Business Hours and the Effect on Consumers

North Main Street is one of the locations in front of the capital building which has a large amount of traffic going through it such as consumers, vehicles, and events that happen during the weekends. One of the main focuses I have chosen to do research on are the hours of operation for restaurants within the four block distance that the class walked through Monday, November 24. Having walked down the street, I’ve seen that some of the restaurants or cafes have certain hours in which they are open. The two restaurants that had my interest most were Zoe’s Kitchen and The Whig. Zoe’s Kitchen opens at 10:30 AM but close at 3:00 PM, whereas The Whig, a dive bar on Main Street, is open from 4 or 5 PM. (depending on the day) till 12 or 1 AM the next day.

            Why is that? The reason why the hours of some restaurants are this way is because of how they’re set up; as in their environment and what they serve. Zoe’s Kitchen serves mainly Mediterranean food and are more likely to be busy around brunch or lunch time, meaning that their business happens more within the hours of which they are open. The reason why they are closed a little earlier than their other stores is because of their location. Their location is on Main Street where most people are more likely to make their choices but being in the center of Columbia there’s high competition with the restaurants in The Vista and the bars in Five Points. The Whig however is a dive bar and opens only during the evenings between the hours of either 4 or 5 PM to 12 or 1 AM the next day. Their menu consists of All-American foods with a twist to their menu, an assortment of liquor and alcohol with certain specials throughout the week. They also have bands that play live in their bar and also have a jukebox for consumers to enjoy as well. Consumers in The Whig don’t have to worry about paying for the parking meter because time is not as precious as it would be during the day. Meaning that during the day when the shops and businesses are open time is of the essence since the parking meter times are operational between the hours of 9 AM to 6 PM. During the evening shops and businesses are closed and there is no need to pay for time when trying to enjoy your evening downtown. That’s a good thing about consumers at night because they don’t have to worry about paying more money to enjoy themselves.

            How can this restaurant relate to surveillance in this aspect? Having walked past the restaurant on that Monday and having revisited the place at night it shows that there was a lack of visitation to some of the restaurants on Main Street. Some being Zoe’s and also Atlanta Bread Company. The reason why is because of students from USC wanting to enjoy themselves Downtown in The Vista or in Five Points. Cameras located within that section where Zoe’s is located shows that there is a small amount of activity (people walking passed the indoor camera who are outside). If this restaurant were to open at night though they would probably get sufficient business due to the fact that it is located close to The Hub (a student housing building located on Main Street).  Now to compare to The Whig, it opens at night and stays open till the next day and stays closed during the day until 4 or 5 PM the next day. How come both of these places differ? The reason why both of these places differ in opening and closing hours is because of the environment they display. Meaning is food, atmosphere, location, and crowd. Zoe’s Kitchen is open during the mornings and more likely to get business workers and possibly students coming into their restaurants, whereas The Whig would be notable for receiving couples, large group of friends, people who are wanting to relax and enjoy a beer at the end of their day.

            Now what’s not so great about trying to enjoy a meal at Zoe’s Kitchen? Time; time is of the essence when wanting to eat at Zoe’s because the parking meters are operational between the hours of 9 AM to 6 PM. This basically covers the hours of operation for Zoe’s but only a couple of hours for The Whig. For Zoe’s not only do you have to pay for your meal but you also have to pay for the time you get to spend there. Of course you have to pay to park if you want to eat at The Whig but the parking meters will only last for two hours until they are no use and just for decoration on the streets. This can relate to Taylorism and how Zoe’s Kitchen is in fact working to keep a steady flow of customers coming in and out of the door. The reason why I say this is because the main people to walk in there are business workers and most of the businesses around are banks and small shops. This also sets up a standard for the restaurant to keep which is being able to make delicious food in the time that the customer needs it. Not only are customers paying for their parking; they’re paying for their service and their food as well. Now to go back to The Whig, it does open around 4 or 5 PM depending on the day and you do have to pay for parking, however theres only 2 hours until the parking meters don’t have to be used. Now even though they open late this restaurant opens a couple of hours before the meters go off, I assume it’s because of the parking fee which could relate to any restaurant not opening passed 6 PM. Most of the restaurants that are on Main Street open up before the parking meters become of no use.

            This can relate to Ewalds’ Norms, Discipline and Law reading. Even though the parking meter ends its cycle at 6 PM, citizens are more likely to pay for their parking to avoid anything that could result to them getting a ticket. Then not only will you be paying for your time, and food but you’ll also be paying for that $8 parking ticket well. Ewald’s article states because between the hours of which a parking meter is used it’s normal to pay for the time you are going to be there, and if you expire on your time or you just don’t pay for your time there you are more than likely to be disciplined. People who are out of the “norm” are classified as “risks” because of their actions and what lack of care they have for what could happen to them (Ewald, 143). Having said that, people could sometimes not pay for their parking because they find no need for it when they are already a customer of the restaurant.

Another difference that you can tell from both restaurants is the location of cameras and their surveillance around the specified area. The location of The Whig is underground, however the entry to it shows the staircase that leads to the dive bar. Having looked at the placement of the cameras on Monday, there is a high volume of box cameras instead of traffic cameras. The box cameras that I came across had a total of either 3 or 4 cameras placed on the box, each camera pointing in a specified direction for better viewing of the street and people around. The Whig is more likely to carry surveillance outside of its bar because of high risk for intoxicated people roaming around on the streets. Not only that the cameras are also there because they are another key use for the city since there are no traffic cameras over the traffic lights at the intersection of Gervais and N. Main Street. Whereas the location of Zoe’s Kitchen is less likely to have cameras due to the fact that the restaurant serves no alcohol and most of its business is during the day time. To relate to Foucault’s reading The Eye of Power, consumers realize once they leave The Whig, the law is more than likely to stop them if they try to drive whilst intoxicated. The cameras not only act as a warning for drivers, but also a warning for people who have left the bar. During the times that The Whig is open, police officers on segways are more than likely to be on the streets to survey the area as well to act as a mobile surveillance unit also.

The fact that at night there are police officers and cameras operational during the night agrees with Crary’s reading 24/7. With the use of cameras all-day and the use of police officers on segways there are more people out there who are more likely to follow the law and stay within the norms. When I state norms, I mean by “pretending” to be good and not look as if you are going to be troublesome. When people leave The Whig or Zoe’s Kitchen, I feel that their personality or perspectives change because they somewhat don’t feel safe when they are outside of the restaurant. Even though there are cameras everywhere and they can see you I feel like there are two different worlds or thoughts that go into a person’s mind when they’re on Main Street.

Having looked at the differences in both locations operating hours and their surveillance, you can see a correlation between both restaurants on what they can lack or what have accomplished. For Zoe’s Kitchen, the objective is to keep a steady workflow within the restaurant as well being able to satisfy the customer within the given time period for them not to waste their own time on the parking meter. With The Whig people are more than likely to enjoy themselves without the worry of parking meters, but with the “Eye of Power” that is circulating around them after all the fun for the night (eye of power being the security cameras and the patrolling police officers on the sidewalks at night).


Ewald, Francois. "Norms, Discipline, and the Law." Representations 30.1 (1990): 138-61. University of California Press. Web. 30 June 2008. <>.

Foucault, Michel, and Colin Gordon. "The Eye of Power." Power/knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon, 1980. 146-64. Print.


In response to your comment, the customers behavior does depend on the location and also the time. In Zoe's, time is valuable because they are open during the day when the parking meters are in use and this causes the customers to feel the need to rush their time. Most of the customers that would tend to visit are mainly business workers, students and shoppers on Main Street. The behavior that would be displayed within the restaurant would be professional, friendly and nothing rowdy.

In The Whig, time is of no value because the parking meters are of no use. Customers in The Whig are more likely to be lively and have more fun in their environment since they are in a bar scene. The customers you would expect to see are people over the age of 21, groups of friends, people out of work. The behavior displayed at a bar doesn't stray too far from the behavior you would see from Zoe's, although customers would try and stray away from trying to get intoxicated and embarass themselves on an obnoxious level.

Overall, behavior depends on the environment and the time of day. Whether it's day or night, family restaurant or bar our behavior determines how people around us would survey us as consumers.

I would say that the establishments are creating the framework for the customers they attract, not the other way around. Zoe's, by having lunchtime hours and a location on Main Street is designed to attract a clientele of professionals, particularly working in government and finance. Whereas The Whig, being a bar that opens after the business workday is going to attract a different kind of clientele. Based on the decorum, drink selection, and price range, the Whig can be defined as a dive bar. The Bourbon, which is just a few stores down from the Whig has a top shelf liquor supply and has higher prices. An after hours drinker will choose accordingly, and people prefer to interact with similar people. Those with more money will choose to drink at Bourbon so they can socialize with those of a similar economic strata, and the same goes for the Whig.

All three establishments do not have the clientele they have by accident. The location, the hours of operation, the menu, the prices, and the decorum all create an atmosphere to attract specific demographics of people.

Do you think the change in population in these areas can be due to crime/low income areas? (as we go more north on main street we have homeless shelters/bus stops and lower income areas) 

Do you think businesses try to avoid this area because of that so late night businesses are more likely to open up in the vista or 5 points? Maybe the businesses are scared of trying to start up this area as a late night spot.

Hour changes wouldn't be much help for a business of these sorts. During the day not many people would want to go to a bar during the work break and enjoy a beer. Due to the fact that they want to remain professional. Zoe's on the other would be wasting money on the unnessacary cost of goods if they were to open up at night and have more product then they would need. Overall answer to your question would be No, the hours of which they operate seem to work sufficiently for them.

You say that there is a lack of visitation in the Main Street area because students prefer places such as the Vista or Five Points. Do you think another reason would be that it is out of their budget or out of the way, if they do not live closeby? One must also take take into consideration the cost of these establishments, as well as their hours. I know that Zoë's is only open during lunch, and a lot of restaurants close for a few hours between lunch and dinner. 

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