I was curious what kind of policy other shops had on charging for remade drinks when a customer forgets to tell the barista a critical factor like "decaf." this has happened twice to me today. both times the customer ordered a drink without mentioning they wanted it decaf, then (after i had served the beverage) asked to have it replaced with a decaf one. the first customer offered to pay for the second beverage (i declined) while the second customer wasn't polite enough to offer.


what is your policy on this? do you just comp the second drink?

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Louise said:

does it really happen everyday? in my case i found it rare maybe once a week or in a rush time only. I think the cashier or barista should ask every customer with the detail question to prevent some loss like that...

Louise, given the sheer number of potential variations on a drink, this seems pretty impractical. The process of ordering a drink shouldn't be an interview. Many don't mind, but you can tell that for some customers, every additional question reduces their overall satisfaction with the transaction.


We try to keep the process of ordering as simple as possible to avoid the "just give me my damn coffee!" response.


Alex Meece said:
...My adivce is that the best thing you can do is remember these people who try this remember there drink, preferences, and face. Then when your ringing them up for the same thing next time and they don't ask for these modifiers ask them if they want it. I would always say something like "You normally get this with soy right?" just because it would make them feel remembered and important and not screw my shop out of money daily.

Alex, I think that's a great way to respond to this situation... assuming that you schedule staff in such a way that they see the same customers on a regular basis. We overlap for a couple of minutes at shift change so that we can communicate experiences like this to each other. This keeps everyone on the same page with "special customers". It also creates a positive customer service experience "oh, you remember how I like my drink!" out of a negative situation.

You seldom win any "peeing" contest with a customer.  If you don't want them to come back and in the process tell another dozen people about it then you can make a big deal out of it.
This issue may have happened to you twice, but it was a simple mistake by two unrelated individual customers.  You will get more customer approval when spilling a drink for a remake than if you charge for the remake. 


For complicated drink orders, I find eliminates customer confusion to repeat the drink order back to the customer for verification.


When dining in a fancy restaurant, if you send back the bottle of wine for an issue, the customer is not charged and the restaurant replaces it with another bottle for acceptance - not actually the same issues but a good example of positive customer service and the cost of doing business.


Keep track of the customer’s remakes, and see if it is the same customer of even the same Barista who has the issues regularly.  It may be an opportunity to talk with the customer directly about how they can order better, or to improve the customer service of a Barista.

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