SHIFT BREAK #25 : When the weather turns cooler and the holidays get closer, business gets busier. Ironically, at the same time as our shop pick up steam, we seem to lose it. Our capacity to show hospitality tends to drop in the presence of heavy traffic but it is precisely these times where great hospitality is most needed. On this edition of Shift Break we talk about this issue and some solutions to implement as we enter into the busy holiday season.
Need training or consultation? Email: Chris@keystotheshop.com
Social media is a vast landscape filled with both great and terrible representations of people's brands. At best we enhance a customer's view of us and create an even bigger fan -At worst we introduce confusion, boredom, or anger into the relationship and drive people away. In order to give customers a truly excellent representation of your business on-line you need to know the fundamental best practices that lay the foundation for success. In today's episode we chat with coffee marketing professional, Jenn Chen
Jenn guides us through several critical areas that we need to be on top of with our company's social media. When should you outsource? What are the absolute no-no's of social media? How do you engage with people online? All of these and more are answered by one our industries brightest and most sought after media pros.
Training baristas effectively is a hugely important task. When done well, it sets them up for long term success in the cafe and in their career. When done poorly, it leaves them without essential tools for understanding the nature of coffee and the work of a barista which leads to frustration and stagnation. If you want learn to excel as trainers then look no further because we have the privilege of talking with 2009 WBC Champion and barista trainer, Gwilym Davies!
In this episode we talk about his hospitality based training, the evolution of training approaches over the years, why we should check our ego, needs vs. wants, how to structure your training sessions, preparing yourself to train others, and many other very helpful and practical insights that will help you become a great and effective trainer!
It's Founder Friday! Today we get to sit down and learn from the founders of Phil and Sebastian Coffee Roasters, Phil Robertson and Sebastian Sztabzyb! In the course of 11 years, Phil and Sebastian have gone from a small farmers market stall, to an award winning and internationally respected roaster retailer with 5 thriving cafes, a robust wholesale program, and roasting and sourcing operation that regularly pushes the boundaries of quality coffee and raises the bar for the specialty coffee industry.
In this conversation we talk about an incredible range of subjects from the challenges and lessons of their formative years with staffing, leadership, operations, and service standards- to their philosophy and practices in green sourcing , quality control, roasting, and training. We cap it all off with some really great advice for those looking to venture into the world of cafe/roastery ownership.
I am in awe of the pace that Phil and Sebastian sustain in their pursuit of great coffee and after listening to this interview I think you will agree. Be sure to visit their website to learn even more!
Shift Break #24 : Every day, in coffee shops around the world, baristas notice things that are broken, see things that can be improved, and have ideas that could take the cafe to a new level. The problem is that so much of it never gets heard. Today we will be talking about how managers can give voice to these ideas and also how baristas should go about relaying them. Amazing things happen when you make improvement a grassroots effort when barista and manager are working to help each other make the best cafe possible.
Coffee and cocktails. Baristas and Bartenders. These are basically two sides of the same bar. Today we are going to get to know the craft cocktail and bartending side a little better with the help of coffee and spirits professional, Amanda Whitt! We will be talking about Amanda's journey to becoming a pro in both disciplines, the way bartenders think about drink building and flavor, making great coffee cocktails, mistakes we make combining the two, and tons of insights and tips for how to successfully integrate spirits into your beverage program. Plus we chat about the use of cold brew in coffee cocktails, etiquette for using others recipes, and tresources for further learning.
When these two worlds successfully meet it showcases both the coffee and the spirits in new delicious ways. I hope this episode inspires some great drinks!
SHIFT BREAK #23 : We all have had moments where a customer orders something "Off Script" and depending on our attitude we can either see it as an annoyance and hassle, or as an opportunity. Today we discuss how we can see these alterations and requests as opportunities for showing genuine hospitality and truly serving the needs of the guest and what we can practically do to make it a matter of policy.
Coffee shops have become a symbol of gentrification, a process that is made up of a mix of opportunism, policy, and politics resulting in the displacement of communities. As people who tout the love of community and people as being core in our values this issue should worry us. Understanding gentrification is key to being able to take steps in fighting it. Today on the show we are talking with one of the world foremost authorities on the issue of gentrification, Dr. Stacey Sutton. Dr. Sutton is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Policy in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the University of Illinois Chicago. In this conversation we discuss her work in researching gentrification, the misconceptions people have about it, what is the difference between urban renewal and gentrification, what mindsets do we harbor in retail that contribute to the momentum of gentrification, what is coffee's role in this and how can we take the first steps to being part of the solution?
I am so honored to have Dr. Sutton on the show. This is a huge subject and I would encourage you to research further and use this episode as a springboard for learning more about the unpleasant realities of gentrification. I have provided lots of links below to help in this process. Please do reach out to you local schools of urban planning and neighborhood associations to start a dialogue.
The coffee shop is often called the 3rd place. A location where people go to gather that is not work or home that contributes to the deep bonds of a community. We cannot hope to offer a great third place unless we put as much effort into how we place ourselves and serve in communities as we do in the coffee we aim to serve those communities. When we do this I think we will see disinvestment and displacement begin to slow, and coffee, for these communities, can move from a symbol of displacement, to a true expression of place.
Resource: Next City Journal
Links to Published Research (Prefaces)
SHIFT BREAK #22 : One of the main sources of stress and chaos in the coffee bar is the absence of clearly defined standards and procedures for the work. Turn over is, in part, due to a constant feeling of uncertainty related to the quality and accuracy of ones work. Developing and well thought out set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is one of the most important elements in solving this problem and many other problems in the cafe. They create clarity, certainty, and achievable goals. Today we talk about the importance of SOPs and some of the main steps you will need to take to successfully put them into practice.
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Mobile coffee service is an incredibly important element to a successful coffee operation. Be it farmers markets, luncheons, weddings, or concerts- breaking out of your four walls is the perfect way to get the word out about your brand to your community. It is, however, not without its challenges and does require you to take account of some key differences that you must prepare for to be successful. That's where today's guest Tim Cox comes in. As Co-owner of a brick and mortar shop (Communion Cafe) AND owner of a mobile coffee business (Rail Cart Espresso)he is uniquely positioned to teach us all about what it takes to find success in mobile coffee. We discuss the technical needs, menu design, pricing, site prep, contracts, managing customer expectations, and much more.
Get ready for mobile coffee success!
SHIFT BREAK #21 : Working a busy bar AND keeping it clean is one of the biggest challenges we face in the cafe and the importance of how we present the space to customers cannot be understated. Working clean is the key to having a clear head, a ready bar, efficient service, and a cafe that communicates security to the customer. Today we chat about some elements of working clean that will help you create a culture of cleanliness that both you and your customers will love.
Sprudge is here!!! Founders, Jordan Michaelman and Zachary Carlsen join me on the show talk about their new book, "The New Rules of Coffee". In this conversation we unpack their creative process deciding what to include in the book, their goal for the content and tone taken in writing these "rules", and what this book means for both consumers and pros. We dive into select rules from each section of the book and discuss everything from snotty baristas, coffee's colonial heritage, mine and Zachary's grandmother's "special" coffee, why you don't need fancy equipment to make great coffee at home, and how coffee can save the world.
Jordan and Zachary have been on the leading edge of what is going on in specialty coffee for the better part of a decade through their work with Sprudge. The distillation of what they have learned, seen, and experienced as integral members of the specialty community is written out in an approachable, gently challenging, and refreshingly practical way in this book. With consumers being both our livelihood as professionals, and the main audience for this book, it would behoove us to take note of these New Rules of Coffee.
Links to learn more about Sprudge and the book tour:
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