Mike and I went out for coffee today. Again. And honestly, we drank coffee from three different cafes. The first was a mom and pop specialty coffee shop in Williams, AZ, right on Route 66. I’m not gonna tell you which one. The second was a cafe that specializes more in food than coffee. Their coffee was terrible. The third was from a chain cafe that serves food and limited coffee items. I’m gonna hit these up in reverse order.
The chain cafe wasn’t great, but it was good. And it tasted just like you would expect from a limited specialty coffee chain. It’s the same taste you get at a Starbucks and other shops. A consistent, but consistently bad, espresso based beverage. Enough said.
The cafe that specializes in food is always a strange thing to me. Why call yourself a cafe is your focus isn’t coffee? But whatever, call yourself what you want. It was busy and the food was good. And the waitress knew the food was good and the place was popular. So guess what? Our service wasn’t great. She was inconvenienced long enough to take our order but didn’t really care what we got. When we asked for recommendations, she told us about the dish they’re famous for. And the coffee was dirty dish water. Why not spice things up a little by offering good drip coffee? I can’t say. Great food. Bad coffee. It doesn’t make sense to me.
The first place we stopped was by far the most confusing. They clearly specialize in coffee and have select baked goods and food items. That’s pretty standard fair for a small coffee shop. They have a self-service water bar and even had a commercial grinder in the lobby for you to grind your fresh-roasted beans. The beans they offered for sale were only about a week or so old, so that’s not too bad.
But the service… I really can’t understand people that stay working at a job they clearly don’t enjoy. And if you are in a customer-facing job, I know customers are hard to deal with. Still, I don’t think a little excitement about your line of work is too much to ask for. Our barista was not interested in recommending drinks to us. She also wasn’t really passionate about anything on the menu. It’s almost like, if you don’t know exactly what you want when you walk in, you’re made to feel like an outsider. Nobody likes to feel like an outsider. They want to feel like they’ve stumbled upon a secret, and they’re in on it with you.
The barista also went to great lengths to hand make whipped cream. It took 10 minutes to get two espresso based drinks. And when they finally came, they were so sweet we couldn’t finish them. It was really just terrible. From the greeting to the ordering, to the waiting, to the drink presentation. And when she presented the drinks to us, she spilled some whipped cream over the side and just wiped it off the rim with her finger. Yum.
I don’t mean to pick on anybody, but please take this as the encouragement I intend it to be: Make your customers happy. Go the extra mile. My kids just started dancing and performing on stage. I shared a little secret with them that I’d like to share with you. When you have fun, the audience has fun. Go have fun and your customers will notice. They’ll have fun. And they will likely come back.