In your opinion, what are the top three most important areas of focus in order to have an excellent shop?

There are many areas that we focus on in the cafe. Some are imediately useful and others are not so much. What are the top three areas that you feel are key to a shop being the best?

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I was in the process of starting a discussion on this topic, then remembered to look around to see what'd already been said. This thread was a nice discovery.

For the record, I do still agree with what I'd said previously.

What do you think?

Quality product.

Excellent customer service.

Consistency and SPEED.

1) Leadership - long term thinking, active, pro-active, positive, no excuses, 24x7 available leadership. Without it a business is like a ship without a rudder.

2) Customer Experience - long term people like to do business with people they can think of as friends.

3) Product Quality - when I bought our first coffeehouse going on 6 years ago transitioning from 9 years roasting apprenticeship to being my own Roast Master, buying an existing location that at the time was a Deli & Espresso Bar, I thought product quality was number one. Nope IMO I was mistaken. Without 1 & 2 doesn't really matter how great the beans the business won't flourish.


Concerning "customer education". I had to learn to meet customers where they are, and lead them only where they wanted to go. Everybody's coffee Journey is different. For example if a new customer walks in and orders a Caramel Macchiato I no longer explain what it really is versus what a traditional macchiato is (which is correcting them saying they're ignorant in their mind), just say I'll make you something you'll love and make them a damn good muscavado-madagascar vanilla latte using our in house made syrups. Now if someone simply orders a macchiato I'll hold up a mach' demi and say "traditional macchiato?" to be sure it's what they meant. Oh and when a customer seems interested in learning more about any particular coffee topic, if their eyes are glazing over as you talk shut the hell up! Just give bits of information, if they ask a question give a bit more, another question a bit more etc.


The execution of quality cannot exist without leadership? Guidance without quality is poor leadership. And the same goes for "customer experience". Without quality AND leadership, customer experience will suffer. 

Although we all like lists,the reality is: Everything is intertwined. It's more about having a sound philosophy and having the wherewithal to execute it. 

John I expected that type of reply! Actually 99.99% sure we're on the same page. Of course nothing exists in a vacuum but rather in synergy.


However I will say IMO based on experience consistent persistent execution of quality across the board of varied workers is highly likely not to exist without consistent persistent quality leadership. Which is why I put leadership in the #1 position above product. (While not a single other person even mentioned leadership.) Poor leadership, leaders with a soured negative attitude, will bring a location down even with the highest quality beans, competition level beverage standards etc. Sometimes gradually sometimes fast. With a single location owners are often/usually the key leaders. When multiple locations come into play each location must have the right leader(s) or the location will die. In the end the buck stops at the Top of course, but having the right people with delegated leadership responsibilities is critical, extremely critical, to successful growth and survival.


Well said.

Agreed. Can't believe we missed leadership on the last go-round. Glad you jumped in.

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