The bean ‘experience’ leaves a great imprint on ones’ daily life.
By Allen Bowcock, Cafe Culture.
Throughout the years I have fortunately developed a love of a cup of this most amazing bean. Without hesitation, I rate coffee in Australia as one of the best. Following is a range of concepts that a coffee shop needs, I believe, to make it stand out.
Point of Difference
One can drive across this wide brown land and be consumed with McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks, Starbucks and various other big players. However, you get the same offerings each and every time, so I avoid them because I want something special and a great experience with each coffee. I will also point out that you always remember the bad experience, so it is important that your business has a ‘Point of Difference’. If your customer cannot differentiate between you and your competitors, they will more than likely make decisions based on price rather than value, which will inevitably affect your business over time. A point of difference could be related to the mountain you wish to climb, making you stand out in the crowd as mentioned above.
This can come from a number of options and priorities that you believe will make the difference. What I like to hear about places and businesses around town is where, what and why. It has probably never been more critical regarding this matter in the current times. Many of the cafes and coffee shops in my area have been impacted by floods and have been shut down. What immediately comes to mind is resilience and strength to demonstrate character. More importantly, does what you do make you stand out in the community?
The Right People
Getting the right people is vital to your Point of Difference’. We as humans can often be set in our ways and this does unfortunately contribute to ‘unconscious bias’, which can have a significant impost on how we hire staff. What do you look for in staffing? I can travel back to a time when I worked in ‘Employment Services’ and I contracted a trainer and negotiated a base line of traits and qualities to be met in the training outcomes. Some areas of the training had benchmarks that a trainee could be ‘sacked’ from the course if they did not participate in the manner of working on the job. This meant, presentation, attitude, time-management and curiosity about the skills, engagement, communication.
Should that trainee in the journey of the training fail to demonstrate these aspects they were removed from the training. Accordingly, our job placement outcomes reflected a 75% successful work-placements. Further to this was ensuring we chose from the wider sector of our community. Indigenous, multicultural origins and those who had some disability to be part of the broad base of our community. Making sure we knew why they were wanting to work in such an amazing industry.
Problem Solving and Quality Development
Much as anyone would like to go through life and not make any mistakes this does not happen and rather than using this to make judgements or reasons for bad outcomes, mistakes can be a good opportunity to assist in improving quality and developing better ways of doing the job. Foremost, there is a genuine need for every business to have a structure to build, develop and grow to ensure that you improve your product and services.
Workplace Culture & The Value of Good Culture
This area is vital as it will be the precursor of how things will pan out in your workplace. Further to getting the right people it will also be a great ingredient to building the culture within the business and good workplace culture fosters happy and productive outcomes. It is also the petri-dish or culture dish and setting good positive cultures will nurture their growth, which also has a significant impact on ‘Point of Difference’.
Engagement and Inclusion
One of the areas of difference could be the McDonald’s, Hungry Jacks and others, where you meet the same clone every time you make a purchase. In the past I have on the very odd occasion gone to one of these outlets when travelling and I ended up with the same product each time, regardless of the company. It was polite and courteous, but I never felt that there was any display of the character or personality of the customer service representative. Moreover, it felt like ‘wham bam thank-you ma’am’.
Does your business have the people who are open and diligent to ensuring that every single customer feels like they have been a valued and honoured recipient of yours and your employee’s attention?
Having a great coffee is a highlight to the start of a day. Does your cafe or coffee shop work to make each customer feel that they are about to have a moment of pure joy and satisfaction? This can include asking the customer a few poignant questions when you take their order. One of the things that I have experienced in the past is receiving a warm coffee and that is for me a ‘downer’. I recently went to a show and the comedian, Kitty Flanagan had a sketch on older people and that they want hot coffee, and it hit home as I am now one of those people! I want the staff member to be ready to ask how you want your order. This goes for the whole order, it does not take any extra time to do this, but more importantly it adds to the ‘Experience’.
A few pointed questions: Does your cafe demonstrate its culture and genuine commitment to the area by embracing and taking on all of the above with zest and integrity? Does your service, attitudes, interest and quality product clearly align with your messaging? Do your customers feel valued and indeed an important part of what you do and why you do it? Does the atmosphere and service show an honest openness and reception for every single customer? Is your business able to provide easy access to all in the community? Accessibility, engagement, openness and courtesy are key to developing success and respect.