Service, please!

Service, please!

Customers service… The forgotten words.

Hopping from specialty coffee shops to specialty coffee shops, although your coffee can be more and more amazing, very often the customers service can become more and more absent…

Push the door of a coffee shop, on a late afternoon, and you will be welcome by an icy look and a sharp tongue ‘We are closing in 50 minutes!’… Great!… Nope!

Ask the origin of the lovely coffee that you are enjoying ‘Kenya… in Africa’ ‘But whereabout in Kenya, I would like to know more!’…. The barista raised his/her eyebrows, doesn’t know, doesn’t care, is annoyed by your question… all of the above!

What happened to us? Are we becoming tired or blasé with our job. I hope not.

Bad news travel fast!

An unhappy customer will advertise his/her frustration with your coffee shop on the social media. At the opposite, a satisfied customer will bring a friend to share his/her positive experience in your coffee shop.

How to resolve and therefore, attract more customers to your coffee shops.

1) Hello! ¡Holà! Hej!

The Welcome: Smile to the customer who comes to spend some time and money in your coffee shop. Even if the customer comes five minutes before closing!

The ‘Bad Day’ barista: We all have bad days. However the customers are here to be served not to share your bad mood. We are humans after all, so if you have a bad, talk to your manager and colleagues to avoid working on the front of the house facing customers.

The ‘Monday Morning Take Away Latte I’m in a Rush’ customer: Greet them with a smile, serve them in a professional manner. They will be very thankful for that. They will always remember you and specially ask for you  if their promptly served coffee is delicious .

The ‘5 minute before closing’ customer: Welcome the customer and politely advise him/her to have the drink in a take away cup as you are closing shortly.

2) What Coffee?

Baristi, when you receive a new coffee, ask the maximum of information to the roaster. Think about questions that a  customers, educated in coffee or not, might asked.

Keep these information on memory cards, which you can share with customers who wants to know more about their coffee, practical during  busy time,  or learn them in order to have an interesting chat with your favourite customers during the quiet time.

Some of the coffee land can be hard to pronounce for some of us. If you can’t pronounce Buziraguhindwa, show the name on your carefully prepared memory card.

An informative board hung behind then counter can be very useful too!

3) Food order 10 minutes before the kitchen closes!

If a customer ask for a meal a short time before the kitchen closes, avoid starring at your watch with an upset look. Just smile (a smile resolves so many problems!). Then, inform the customer that you must check with the kitchen if they can still prepare your order. In case the kitchen cannot prepare the customer’s order ask for an alternative satisfying solution for the customer.

On your menu, make the kitchen hours very clear, and remove the menu off the tables when you are approaching closing time.

4) Become the highlight of their day… every day!

Obviously, for this to work, you will need passion.

Love your work. If facing customer is not your thing, it is alright, there are other places in your coffee shop where you can be a better fit.

Listen to your customers, understand their needs,  learn from them, slowly show them the way to a better drink.

Be the highlight of their day… every days!

5) Bye! Have a nice day!

Ask your customer if they enjoyed their coffee, don’t be afraid of the critics, as they can be very constructive and help you to improve in your work.

Say goodbye, and wish them a good day. You do not need to love the customers to do this, just be polite and think about the income they bring which can be beneficial for needed improvement in the shop, more SCA education for the staff,  pay rise!

6) Managers / owners working together with the staff

Dear managers and café owners, putting your staff under pressure will create a stress amongst them which will be felt by the customers, and will make them run away from your shop. You will also create a constant staff turnover, which, for the customers, will be a sign of poor management.

Take care of your staff, they will make customers happy and work longer in your coffee shop, therefore, you will increase you revenue as the customers will feel more welcoming and secure with a staff which they can recognize and a staff who know their orders.

Also avoid unnecessary sudden movement amongst staff and customers during busy hours, like changing the bins in the toilets in front of the customers! Just get larger bins. And put yourself aside during these busy hours, your staff knows what to do. Your help is always welcome, off course, but remember to work with them, and avoid shouting.

Last words…

A happy and professional barista will deliver a good service, which will provide happiness to the customers, which will make the day of this barista much more enjoyable!


Régine Guion-Firmin.


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