A mix of monomer and perm solution is no longer the scent of choice in the top salons and day spas across the country. Many salons have implemented beverage service into their offerings, creating a new retail profit center. At a few salons, like Cuticles in Indialantic, Fla, you will find guests relaxing in a pedicure chair while sipping a complimentary glass of Zinfandel. “The evening clients like to unwind with a beer or a glass of wine,” explains owner Faith Glionna. Day spas, on the other hand, are taking this service one step further. Jennifer Lynn Holmes, spa director for Zano Salon and Day Spas in Batavia, Ill., explains that Zano serves healthy lunches on elegant plates, with goblets used for the beverage. “We work with a gourmet catering service that provides everything from our muffins to our spa lunches. We change our menu seasonally to provide variety for our regular spa guests,” she says.

The Greenhouse Day Spa, located in New York City, houses its own cafe, serving salads, pasta, and light pastries. Food is served either in the cafe by cafe staff, or by the manicurist in a private manicure banquet. “For busy New Yorkers on the go, our private manicure or pedicure banquets with private TV monitors and a side table offer a comfortable station where they can sip a latte or herbal tea while catching up on the latest headline news,” explains public relations manager Kiki Osada. To serve food, Greenhouse obtained a permit from the City of New York Department of Health and the staff must follow health codes and meet follow-up inspections.

But, before you bite into this venture, salon consultant Carol Shanks of Prospeak in Denver has a couple of suggestions:

  • No alcohol! If you choose to serve alcohol, check with your insurance company to make sure you’re covered if anything should happen.
  • Coffee, tea, soda, and juice are all good complimentary beverages.
  • To ensure that juice is fresh and to prevent waste, serve individual canned juices.
  • Take into consideration the loss in profits when food products spoil.
  • Make sure your staff is not eating the inventory.
  • Food, hair, and chemicals do not mix! Keep all food covered and away from service areas.
  • Check with your health department and local municipalities for food service guidelines and permits.
  • Consider working with a local catering service. It could save on spoilage, and circumvent legal problems if something goes wrong. Also, health code requirements may not be as strict if the food is not stored or prepared on-site.

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