Hey, guys. We're a 20 year-old high-volume business and currently undergoing a transition in ownership/management and our new owner wants us to be to more of a third wave shop. I'm being reassigned from manager to a more coffee-specific role, updating all of our outdated systems, writing a detailed plan regarding everything that needs to happen within the next year or so, writing a new training manual, implementing new programs, hiring and retraining staff, going out and making relationships with new roasters and distributers, etc, etc. I basically have a lot of work on my hands. I was wondering if anybody could help me out with some tips and possibly supply me with a training manual I could modify to my needs.

Additionally, We're located in Reno, NV, and all of our local roasters aren't really at the level of quality we wish them to be. I was wondering if anybody could suggest a good roaster perhaps in Central/Northern California that would have the resources to help out with such a transition by offering training, consulting, and whatnot. 

 

Sorry for the large number of questions, haha. I just have a lot on my mind regarding this. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Ryan

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Ryan...

Congrats on the new opportunity! I am currently consulting and working with a friend of mine who has a great little shop here in Syracuse. We are making a lot of changes...it is much easier to make these changes with a small group of people.

To make a shop "third wave" is a bit of a misnomer. The idea behind many shops that people tend to define as such is the idea of progressive excellence. It is an attitude and is something found in people not in systems. Your main challenge is not buying equipment and designing a bar that "looks" a certain way but training a staff to "be" a certain way. You can buy all the equipment and have the cool minimal menus but all of it is just white wash if the staff does not own the idea and mission of the shop.

You have such a unique opportunity to do a quality job here without the pretense that tends to find its way into many "3rd wave" places. 20 years in business means that someone knows business well enough to provide their customers with a service they like enough to return for. Please don't let this transition turn your staff into anything less than friendly, caring, and service driven "people" people.

 

 

I guess I should have phrased that differently that "becoming third wave". We're all about hospitality and creating unique space for people (that's why we've been around for 20 years). We've just come to the conclusion that in order to remain competitive in our market, we just really have to step up our game in terms of quality and care were put into our products. We used to be the best coffee shop in our town, but as the industry has evolved, every new shop that opens is a little better than the last. We're unfortunately no longer the place people go to get a really good cup of coffee. We have the equipment (a bunch of Mazzer's and Linea) so it's basically just about restructuring everything, working on our coffee infastructure and making our employees excited about things. 


Deferio said:

Ryan...

Congrats on the new opportunity! I am currently consulting and working with a friend of mine who has a great little shop here in Syracuse. We are making a lot of changes...it is much easier to make these changes with a small group of people.

To make a shop "third wave" is a bit of a misnomer. The idea behind many shops that people tend to define as such is the idea of progressive excellence. It is an attitude and is something found in people not in systems. Your main challenge is not buying equipment and designing a bar that "looks" a certain way but training a staff to "be" a certain way. You can buy all the equipment and have the cool minimal menus but all of it is just white wash if the staff does not own the idea and mission of the shop.

You have such a unique opportunity to do a quality job here without the pretense that tends to find its way into many "3rd wave" places. 20 years in business means that someone knows business well enough to provide their customers with a service they like enough to return for. Please don't let this transition turn your staff into anything less than friendly, caring, and service driven "people" people.

 

 

Count me as one operator who prefers not to be regarded as "third wave" as it holds many negative connotations in my mind - at the forefront of which is poor regards for the desires of the customer and a general attitude of pretentiousness.

 

I would be happy to supply you with a copy of one of our training manuals, specifically on the parameters for espresso brewing and customer service for $2,500.00.

 

 

Ryan...

I think you should right your own training manual. It will force you to learn along the way and grow you as a professional. Not to mention make you even more of an asset to you team. I would avoid using another places manual.

I was merely wanting to see how other places structure their manuals, not necessarily copy them verbatim. I'm already pretty well versed on espresso and customer service, so I'll have to decline on your offer, haha. =)

Jay Caragay said:

Count me as one operator who prefers not to be regarded as "third wave" as it holds many negative connotations in my mind - at the forefront of which is poor regards for the desires of the customer and a general attitude of pretentiousness.

 

I would be happy to supply you with a copy of one of our training manuals, specifically on the parameters for espresso brewing and customer service for $2,500.00.

 

 

Maybe "3rd place" is a better way of saying what you mean. I think coffee shops are by default a 3rd place(third place def.) You still must focus on delivering the best possible drinks and service to make it a 3rd place any one wants to hang out at. like Jay alluded to don't forget or leave behind the loyal customers that you already have.

 

Jay - that's a bargain for your training materials...

In my opinion the most difficult thing you are going to face isn't going to be teaching latte art or focusing on the straight shot instead of the syrup.  It isn't going to be the possibility of getting rid of the big sizes, the task of seeking out a new roaster and the concentration to make sure it all happens in the right timeline.  It isn't a training manual, it isn't a pour over bar, I'm not even totally sure that it's a specific attitude to have or not to have...

 

The hardest part is going to be the fact that you are a 20 year old business.

 

You have customers that have been coming to your shop for 20 years and they know how they want your shop (which btw, will be referred to as "their shop")to look and feel and "be."  The most important part of your entire transition is going to be getting the point across to your regulars, your foundation of your business, that you are excited about the change and they should be too.  Keep them informed and involved at every step of the way.  Have your baristas ready to fight the fires that are inevitable with a change of this sort.  You are going to get asked questions that have answers as easy as "because this truly is a better product," but the person on the other side is never going to believe it unless you have a solid, caring staff that is ready and willing to hold their hand as you show them why.

 

As far as roasters... Temple in Sacramento continually manages to blow my mind with their coffee.  I'd seriously consider them.  Hit up Benza on here and see what he says.

 

Good luck on a really enormous task :)

-bry

Thanks, Bryan.

Our business is currently built upon the typical "2nd wave" volume model common to Starbucks and the like. Granted we currently have much better coffee than the big chains, we do offer 12-16-20 ounce drinks, lots of flavors, blended drinks, etc. These options currently match our demographic, but considering the success of the one and only "3rd wave" shop in our city, I think we can bring in a lot of those customers into our shop with options of that caliber. With that said, I'll probably keep parts of the current program intact (some popular flavors and a few blended drinks) in order to not alienate our customers that have been coming here for years. Hopefully by instilling this greater sense of craft in our baristas, the regular customers will be enticed to try whatever we're working on. We'll see what happens. 

 

 

Bryan Wray said:

In my opinion the most difficult thing you are going to face isn't going to be teaching latte art or focusing on the straight shot instead of the syrup.  It isn't going to be the possibility of getting rid of the big sizes, the task of seeking out a new roaster and the concentration to make sure it all happens in the right timeline.  It isn't a training manual, it isn't a pour over bar, I'm not even totally sure that it's a specific attitude to have or not to have...

 

The hardest part is going to be the fact that you are a 20 year old business.

 

You have customers that have been coming to your shop for 20 years and they know how they want your shop (which btw, will be referred to as "their shop")to look and feel and "be."  The most important part of your entire transition is going to be getting the point across to your regulars, your foundation of your business, that you are excited about the change and they should be too.  Keep them informed and involved at every step of the way.  Have your baristas ready to fight the fires that are inevitable with a change of this sort.  You are going to get asked questions that have answers as easy as "because this truly is a better product," but the person on the other side is never going to believe it unless you have a solid, caring staff that is ready and willing to hold their hand as you show them why.

 

As far as roasters... Temple in Sacramento continually manages to blow my mind with their coffee.  I'd seriously consider them.  Hit up Benza on here and see what he says.

 

Good luck on a really enormous task :)

-bry

north/central cali roasters:

Barefoot

Verve

Blue Bottle

Ritual

Four Barrel 

Ecco

Sight Glass

Equator

Are all phenomenal, depends what you're going for.  Ritual tends toward brighter coffees, with blue bottle on the earthier side.  Can't say anything about anyone's service except Verve, and they are amazing.  They've been doing whatever they can to help us get open even though we're a ways off.  Even donated a 5 lb bag of coffee to serve at one of our events.  All direct trade.

 

Equator roasts strictly Fair Trade Cert. coffee and it's the best FT I've ever had, and can hold its own with the others on the list. If you're into that, which I am.  We chose Verve because we trust their direct trading methods, and because they were more interested in getting personally involved with our setup.  Good luck!

if your customers are used to syrups, just make your own. i make vanilla, get raw cocoa from omanhene, and make caramel from sweetened condensed milk. never had a complaint about the selection and it's way cheaper than the bottled stuff.
Im all about christophers list, psrsonally. All awesome companies with great offerings. 
In regards to Temple (shout out to Bry, the consumate sweetheart) you should definitely hit us up at 916.454.1282 and talk to Sean. Ill be doin more wholesale stuff soon, but not quite yet. At the least, we could answer some of your inquiries for ya. 

Bryan Wray said it perfectly!

If you are successful or at least "popular" instead of financially successful...change will be a total mind blow to the regulars.

I worked for a shop that went through an incredible amount of change in a span of 1 month after customers had 3 years to get acquainted with the original model.

The place was popular but never saw profit in all of those 3 years.


So we changed it. From what I witnessed, and as far as know (I moved), it has been a complete success.

But, during the first 2-3 months after the changes, I dealt with some sketchy regulars that gave me a lot of attitude.

I explained to them why we made the changes but comprehension was no where on the menu.

 

We lost regulars in the process but gained new ones immediately. There was no loss at all, just an irritation for both the customer and the employee trying to plead their case.

 

As I'm sure you know, it all depends on the goals you have for the changes.

 

Oh yes, whatever you do, stay away from hiring an outside person to aid you...they don't know the shop as you do. I experienced that and even as a manager, my opinion mattered little.

 

New life > Stagnant life

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