Coffee Business Matters: Service Beyond the Cup

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Coffee Business Matters: Service Beyond the Cup

Every single day, millions of people indulge in a cup of the sweet nectar of life we call coffee. If you partake in this daily ritual, recent studies suggest your cup of coffee stands proudly among the 330 millions cups of coffee that are daily consumed in the US alone. That’s a lot of coffee! With such staggering statistics, it’s easy to see why many individuals want to open a coffee shop. In today’s business environment however, new and seasoned coffee shop owners must realize that it is simply not good enough to rely on the strength of coffee alone.  Your coffee shop might have the best coffee in the city, a prime real estate location, and superior marketing methods but if the service or experience are lacking, your customers will overlook everything else and walk away with a lasting negative impression. 

A successful coffee shop owner knows that the coffee business is primarily a business of meeting a social need in society. The baristas performing right at the front lines make an immediate impression on your guests; in the most realistic sense, they are your coffee shop experience. To win or even survive in the competing service battles of coffee chains down the road, customer satisfaction should be everybody’s business. The majority of your guests are probably on their way to work and they simply don’t have the time to wait in line for 15 minutes while their drink is being made. For this reason, coffee tends to be an impulse buy. Those few moments of service delivery are your shop’s make or break moment when reputation is either confirmed or denied. So why do your guests come into your coffee shop? A couple reasons: of course, they are coming in for your coffee, but in reality, they are coming in for the experience. It makes them feel good. If you give your customers value, your customers will render the equivalent amount of profit that value deserves. Profits are not the only goal, but they are a standard of measuring how well you meet the needs of your customers.

Design A Culture In Your Coffee Business

How do you design a culture in your coffee business that emphasizes high standards of value recognized by your guests? It begins in your coffee shop business plan, with your hiring system. Most coffee shop owners tend to hire based on experience, but when it really boils down to it: you can teach skills, you can’t teach passion or personality, those traits are ingrained. Therefore the number one quality to look for in prospective employees is not previous experience per se, but personality and passion for specialty coffee. No amount of barista classes can change a person’s ingrained attitude; there simply aren’t any barista classes in friendliness. Hire people who like other people and are motivated to serve them.  Customers who love your baristas will come back 9 times out of 10 even if your barista messes up. (However, great service will not offset regularly bad coffee. You have to deliver on both sides.) Also, the expression “old habits die hard” is he truth in many cases when it comes to previous experience. It’s a lot easier to provide your employees the appropriate barista training that is in line with your shop culture from the beginning, than it is trying to change habits learned from prior coffee shop experience. That being said, coffee shop business owners should also require ongoing barista training throughout the year, even for their seasoned employees. Investing in ongoing barista training helps your staff stay on top of their game and up to date on trends and skills, which gives them a sense of purpose and a feeling that they are working for more than just a paycheck; it lets them know that you value them. In short, you are giving them some daily meaning along with their daily bread. Poles taken recently by Forbes suggest that employees who gain the most personal fulfillment from their vocation tend to work for leaders who inspire their best. As a coffee shop business owner, you are that leader and you set the standard that your baristas will follow. Your goal should therefore be to provide an atmosphere that motivates your employees to provide outstanding service without dampening morale.

If you are a seasoned coffee shop owner and recognize that the standards set above were not integrated into your coffee shop business plan philosophy, it’s never too late to start fixing the items addressed and see the growth in your coffee shop business. For the individuals who may be considering getting into the coffee business but have not yet taken any action, consider the customer value ideas listed here and find a way to integrate these into yourcoffee shop business plan. This will aid in the pursuit of your coffee business dream with a sense of confidence in the success of your business. As with all merits worth pursuing have fun with it, happy brewing.

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