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# Please rate my AWA! Kudos for reviews

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Joined: 10 Aug 2013
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Please rate my AWA! Kudos for reviews [#permalink]  19 Aug 2013, 13:47
The following appeared in a memo from the owner of the Juniper Cafe, a small local coffee shop in the downtown area of a small American city:

“We must reduce overhead here at the cafe. Instead of opening at 6am weekdays, we will now open at 8am. On weekends, we will only be open from 9am until 4pm. The decrease in hours of operation will help save money because we won't be paying for utilities, employee wages, or other operating costs during the hours we are closed. This is the best strategy for us to save money and remain in business without having to eliminate jobs.”

The decision by the owner of Juniper Cafe to cut back on hours of operation in order to stay in business is based on several unjustified assumptions, the most egregious assumption being that there are no other important reasons that profits are down besides longer hours.

Elaborating further on this flaw, of course decreasing hours of operation will save some money, but there could be more important reasons why profit is down at Juniper Cafe. The owner does not explain why the hours of operation being too long is the main reason why overall profitability is low. It could be that the main reason why business is suffering is that their coffee is bad. Or perhaps their coffee is good, but they only have two varieties, insufficient to satisfy the larger clientele frequenting downtown. Or perhaps their customer service is poor? It could be that there is a nationwide recession that is responsible for decreased sales. Finally, it could be that a combination of the above factors are the main reason for the downturn in business. Thus, these questions need to be answered by the owner in order to assess if the decision to cut back on hours of operations is the best solution. Otherwise, if it is simply that customer service is poor, the owner should simply spend more time training his/her barristas, or finding new ones, would result in a reversal in business losses, whereas simply reducing hours of operation would do nothing to make the cafe more profitable.

Even aside from the first flaw, even if reducing hours of operation is really for the best, the owner makes a second unwarranted assumption. The owner assumes that the early morning hours of the days are the best hours to pare off. But the memo does not explain, of all the possible hours in the business day, why the cafe has decided to eliminate the hours just before the workday begins. This would seem to be the time of day when people need caffeine stimulation the most. It could be that a better time to cut back on hours would at the end of the day, whether in the evening or late afternoon. So, the memo needs to show that nobody in that city goes to work that early, for example, or otherwise explain why the other hours of the day are more profitable than the early morning hours.

Again, even besides the previous two flaws identified, let me address a third flaw, which is that the memo assumes that reducing hours is the best way to reduce overhead. But it could be that there are other items in their expenditure which are even more expensive, such as an inefficient heating or cooling system, or a disproportionately expensive rental space. The memo must show that they have eliminated other more expensive overhead items, in order for their argument to have a hope of being acceptable.

Thus, the decision reduce hours of operation in order to stay in business is based on several unjustified assumptions, the most egregious of them being that there are no other important reasons that profits are down.
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Re: Please rate my AWA! Kudos for reviews [#permalink]  21 Aug 2013, 15:48
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
bermanator wrote:
The following appeared in a memo from the owner of the Juniper Cafe, a small local coffee shop in the downtown area of a small American city:

“We must reduce overhead here at the cafe. Instead of opening at 6am weekdays, we will now open at 8am. On weekends, we will only be open from 9am until 4pm. The decrease in hours of operation will help save money because we won't be paying for utilities, employee wages, or other operating costs during the hours we are closed. This is the best strategy for us to save money and remain in business without having to eliminate jobs.”

The decision by the owner of Juniper Cafe to cut back on hours of operation in order to stay in business is based on several unjustified assumptions, the most egregious assumption being that there are no other important reasons that profits are down besides longer hours.

Elaborating further on this flaw, of course decreasing hours of operation will save some money, but there could be more important reasons why profit is down at Juniper Cafe. The owner does not explain why the hours of operation being too long is the main reason why overall profitability is low. It could be that the main reason why business is suffering is that their coffee is bad. Or perhaps their coffee is good, but they only have two varieties, insufficient to satisfy the larger clientele frequenting downtown. Or perhaps their customer service is poor? It could be that there is a nationwide recession that is responsible for decreased sales. Finally, it could be that a combination of the above factors are the main reason for the downturn in business. Thus, these questions need to be answered by the owner in order to assess if the decision to cut back on hours of operations is the best solution. Otherwise, if it is simply that customer service is poor, the owner should simply spend more time training his/her barristas, or finding new ones, would result in a reversal in business losses, whereas simply reducing hours of operation would do nothing to make the cafe more profitable.

Even aside from the first flaw, even if reducing hours of operation is really for the best, the owner makes a second unwarranted assumption. The owner assumes that the early morning hours of the days are the best hours to pare off. But the memo does not explain, of all the possible hours in the business day, why the cafe has decided to eliminate the hours just before the workday begins. This would seem to be the time of day when people need caffeine stimulation the most. It could be that a better time to cut back on hours would at the end of the day, whether in the evening or late afternoon. So, the memo needs to show that nobody in that city goes to work that early, for example, or otherwise explain why the other hours of the day are more profitable than the early morning hours.

Again, even besides the previous two flaws identified, let me address a third flaw, which is that the memo assumes that reducing hours is the best way to reduce overhead. But it could be that there are other items in their expenditure which are even more expensive, such as an inefficient heating or cooling system, or a disproportionately expensive rental space. The memo must show that they have eliminated other more expensive overhead items, in order for their argument to have a hope of being acceptable.

Thus, the decision reduce hours of operation in order to stay in business is based on several unjustified assumptions, the most egregious of them being that there are no other important reasons that profits are down.

This is a good essay made better by the fact that it does not feel formulaic. I would score it a 4.5 or 5. The places this essay could improve is first in the introduction. As written it is a bit short and could use another sentence of explanation. the second improvement is to remove the informal language used in the 3rd paragraph. The "let me address a third flaw" seems unnecessarily informal in the essay and it actually appears you are searching for a good transition that has turned into a bit of a jumble. It would have been better to simply use a topic sentence such as a third flaw is that the memo assumes reducing hours is the best way to reduce overhead.
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Re: Please rate my AWA! Kudos for reviews   [#permalink] 21 Aug 2013, 15:48
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