So I'm writing a class for our wholesale customers called, "Coffee Industry Fundamentals," (it was originally called "Elucidating Exogenous Variables in Coffee Futures: An Aggregate of Impending Retail Expediencies," but that was a bit cheeky sounding) that briefly touches on the basics of growing, processing, importing and roasting of coffee.
The bulk of the class will be focusing on green coffee pricing - why it is where it is, how long it will stay there (speculative, obviously), and how they as cafe owners and retailers can adjust their businesses to remain profitable in these uncertain times.
There has been a tremendous response so far, a good number of RSVPs, and I want to ensure that I'm giving our customers value for their time. So I wanted to ask you all what you thought was the most important thing a coffee retailer could remember in a market like this (rising prices, static demand). What information would you want to impart to wholesale customers to give them hope, and lift their spirits?
The number one most overlooked factor in retail coffee businesses is customer service. Not just "we will do anything you tell us to do" style of customer service but an intelligent, genuine, and discerning customer service. Building into a team the mindset of customer satisfaction and elation withing the stores chosen quality menu context.
Definitely include some terminology and tasting terms/practices with them. When I train new employees, we always start the shift with a coffee tasting ... and we've caught a few bad batches that way too. There's nothing worse than an employee describing your coffee as "bitter" to a customer.
Another thing I like to train them on are flavor pairings ... like how an Almond Biscotti goes really well with a mellow Columbian, that sort of thing. Not only are they upselling product, but they are truly offering a fuller & richer experience to the customer by doing so.
Swap out employee with wholesale client, you know what I mean.