Consistency and Customer Service Reign Supreme in the Coffee Shop Business

Maybe you are just opening a coffee shop, or maybe you already own one.  Whether your customers buy coffee beans online or in your store, there are some things you need to be sure are in place from the beginning.  If these things were not in place, there is still time to make a change.  Once these basic elements are identified, take the time to learn how to actually implement them, teach them to staff and continue to enforce them as policy.


I have seen this more times than I care to admit:  Barista #1 makes the best drinks because barista #2 doesn’t make them sweet enough.  And the barista that works on Saturdays always makes my drink too hot.

We have to be sure every barista is grinding, tamping and pulling shots correctly.  Couple that with proper steaming, pouring, drink building and everything in between.  No exceptions.  Anyone that cannot follow the rules needs to be looking for a new job.

All baristas preparing drinks at your store (management included) needs to be retrained and tested at least yearly to be sure there is consistency within your shop.  This will ensure that you and your staff continue to make the best coffee in town.

Consistency however does not stop there.  There is also the fact that just buying the best quality ingredients also helps to make you consistent.  If you get Ghirardelli all the time, do not stray from it unless you can no longer get it.  Then you have to be sure to replace it with something comparable to it or better.  This goes for all of your products, especially your fresh roasted gourmet coffee beans.

You also have to maintain consistency in your employees.  Something that can hurt your business is a high employee turnover rate.  As an employer, you have to do everything you can to remain firm, but fare and balanced with your employees for a high retention rate.  Your customers will thank you and your bottom line will reflect it.

Exceptional Service

You walk in to a local store, and the clerk behind the counter greets you, asks how you are, what you would like or what they can help you with.  Then they assist you with what you came in for, ring the transaction while engaging in idle chit chat with you, give you your receipt and wish you a great rest of the day, all with a smile.  It happens!  And sometimes it doesn’t.

You walk in to a local store, and the clerk acts like you are not there, or that you are bothering them, or like you are an idiot.  Little talk happens, and they barely make eye contact.  They basically throw your change at you and you leave.  Wow!  You think, ‘yikes, what a personality!’

Which store would you be more likely to go back into?

Exceptional service must be consistent as well as it is essential to keep your customers coming back.  You have to remember that every customer is GOLD and deserves a smile.  Don’t ever forget that customers make it possible for you to make a living.  We also have to be sure we do not lower our standards of quality in any product or service.  Do not skimp on quality to cut corners.  You will see how fast you will get complaints and ultimately lose customers.  Stay focused on quality in every element and you will see the difference.

So if you are just starting a coffee shop, are a roaster just selling coffee beans, or a retailer selling it all, be consistent and have superior customer service.  It will make a difference!

My name is Tony DiCorpo, and I am a coffee roaster, coffee shop business consultant and barista trainer.  I am a coffee shop business consultant and have an eBook on how to start a coffee shop.  I also own Troubadour Coffee Roasting Co. where I sell coffee and espresso equipment and where you can buy gourmet coffee beans online.


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