Walking up and down the streets of a city, town or village it is obvious that the coffee culture is the sector which has certainly spread the most in the past decade.

A real paradox when the United Kingdom was for many years the home of (cream) tea and biscuits.

The culture and demand is changing. People are going abroad more often. This means more tourists in the UK, but also more Brits are visiting Europe too. Seeing all this cafés with the eventual croissant has directed some entrepreneurs towards a new direction: the opening of their own coffee shop, with a real character and some quality roasted beans.

However, some boxes have to be ticked to get the right formula. And this includes not only the drinks but also the atmosphere and overall the necessity to have that passion to produce and present the cup with always the same standard.

Even if this is only a hot drink with a snack on the side, it is vital to get the right finish as customers can be very fussy especially when the amount to pay can hover around five Pounds per person. It has to be perfect!

The barista is no more just a person pouring a cup of instant coffee from a cafetiere. His/her job is to actually craft what the customer is asking for. This means that a flat white should be served with a double shot of espresso, but if the customer is willing to have an extra shot then this will happen (an extra cost could then be added to the original price).

Always ask about the chocolate/cinnamon sprinkles on the top of the steamed milk.

There is even a national championship: The UKBC – a very tight competition.

Being behind the counter is about listening to the client but also socialising and building a rapport with people either drinking-in or just having a take-away. Both are important for a coffee shop.

The take-away cup will be carried in the street which will bring an urban presence about your business and potentially bring more footfall to your premises.

When stepping inside for the first or the tenth time the feeling should remain the same: ambiance, happiness, relaxing… if this is not there as yet, it would be important to work on it.

Talking without too much jargon is important as well. Sometimes first time visitors could be intimidated because the coffee world is so vast and there are quite a lot of different beans available on the market that a customer might say “I just want a regular black coffee” maybe because the barista isn’t clear enough regarding the difference between a latte and a chai latte! Indeed, this could be confusing. To rectify this, it is all about open communication and explaining what makes the difference.

There is nothing to hide when preparing the drink: picking the cup, steaming the milk and  giving this extra close-up opportunity when the latte art takes place. Being transparent about how the business works will keep regulars coming but also newcomers because the positive attitude will go around and remember that social media can do the rest too.

Latte art

Photo by Dan Lacher on Flickr

Once you have the right barista, tasty beans and coffee machine it is also vital to get a prime location for the business. Asking for guidance to a property services expert is certainly a safe choice because what you consider or see as a great place doesn’t always mean the busiest. The shop front needs to be noticed either by the fonts/typography used for your main sign or with that outside seating area similar to the ones in Italy or France – as long as it is also kept clean from dirty cups and ashtrays.

Finally, the aim is to blend a delicious drink, make the customer feel at ease with a friendly and warm welcome, as well as – of course – increase the shop’s daily takings. Looking after the clientele should create a snowball effect.

Remember, no need to be the best in everything…just know what you are talking about will be a great asset.

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