One of my favorite things to hear in the shop from customers is the dreaded phrase "I'll just go to Starbucks." I get it all the time when a customer doesn't find what they're looking for or when we're out of a particular syrup/drink. It's like they think it's the biggest insult in the world. I wish I could just say "go to Starbucks...see if I care." Most of the time this happens just as I'm done cleaning the espresso machine. I have to explain to them that I cannot make their venti upside-down caramel macchiato and they hit me with the "you're making me go to Starbucks" line. Does this happen to anyone else?

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No, can't say it's something I hear. Guess I don't understand why the espresso machine would be down for cleaning while open for business. As far as being out of a regularly stocked syrup, that's (usually) a case of bad stock management.
Yeah... I don't really get that either... (Not to sound like a jerk, I just never do). When we clean the machine during the day we always make sure to only clean one group at a time, that way the other two are open. (But I guess if you had a one group this wouldn't really be possible, but if you only had a one group your volume is probably low enough you don't need to backflush in the middle of the day...). And don't run out of stuff, or at least try really hard not to. Set your pars, monitor them from season to season and work with your suppliers to get stuff in before you run out. It's really frustrating to be on the receiving end of someone being out of stock.

I'll have people say things about Starbucks (usually about how their coffee is horrible), but not that we drive them to go there. I've heard the "OOO, this is better than Starbucks!" to which I normally just smile and nod and then after they leave I'll go throw up a little in the back room, haha.

-bry
there are 4 coffee shops in less then a block from were i work. if some one wants something i don't have i just comp the drink, show them some kick ass latte art, let them know about what we do. and with a little luck they come back. try to keep at least one group open so they dont have to wait to long
william kevin emmons said:
there are 4 coffee shops in less then a block from were i work. if some one wants something i don't have i just comp the drink, show them some kick ass latte art, let them know about what we do. and with a little luck they come back. try to keep at least one group open so they dont have to wait to long

Off the tangent of comp'ing drinks. I had a customer today say that his Americano was, "The worst cup of coffee I have ever had in my life. Completely tasteless... this is horrible." I told him that if it truly was the worst cup of coffee, or even to the extent of not being one of the best then it really was horrible. I quickly started remaking him the drink (maybe something was wrong with the temperature on the shot? probably not, but maybe) and he put his hand out (actually touched me, which really freaked me out) and said, "You know, you really don't have to bother, I'm sure the next one will suck too." I looked at him puzzled and said, "Well if you don't want the coffee I can always just give you a refund, but I would rather put something in your hands that you really, truly enjoy."
"Well I kind of doubt you would be able to if this is how your coffee tastes."
"Alright, well I'm sorry to hear that... Here let me get you a refund."
"NO, KEEP IT!" slams the drink down on the counter and storms out, slamming the door behind him...
Everyone in line looks very confused. Everybody is doing the "stare at the door he just walked out of and blink, blink, blink unknowingly" (*tilts head*) thing.
I grabbed his cup (to-go) removed the lid and noticed that it looked an awful lot like soy milk (color-wise). I took a sip (I'm not a germ-a-phobe in the slightest); immediately spit it out (onto the floor... oops) and said, "Oh... he just accidentally ordered an Americano when he wanted a cup of warm milk half filled with sugar, that's all," to the line and we all got a pretty good kick out of it. He was right, it really did taste absolutely horrible! (but I blame him... shhhh...)

-bry
Brandon, I would get that quite a bit where I used to work. It was usually because they were not being treated as they would be at Starbucks which in my opinion is a good thing. It wasn't because we were out of a syrup or due to bad management but because they didn't want to stretch their mind around the concept of a macchiato not being a large syrupy latte or their cappuccino not heaped up with unincorporated macro foam. I would politely try to explain to them why their drink looks different than at Starbucks but inevitably, habitual Starbuckers would get upset and say, "well I'll just go to Starbucks", to which I usually smiled happy to be rid of their absurd notion of quality.
hahhahaha! I always take a deep breath before aswering back that we don't make a medium caramel macchiato. Sometimes I'd bother explaining what a macchiato is. But when they come and order a 'tall' coffee, i just don't care: I charge them for my largest and most expensive size. And don't you dare coming back saying you didn't order it!
Darn mermaids!!! I love how some customers, especially guys order coffee like they know what they are talking about when they're with their gf. They would order a macchiato with such great confidence....until I hold up an espresso cup. Then explain that our macc are the real traditional stuff. The look on their face is priceless =P Sometimes they go ahead and order it anyways. Of course I make sure it's awesome....I always hear their gf say something like, "awwww, look it's a (insert latte art here)"

The only reason some of my customers go to Starbux is because of the drive thru. They choose convienance over quality. Which here in Iowa, no one wants to be outside when temperatures are below freezing. I've been able to convert customers to real coffee and some actually get out of their cars and walk inside to get their daily caffienated drinks.
Awesome! Tall is tall. But then again your largest size may be the same as a "tall" a the bucks.

"Big Gulps huh, well alright see ya later"- Dumb and Dumber

Flavia Celidonio Pogliani said:
hahhahaha! I always take a deep breath before aswering back that we don't make a medium caramel macchiato. Sometimes I'd bother explaining what a macchiato is. But when they come and order a 'tall' coffee, i just don't care: I charge them for my largest and most expensive size. And don't you dare coming back saying you didn't order it!
We simply tell out customers that we speak Fratailian, and what were you looking for? We then reply "Ok we'll make you the drink they are trying to make." nine times out of ten the customer is absolutely wowed
Caramel macchiato=vanilla latte macchiato drizzled with caramel. The first time it was ordered I didn't even know what it was never being a Charbucks affianado myself. Discovered it's actually easy to make with ingredients most shops have on hand: vanilla syrup, milk, espresso, caramel sauce. Vanilla syrup in cup, steamed milk next leaving room for shot, shot pulled on top, finished with caramel sauce drizzle. I price it as a flavored latte with extra flavor. I don't know how much the taste difference is between vanilla latte topped with caramel (milk poured into espresso) versus espresso poured into milk (latte macchiato) and in truth usually make it as a vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce finish instead of vanilla latte machiato with caramel sauce.

Charbucks sizes had been a mystery to me for quite some time until deciphered their code. From Charbucks website:
Short: 8oz
Tall: 12oz
Grande: 16oz
Venti: 20oz

Give the customer what they want, making it the absolute best tasting whatever ordered they've ever had. Foo-foo drinks keep the doors open so the preponderance minority looking for traditional quality espresso beverages have somewhere to go.
I should have clarified, some days if it's super slow, we'll start closing up a little early. every now and then I'll clean the machine first but still leave the option for drip coffee or anything else that isn't espresso. I wrote this because I think it's funny when people try to insult you by mentioning starbucks. 99% of the time it's someone who doesn't really know the difference between good and bad coffee.
Branden said:
I should have clarified, some days if it's super slow, we'll start closing up a little early. every now and then I'll clean the machine first but still leave the option for drip coffee or anything else that isn't espresso.

If it's your shop, cool. Not at my shop. I've caught my closers doing that in the past (downing espresso machine to clean before closing time has come) and they KNOW if they ever do it again I'll be looking for their replacement. I've had days where it's been slow in the late afternoon and then get hit with a rush of espresso beverages minutes before closing. Loosing a bunch of high margin sales that might have made the difference between marginal and good day at the register because wanting to get out early is not acceptable at my shop. It's hard enough to pay the bills, LIKE PAYROLL, without having sales needlessly curtailed. Espresso is the fastest to make, highest margin beverages at my (and I believe most) shops. The espresso machine is the life blood of the business.

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