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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Yeah...basically I allow my customers to have anything they want any way they want...Sometimes that means brainstorming new ways to do something, but as long as they're willing to pay for flavor shots, or extra shots, I'm willing to figure it out. I want my customers to be happy with their 100% experience when they walk away from my store. The only thing I don't really allow is customers using the phone, causing others to feel uncomfortable in the store, or mistreating the staff.
Good point Brady, thanks for keep this great thread focused.
Joe

Brady said:
I'm reading through John's responses, looking for the place where he says that everyone should refuse to grind coffee for customers. Not seeing it.

Remember, this discussion is about sharing customer requests that YOU say no to. I know I've found plenty to think about in this thread, and hope that others have as well. Let's please keep in mind the focus of the discussion and not worry about trying to defend our own practices too much.

Melissa said:
I can understand your point, however what works for you does not necessarily work for everyone. For instance, my shop is located in a resort location. A majority of our customers are here for a week and then go home. They want good coffee to brew themselves while they are here. Lending them grinders would be cost prohibitive as people on vacation rarely return anything lent to them, and they are not interested in purchasing a grinder.
John P said:
I am more saying that "refuse" has a negative connotation. How about, "No, we don't grind our coffee to sell. If you don't have a grinder, I can sell you one, recommend one, or you can borrow one. We want our coffee to be the best it can be when it leaves our store, and whole bean is something we can take pride in. We care too much about our customers to do otherwise." And time after time after time everyone comes back or makes arrangements. If we care enough to maintain our principles, our customers get it, and love us for it. It is these kinds of decisions that build and solidify our base. Please excuse any rambling. Just returned from surgery and I am a little loopy.

Adam Wilson said:
John P said:
and selling whole bean only is quite different from "refusing to grind".

Definitely an important distinction, I completely agree with stocking whole bean ONLY. Grinding at point of sale is, IMO, sometimes a necessary evil. But grinding BEFORE point of sale is ludicrous if you care anything about quality.
Chris said:
Rich Westerfield said:
Thus, the 10.5 capp is an extremely strategic drink offering for us. We argue about a lot of stuff that we "shouldn't" be serving, but that's not on the list.

So, your 10.5 oz is made with a doppio?

As our usual shot volume is ~.75-.85 oz, our 5.5 oz have doubles and the 10.5 have two doubles. We decided to take that 1/3-1/3-1/3 thing literally.
John P said:
Come for at least two years, an average of five times a week... and if you can afford an espresso machine, you certainly aren't hurting for money.

Just from hearing you post, here and elsewhere, I know that I'd be a regular if you weren't 1500 miles away. And my two hand grinders cost me almost as much as my two Majors.
Having nice things and having money are not quite the same thing. The auto accident and the last two years of dramatic economic downturn, coupled with bigoted idiots boycotting AZ for the legislative white flag that they've sent up have conspired to have me ask myself if I can still afford to buy dollar-a-pound coffees anymore.
The answer was yes, but it took a while.



Rich Westerfield said:

As our usual shot volume is ~.75-.85 oz, our 5.5 oz have doubles and the 10.5 have two doubles. We decided to take that 1/3-1/3-1/3 thing literally.

Not really traditional, but just the way that I like it. In places that have nothing smaller than a twelve ounce cup, I usually ask for two double shots, and if it's an eight, I tell them that there is no reason to fill it to the brim on my account. When traveling and trying to make time (mostly professionally, so it's someone else' time/money) I'll ask for two cappuccinoes, er, cappuccini, er... a cappuccino and then another one, but in the same to-go cup. Most Third Wave-like places tend to give me the stink eye, but if I explain that I'll be twenty-five miles down the road when I want the second one, and it'll cost me fifty buck to come back, not to mention (especially in the Bay area) the complete waste of fuel to do so, they usually make the exception.
Barefoot refuse to let me have an espresso to go, though. I'll never forgive them for the education I got that day! ; >
Of course as with all things in life... to each his own. John P, I have no problem grinding for customers as they truly appreciate that extra bit of effort/interest shown. I do tell them how quickly staling sets in after grinding and urge them to use the ground coffee ASAP. I also recommend storage tips, buying smaller amounts to minimize waste, etc.

If they tell me they have a grinder at home, naturally I'm all for details. I also make it a point to ask what their favorite brew method is at home. Some people think that selling coffee to customers keeps them from coming back, but that is hardly the case. As some people tell me "well I bought coffee to brew at home and it just didn't taste the same as it does when it is made for me" and I simply tell them there is alot more to coffee than most people think.

I do have a few requests that I have no interest in pursuing. Darker roasted coffee and larger cup sizes. My most "aggressive" coffee currently is Ethiopia Sidamo and my largest cup size is 16 oz. Later!
Nice report Shadow. I like your business model/mission as far as you explained it.
Sounds much like mine.

Shadow said:
Of course as with all things in life... to each his own. John P, I have no problem grinding for customers as they truly appreciate that extra bit of effort/interest shown. I do tell them how quickly staling sets in after grinding and urge them to use the ground coffee ASAP. I also recommend storage tips, buying smaller amounts to minimize waste, etc.

If they tell me they have a grinder at home, naturally I'm all for details. I also make it a point to ask what their favorite brew method is at home. Some people think that selling coffee to customers keeps them from coming back, but that is hardly the case. As some people tell me "well I bought coffee to brew at home and it just didn't taste the same as it does when it is made for me" and I simply tell them there is alot more to coffee than most people think.

I do have a few requests that I have no interest in pursuing. Darker roasted coffee and larger cup sizes. My most "aggressive" coffee currently is Ethiopia Sidamo and my largest cup size is 16 oz. Later!
Chris,

I know you're just giving me s*** And gotta give Andy props, Barefoot rocks. He does more than look cool nibbling on Red Vines you know :)


Chris said:
John P said:
Come for at least two years, an average of five times a week... and if you can afford an espresso machine, you certainly aren't hurting for money.

Just from hearing you post, here and elsewhere, I know that I'd be a regular if you weren't 1500 miles away. And my two hand grinders cost me almost as much as my two Majors.
Having nice things and having money are not quite the same thing. The auto accident and the last two years of dramatic economic downturn, coupled with bigoted idiots boycotting AZ for the legislative white flag that they've sent up have conspired to have me ask myself if I can still afford to buy dollar-a-pound coffees anymore.
The answer was yes, but it took a while.



Rich Westerfield said:

As our usual shot volume is ~.75-.85 oz, our 5.5 oz have doubles and the 10.5 have two doubles. We decided to take that 1/3-1/3-1/3 thing literally.

Not really traditional, but just the way that I like it. In places that have nothing smaller than a twelve ounce cup, I usually ask for two double shots, and if it's an eight, I tell them that there is no reason to fill it to the brim on my account. When traveling and trying to make time (mostly professionally, so it's someone else' time/money) I'll ask for two cappuccinoes, er, cappuccini, er... a cappuccino and then another one, but in the same to-go cup. Most Third Wave-like places tend to give me the stink eye, but if I explain that I'll be twenty-five miles down the road when I want the second one, and it'll cost me fifty buck to come back, not to mention (especially in the Bay area) the complete waste of fuel to do so, they usually make the exception.
Barefoot refuse to let me have an espresso to go, though. I'll never forgive them for the education I got that day! ; >
John P said:
I know you're just giving me s*** And gotta give Andy props, Barefoot rocks. He does more than look cool nibbling on Red Vines you know :)



Not really, more like giving you props!

And yeah, Andy is pretty much the best friend I ever only spent like, a minute and a half with. Much respect for him divined from he crew, his place, and his coffee.
Especially his reaction to the fire. I was worried that the place would be harsh and new when it got redone, but it looks (at least the pictures) almost as cool as the old look. I always had the feel of old surf movies when I went to Barefoot!
This discussion is just what I needed....I have had some odd requests here in my shop recently. What is the obsession with Breve "no foam" lattes and how do you charge for that as half n half is twice the price of milk? I said no! And they just got a whole milk no foam latte...let me just say, I hate "no foam " lattes!

How do you charge more for a Breve? By charging more. Not that odd a request IMO.

Same as soy 50 cents more



Jason Campbell said:

This discussion is just what I needed....I have had some odd requests here in my shop recently. What is the obsession with Breve "no foam" lattes and how do you charge for that as half n half is twice the price of milk? I said no! And they just got a whole milk no foam latte...let me just say, I hate "no foam " lattes!

Same in our shop. 50 cents more for soy and breve. We do our best to accommodate our customers in every way. We do refuse to ice straight espresso, being that it gets shocked and too bitter, but normally are able to talk them into an iced Americano instead.

Other than that, we try to meet expectations and requests, no matter how off the wall they seem.

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