How important is a tip?
Is it just a way to say, “thank you,” or, “job well done,” or is there more to it than that. Should you as a business owner care about your employee’s tips? I say yes! I say not only should you care, you need to make sure your employees and your customers care.
Consider this scenario for a moment. You live in a city large enough to support four local coffee shops. There are also two national shops, and several shops who, “also offer coffee.” If you have done your research, you shop is located in a prime area putting you in range of maybe 20% of that city if you are really good. Your customers are going to need a reason to come to your shop. You have good coffee, obviously. Maybe you also have some sort of niche offering in your coffee house that brings in a bit more business. Either way, people are going to need a reason to drive out of their way to support your establishment. Jake and Mike have touched on this subject many times in their podcasts, but it comes down to the people. What makes you stand-out? The people making your coffee … if you treat your barista’s right, they are going to build your business.
For me, a tip is a way of saying thank you. I am putting a little extra of my money into your pocket because you have provided a worthwhile service. Something I cannot or do not have the time to do. This small gesture can and does have far reaching ramifications. You have a shop and you know how to grind and market your coffee. Unless you are a national chain, you are probably not offering college tuition or astronomical wages. You need to help your baristas make up that difference. If you can foster an atmosphere where patrons drive for your service, they will tip more, which will show in your employee’s job satisfaction and their willingness to stay and learn. Anyone can learn to pull a shot. Anyone can grind ice and sugar and milk and throw some coffee on the top. So how do you empower your staff to stand-out?
People remember the experience. Location is going to capture the guy who flies through the drive-thru for his quad latte or iced Americano. The atmosphere is going to capture that business executive needing a quiet place to finish emails or employee reviews. But the experience is going to keep them coming back and bringing friends and family. That there, my friends, is where your money is made. I drive out of my way to visit my favorite baristas. Most know me by name. “Hey Greg, large mocha extra shot?” I have sat and talked with them, at least as much as you can in that environment. I enjoy it when they tell me of something new, something not on the menu yet. I appreciate the suggestions when I say, “hmm, I don’t know what I want today.” Even if I do not like it, I delight in the effort and they are rewarded with a couple extra bucks in the jar. Some are masters of their craft, and my contented smile says more than words. One is just a cordial fella who I like starting my day with. Those are the people you need to seek out. Those are the people you need to keep.
We live in the electronic age. Everything you say and every interaction is an opportunity to shine. Most employees see that opportunity as money. Think about your favorite restaurant. You probably do not know the owners. You have probably never met a cook. But you do know your servers, and you probably tip them a little better also.