Out of curiosity , In your shops respectively, what are some customer requests that you absolutely cannot/ will not comply with?

Do you make a 20 oz caramel breve with whip?

Do you pull a long shot?

Do you make a 200?

do you Ice the espresso or serve it to go?

Which rules are yours personally , which ones are store policy?

I've got a few of these myself but I would really like to hear from some others.

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Bry,
Does she mean decisions are personal? I'm confused too.
Joe
-- Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


Bryan Wray said:
?? Could you elaborate for me? I don't think I missed the point with my response at all.

-bry

Kathy Fadorsen said:
The point is it is your choice and you make those decisions based on different reason.

Bryan Wray said:
Espresso to go. In the time it takes for me to explain why you'd have consumed your beverage and it isn't worth the possibility of ghetto lattes.

I'll ice your espresso but it's going to take a while because I'm not going to let ice and espresso touch.

Oh... and backflips... won't do em no matter how many times you ask.

-bry
I will not serve a no-foam latte. (in other words, I will not use a spoon to separate the foam.)
I will not serve a latte over 170 degrees (and even that is pushing it).
Can't serve more than 16oz.
I don't make Caramel Macchiattos (I even know what one is)
Haven't had anyone at MY shop try to do the ghetto latte, but will definetely not allow it when it does happen.
I will not do a breve - unless the customer is will to sign a waiver of my responsibility. (I've seriously thought about making one up for the chance to use it, but I'm not that mean)

The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day.
"The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day."

It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success.
Let me rephrase that, I will serve them any drink that their little hearts desire as long as it is ethical. -Laughs-

...and I'll do that with a smile...because if I didn't I would be out of a job. If I were in an environment that allowed me to be more discriminating then I would, but I'm not.

Ricky Sutton said:
Would you oblige if a customer asked you to spit in their drink?

Yes, i know about health codes. We all have food handler's licenses.

My point is that some requests are as mortifying to me as that is to you. And this is coming from someone who WILL serve an iced espresso to go. (though i always add equal parts room temperature water to the espresso, then ice)

Shellie Adams said:
It is not my place to say no to a customer's request. I can recommend other drinks but if a customer really wants something then they are entitled to it.
Agreed. I just said no to a request this afternoon. Simple request for latte steamed extra hot. I asked how hot she meant, "190 degrees" was the answer. I explained we normally steamed to 145-150f to accentuate the milks sweetness but would steam extra hot to 165-170 max, after that the milk was dead. She said *$ had no problem steaming it that hot. I said something about quality and barista competitions and I also kind of slipped and mentioned *$ tends to use stale over roasted beans too so their milk quality didn't matter as much. (The gentlemen with her commented he didn't like *$ either:) I offered to make our our version of extra hot and if she didn't like it drink's on the house.

Result: I could have scalded the milk like she initially asked for but didn't explaining why. After drinking some of her latte she asked if I had a shop across the river in Portland saying it was perfect. (she was over here on business this afternoon)

John P said:
"The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day."

It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success.
John P said:
"The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day."

It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success.

Love this.
Thanks....

but note that it is a quote from the post right before mine from Jeremiah. Be certain to give credit where credit is due. I merely wanted to echo his great post and add "It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success."

Carry on. :)

Brady said:
John P said:
"The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day."

It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success.

Love this.
Duly noted... I liked both posts, and just forgot to edit yours to add the attribution. I should have done this...

John P said:
Jeremiah Perrine said:
The customer is not always right and they are not entitled to anything they want. It's my shop, my product, my reputation, my livelihood. I don't simply refuse a request. I do my best to explain why it is we don't do something and either offer them something else or tell them to have a nice day.

It's being the one with the confidence to say, "No." now and again that paves the road to success.
"Can I get my espresso to go?" ahhhhhhhh, why??
Ricky Sutton said:
Therefore, i will offer to let someone take a ceramic with them and return it later. Even if they refuse, it's opened the doorway to the conversation that we need to have. They may get it in a 4oz. paper cup today, but eventually they will be mine.

Awhile ago we bought a few sleeves of 4oz compostable paper cups for sampling. We keep a short stack on the counter. When someone orders an espresso to go, we'll ask if they're sure they want it to go, we'll tell them that the crema dissipates in about a minute and that the temperature decreases rapidly once the crema is gone, both of which adversely affect taste, so they won't be getting the best espresso experience we can offer. If they still want it to go, we produce the lid-less 4oz cup and tell them this is what it's served in. 99% of the time they'll have it for here. No ghetto lattes in this joint.

But as this thread is about how low you will go... we try to be flexible, but we have a now-legendary drink request that we will not accommodate.

Older woman comes in, asks some questions about the acidity levels in the coffees we offer on the brew bar. Says she doesn't like press pots that her regular shop serves and notes that we're one of the only places where she's ever seen a brew bar. So we're thinking, 'Hey, this is great, we've got a knowledgeable coffee consumer we can convert from a competitor. We're ready to impress."

She proceeds to order a really nice Guatemala brewed on a Clever. So far so good. The barista brings the cup to the counter talking about the tasting notes, ready to ring her up and send her to coffee nirvana.

Then it happens.

She asks for a bigger cup. And can we put two inches of hot water on top. And then fill the cup with steamed skim milk for a watered down au lait.

We're ready to argue this but before we can, she produces a $10 gift card that she proudly proclaims she received for Mother's Day. So we did it. At a premium so she could not do it more than twice.

There are two ways of looking at this. One is that we serve the drink, make a new customer who then tells their friends that we make the best watered-down non-fat au lait cup of Guatemala in the area. And we take her money.

The other is that this customer clearly doesn't like the taste of a good coffee on its own and is extremely high maintenance. That it's a one-off drink with a lot of variables and that it would be all but impossible to ensure consistency from barista to barista - and it certainly wasn't a drink worth systematizing. It's not worth getting into an argument that "Well the other barista did it this way, please make it over" for a drink that takes about five minutes to prepare. Not to mention the staff would find the experience demoralizing as they're particularly proud of our brew bar.

So when the gift card was emptied, we politely told her that we made the first two out of courtesy because of the gift card, but we would not be making it again in the future using the brew bar. She was welcome to have the house drip from an airpot for that drink, but we would not be custom brewing for it. She didn't think we were very accommodating. And that's OK with us.
Rich, did that customer tip you for all the effort you put into her watered down skim au lait? I've noticed that a lot of high-maintenance customers tend to be skimpy on the tips.
No.

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