFi and making a show of drinking cold coffee for, say, a couple of hours, and all their food is long gone?
3. When exactly did you open? Because I must tell you, I only heard about your establishment a few days ago, and I am the kind of person who periodically Googles “Korean restaurants within 5 miles” (it’s a hobby). I only found out you were Korean at all because someone said, “The owners are very polite, and I think they’re Korean because I overheard them talking in Korean to each other?”
4. Maybe you’re trying to play up this mysterious vibe you have going on, but have you thought about advertising a bit more, or maybe having a website, or leaving those little flyers with the holes in them on people’s doorknobs? I am a simple gal; my go-to Chinese restaurant is still the one that left a flyer on our door three years ago.
5. Speaking of which, do people sometimes ask you to recommend a Chinese restaurant because “YOU’LL know a good one!” even though you’re not Chinese, and then when you finally make a suggestion, they tell you they hate that place and they’re just going to go to P.F. Chang’s? Does that make you want to slap them, or at least stop talking to them forever?
7. Just what ARE your prices? Are they secret?? WHERE’S YOUR MENU AND WHY CAN’T I FIND IT ONLINE?
8. How long did you spend weighing the respective merits of opening a cafe versus a coffee shop versus a dry cleaners? Was it really that hard to choose? Did you consider drawing straws, or writing down “dry cleaners” and “cafe” and “coffee shop” on three little slips of paper and choosing one out of a hat, or maybe just arm-wrestling for the right to decide?
9. Do you offer same-day dry-cleaning service?
10. If you do offer same-day dry-cleaning service, how much do you charge? We already have a regular dry cleaners and they’re fine, I guess — but given that they do not serve coffee or even one single Korean dish, how much do they really care about keeping my business?
11. Have you ever thought about adding a FOURTH service? If I may make a suggestion, on-site child care is always a winner. Really. I would — that is, the people, they would LOVE it. I mean, I’m sure your business model is working fine as is, I just think that would really knock it out of the park.
12. Why in the world would you close at 3pm every day? Saturdays too?? I love to meet friends for coffee — or Korean food — but I have a job and two small children and I cannot meet anyone before 7pm on a weekday. Seriously, I have almost no time to myself, it is not uncommon for those kids to try and talk to me when I’m in the bathroom, and fully 100% of my socializing takes place in the evening. I get that you’re primarily trying to cater to the lunchtime crowd and I know you cannot schedule your business hours around my life, but I cannot be the only one who lives like this, right? RIGHT? I’M NOT SHOUTING, THIS IS JUST HOW I TALK NOW
13. How quiet is your cafe? I really, really like quiet.
14. If I ever tried to practice my (admittedly terrible) Korean conversational skills with you, would you judge me, or find it cute and endearing?
15. My seven-year-old wants me to ask if you have any TVs in your establishment, and if so, how often you put on Big Hero 6 for the people to enjoy.
16. Hey, um, how far are the dry-cleaning chemicals from the place where you cook your food? Pretty far, right?
17. If I brought my sister — the real Korean chef in the family — to your cafe, would she like the food? I need you to be brutally honest. I love my sister when she’s angry, but you might not.
Nicole Chung is the Managing Editor of The Toast.