Instead of calling a customer by their drink order to receive it, it's more personable to ask for their name. And who doesn't like to hear their name?

In your experience, do customers offer their real name or say a "coffee name" (to make it easier to pronounce or be cute)? Or does this mainly occur at large franchises?

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For the most part this is how it is at our shop, unless we are having a very very busy time. Our espresso bar is directly opposite our cash register so a customer can order and pay at once and then just step to their left and wait for their drink. This allows for the barista at the register and/or at the bar to talk to the customer the whole time. It helps that we are in a small town and that we have notoriously friendly baristas, but once we see a customer 5 times or so chances are we know their name anyway.
This is, IMHO, the best practice but I know it's not always possible in high-volume shops or ones with high barista turnover.
To answer the original question though... I like calling out names rather than drinks. And this "coffee name" business is something I only recently heard of on NPR.

Bryan Wray said:
It's obviously not going to work in every shop (actually, it won't work in most shops) but I like the concept of the person who greets the customer taking them through the whole process.
You take their order away from the register. Fast food chains were the ones who started the concept of taking the order in front of the register. We have a hard enough time being compared to the fast food company of our industry without making it feel even more like a fast food joint.
You talk about the drink you are creating for them while you are creating it. If they aren't familiar with your shop you talk about your coffee model in general. If they are familiar you talk about what you are getting off of the espresso/coffee that they are drinking that day. The milk is really sweet today, the chocolate is really popping on the 'spro, the fruit is more forward today... whatever.

Put the drink (that you just knowingly explained as you were crafting it) into their hands. Look them in the eye and ask them to taste it before they do anything else. Do they like it? Do they get something different than you? How does it compare to ______'s?

Oh... yeah... the money part... well that's down here (and you head to the register).

Like I said, it's not going to work for most shops, but when it can work it's amazing. Your baristas all need to have very similar technique because multiple people are using the grinder/machine etc. Then again, your baristas should have really similar techniques anyway, I suppose. There is also the whole "more than one hand in the register" thing that a lot of shops try to avoid, so that makes the model not work for some people...

...but at the end of the day if you can pull off that system I think it's pretty great.


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