This is an article that was published in its entirety in the ‘Get Reading’ newspaper in January 2013. We put in on Facebook and, rather unexpectedly, it went viral, peaking at 30,000 views in just a week or so. It was a bit of fun, so we thought we’d repost it here.
I feel I must write in response to your silver surfer article in the Get Reading publication on January 4th entitled ‘why does everything cost so much in the town centre?’
I actually write from two perspectives, as a slightly grumpy ‘old’ man (less of the ‘old’ please, I’m in my early forties) but also as a business owner of a premises ….. read whole thing
One thing I DON’T miss about Quantum now that the cafes are all sold is dealing with customer issues over printing. Although it’s the same in every public printing outlet, it was just a constant hassle. Here’s a light hearted blog I wrote in 2017 lamenting the problem.
Ah. Printing. The most necessary of internet cafe services and, perhaps surprisingly, the most contentious! You see, dear reader, this is not about quality of prints (which we always ensure are top notch), or the availability of printing services (we have several printers and even some hot swaps on standby in case of total failure!), this is about the most dangerous issue of all – we’re not in control!
At first glance that makes sense, right? I mean who wants to ask permission to print and have someone nose through what you’re printing on your screen? Much easier to create a process whereby customers can print what they want, when they want AND can see it before it goes to print, thereby checking numbers of pages, removing anything they don’t want to pay for, and making sure it only goes to the printer they select, ie colour or black or white. It’s a great system, it works perfectly and infallibly at a technical level. And yet, it has created more customer service issues than every other issue we have ever faced put together! How, I hear you ask, is this possible?
Continue reading “We need to talk about Printing” →
Another blog originally posted on the now defunct quantumwebcafe.com blog site making a case for keeping the prices in the cafe as they were – unchanged for an impressive 17 years!
We had a complaint the other day.
We don’t get them very often, so they do stand out when they come along. This one was about our prices. Apparently, they’re too high.
Of course, we’ve never competed on the ‘pile it high and sell it cheap’ approach that almost every internet cafe did back in the day and instead focused on good quality and secure equipment, customer service and a nice environment. It’s much harder to manage, much more expensive to run and you need to maintain a good team at all times to make it work (also very tough), but in my view it’s worth it. It always has been. Continue reading “21st Century Tech at 20th Century Prices?” →
It’s a fair question, and one that comes up from time to time. Why, at Quantum Web Cafe, the UK’s longest running internet cafe and games zone, do we mainly provide retro gaming on the PCs?
Well, first, we’d better clarify our own generalization. There are actually modern games installed on the PCs as well, but these are mostly on-line role playing or strategy games such as World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Hearthstone, Diablo III, Star Wars The Old Republic and so on. And many games, such as Dota 2, Counterstrike GO, Team Fortress 2 and so on are regardless as current classics, still played by millions and also installed ready to go on the PCs in the gameszone. Day of Defeat Source, the Half Life variations, Left for Dead 1 and 2 aren’t arguably old enough yet to be called truly retro, but it won’t be long!
Continue reading “So, why Retro Gaming?” →
It’s not often we recruit at Quantum Web Cafe, but it does seem we are recruiting for aaaagggeeesss sometimes. We do take our time, that’s for sure. And for good reason. First, most people struggle to follow the application process and rule themselves out at the first hurdle, and second, well, to be frank, we’re a bit fussy about who we let loose on our customers.
We’ve been around now for twenty years and, at our peak, with several high street locations, we had 23 employees. If you do the maths, we’ve hired over two hundred people over those two decades. Continue reading “Zen and the art of job applications” →
Simple little tale and completely and utterly true. It happened in Quantum Web Café no more than two weeks ago, a web café I own in Reading. Although fully staffed, I sometimes I work the shop floor myself to keep my hand in. It’s also a great way to get real feedback and really understand any issues that the guys may have raised.
It was a warm sunny morning and I’d not long opened the store. I do like working the shop floor sometimes as I get to meet the customers, the vast majority of whom are fun, respectful, polite or at the very least harmless. The grumpy or difficult ones are actually few and far between, possibly because we’re pretty laid back ourselves. There are many regulars both for internet and just lunches etc, but everyday we also see new customers coming through, which is great.
This particular morning, a very elderly gentleman shuffled into the café. He was probably in his late eighties or early nineties, but well dressed, neatly groomed and clearly still mobile, albeit with the aid of a walking stick. I gave him my usual cheery ‘good morning’ and asked if he needed any help. Continue reading “The old man, the cafe and me.” →
Something happened yesterday that inspired me to write this post. It’s completely true, and, whilst not exactly a world changing event, it was so entirely unexpected and against the grain of my own self-programmed stereotypes, I had to share it.
You may remember from our Facebook page that the BBC came in and did some filming for the ‘Your Money’ programme a few days ago. This isn’t that unusual, a film crew from one of the big four often appear for something or other, and this shoot was nothing out of the ordinary. The article was about promoting the discounts you can get through your Reading Bus Pass or NFC enabled mobile phone at Quantum (and other retailers in Reading) using Molo. If you don’t know about this, by the way, you should really check it out because if you DO have a Reading Bus Pass, you’ll already have all the offers around the town centre loaded on it. But anyway … Continue reading “Caught out – by today’s youth …” →
Confused? Don’t be!
Remember how ‘Marathon’ rebranded to ‘Snickers?’ or ‘Jif’ rebranded to ‘Cif’? or ‘Oil of Ulay’ to ‘Oil of Olay’? Well, this is absolutely nothing like that.
First, those rebrands were all completely ridiculous, cost thousands, even millions, of pounds, second, they were unnecessary and even annoying from a consumer’s point of view and, finally, these were products that are purchased by thousands of people daily. we, on the other hand, have one café in the centre of Reading which serves four people daily, half of whom have come in by accident because they are looking for the cobblers that closed down ten years ago.
Ok, so that last bit may be a tiny bit understated for comedy effect, but the fact is the café has definitely changed name. I can prove it too … Continue reading “So which is it? Quarks or Quantum?” →
This is simply a retelling one of those moments in life where you become aware of something and have an urge to take a specific action. The trouble is that the action you want to take is one of those that you normally only see in a scene from a film, which always either ends well for the hero of that scene, or, by design, feeds the story along in a specific way for a specific purpose. How many times have we all seen or witnessed something and wanted to be the one who intervened in an ‘I’m Spartacus’ attention-demanding way? How many times have we afterwards said to people who experienced the same thing “I was going to say this” or “I was going to do that” only to have them reply “me too!” and yet none of us did. Trouble is, it takes some serious balls to that, but even that’s not really the problem. It’s more a question of doubt – could the action create more problems that it solves? Could it perceived incorrectly and therefore have the wrong motives assigned? What if the information you’re working on has been gotten ‘illegally?’ Where do you stand then? Continue reading “Destiny vs embarrassment” →
Originally published in June 2013, this blog was transferred over from the now defunct ‘quantumwebcafe.com’ site before it’s closure in 2019. The cafes were originally called ‘Quarks’ but were later rebranded to ‘Quantum’ when the name was sold with the Guildford branch in 2014.
One of the things we are asked most is where our name came from. The formal definitions and history are shown below, but the idea was that since a quark is compenent of all matter, it’s a quantum version of what we represent in the real world. In other words, we, as a physical premises, are a gateway to the rest of the world via the internet. We are a mere component of something far greater. Deep isn’t it? There’s that and the fact we thought it was really snazzy sounding.
Here’s the formal definition: Continue reading “What is a Quark anyway?” →