Archives for posts with tag: work

Wherever you go in town and city centres, there are more and more coffee shops. Not easy to decide where to go. Not every “cafés” provide the same kind of customer service and coffee quality. It all depends on what you are after.

Some people like to monopolize a table and seat for hours because they NEED to work online: all this is fine as long as they purchase drink or food regularly. If the business provides free WiFi internet access, the customer needs to show respect and help the espresso bar to run by putting some money in the till!

Sadly, not everyone sees it this way.

Barista life is an interesting one. That person making/preparing coffee can see and observe a lot of things from behind the counter even when busy.

The role is not just about pressing a button and steaming that milk according to the order placed by caffeine lovers. There is a compulsory but natural eye-contact and subtle panning through the room to make sure everyone is fine – no need to ask anything.

Too many people assimilate a barista to be a kind of hipster looking person – the trendy type with beanie, beard, tattoo and other lumberjack shirt. This is just a stereotype… don’t believe what everyone is saying.

What is essential is the quality of the brew: getting the ratio (water – coffee) and the extraction right. The rest is just irrelevant.

Looking cool is too much of a 21st century topic – for some (unknown) reasons individuals like to deal with fashionable members of staff. This is not a guarantee of quality though… it is just the image and appearance. A more classic looking coffee maker can be as good as (if not better) than the regular laid back barista.

Before going further into this, a barista is a knowledgeable and hard working person – sometimes customers believe that they are allowed to treat him/her (because yes, there are female barista too) like a close friend. Why is that? This type of attitude wouldn’t be welcome in other businesses such as bank, civic centre or pharmacy.

Respect your Barista

Respect your Barista

The procedure is straight forward: a person comes to the counter, orders a drink (based on an espresso) and eventual cake, the barista makes that crafted coffee and charge for the various items. After this process and according to the layout and flow of customers, a dialogue can take place on various subjects. It can be about the coffee itself or just a brief “are you enjoying the aroma/flavour of the coffee“?

Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood of Colonna & Small’s in Bath is an expert and almost a scientist when it comes to making the perfect cup.

This interview produced by Shot By Shot Films gives you an idea of what running a successful business is about.

Colonna-Dashwood has won the UK Barista Championship in 2012 and 2014 and finished 5th of the World Barista Championship 2014 (video HERE) – this means that those beverages are without a shadow of a doubt prepared with care.

But things don’t stop here. There is a forthcoming adventure about expanding and…diversification of services: Colonna & Hunter.

This is a lifestyle or even better…real dedication. The amount of hours involved are just enormous. Most of the time, people are surprised to hear how hard it can be to work in a coffee shop. The opening “mise en place” and keeping everything perfectly tidy requires constant attention.

Last but not least, a market survey and strategy are vital, because it would be insane to pick and invest in a commercial property randomly then “wait and see“. The return on invested capital (ROIC) has to bring positive results…this is the aim of all companies.

Spending around 10 hours a day on duty and ready to serve customers without showing signs of tiredness is a job that not everyone could fulfill. This is barista life… when closing the door after such shift, you can understand why that very barista won’t be seen in local pubs/clubs…it is generally a choice!

Black coffee and doughnut

Black coffee and doughnut

Always remember that when you are stepping into a shop, you are a guest, a customer and respecting the premises and the staff is essential. It doesn’t make you the king of the castle!

For some unknown reason, some (not all) regular customers like to be friend with the barista. It is understandable that he/she is making you a nice and delightful coffee every day/morning. However, the barista is a profession and getting his/her name won’t change the quality of the drink. Of course, it is always good to know something about the person on the other side of the counter. But, sometimes a barista likes to be known as “the barista”. It is a (demanding) job…yes, it is indeed.

Running a coffee shop, is not just about steaming milk, pulling espresso shots. There is the constant politeness and customer service whether it is for the first drink of the day or the 300th!

It happens (too often) that some customers believe they can have what they want and fast!

In general there is a drinks’ menu and THIS is what is made by the barista. It takes roughly 1 minute 30 seconds, unless you go for a pour over (filter) or aeropress. Once again, going to an espresso bar and making your own recipe is indirectly breaking the rules.

Aeropress stages

Aeropress stages

Would you go to a restaurant to pick a dish from the menu but ask to have it modified with extra additions?! Probably not! Same rules apply!

Same rules apply

Same rules apply

You can be polite and amicable with members of staff wherever you go, knowing their name won’t affect the quality of the service. This is just an idea from the general public.

Unless the barista introduces him/herself , there is no need to know more details about the person making you a crafted coffee day-in day-out.

In other words, a barista (/bəˈrɪstə/) is a person making and serving coffee as a profession. Skills and knowledge are necessary to do so – otherwise anyone would be able to produce perfectly made cappuccino, latte or flat white.

There is a complete article which has been published in the Telegraph about this kind of attitude towards the hipster making you your daily dose of caffeine – read HERE.

Video by Origin Coffee Roasters

Finding the right balance between ambient noise and background music is rather important, in order to have all kind of customers happy during these essential and busy opening hours.

The way the shop is design is important too.

If the ceiling is too high, it will sound like a canteen or a type of train station departure lounge. No one wants to be uncomfortable when trying to relax and meeting friends. Therefore the acoustic is another detail to consider. A coffee shop is and should remain that special place to enjoy a nice cup of tea/coffee and cakes. It is not a meeting room where tables can be monopolized and only one drink is purchased. It is a work place and primarily a business.

…So why is “work” considered spiritual, but not “business”? Both are things you practice daily, both are things for getting stuff done, both are perfectly ways of expressing our highest selves… Source

motivational-art-joy

Having fun while working is the best way to progress rapidly and positively. If your customers/clients are happy and your employees as well as yourself feel that buzz, it is a winner. Setting the right mood will bring success.

Some people keep saying “work hard play hard“. Is this actually applicable?

What about “give happiness receive happiness“!?

Music can’t be annoying or have high BPM. It is up to the person in charge to get this right. The food and drink can be the best but if that atmosphere is unhealthy, it will be a real fiasco!

The esthetic is essential; it is about finding the right sound which will blend the best in this peculiar space.

It can be compared with the work of a graphic design studio. The feel and look of the overall design need to be comfortable to look at; not too heavy but still memorable.

If a shop (whatever the products or services) has no music, the final touch will be missing. It is certain, that it is hard to please everyone. But, a neutral musical wall will get a personal finish – it doesn’t need to be loud or even be in the charts. What people want is to feel at ease when talking, listening and reading. It mustn’t disturb or be received like an intruder.

Some shops do have über loud sound systems to feed customers’ ears – what is the reason behind it? Maybe two explanations for it:

1/ to attract customers inside and make them feel welcome, especially since some stores have a person greeting them

2/ to get that flow going; staying in to buy then go and avoiding to have too many individuals on the shop floor.

Some fast-food restaurants play different type of music according to the time of the day. When peak-time, it is usually louder and a faster tempo is noticeable. The aim is obvious: control cleverly the time that people will stay. Almost a subliminal message dictated by the rhythm and beats.

However, more and more shoppers are on the move with their own mp3, cutting themselves from the outside world and missing what is actually occurring around them. Maybe not the best option?!

This brings the question: how would people behave and react if shops/stores remained silent?