Espresso Blog

The Daily Office Crowd, Part II: What’s Your Wi-Fi Policy?

With telecommuting and the gig economy in full swing, laptop users can be found soaking up wireless connections and electrical outlets at coffee shops everywhere. This creates a challenge for shop owners who want to keep a welcoming atmosphere but also need customer turnover to maintain a profitable business.

We already know that coffeehouses can provide the right amount of background noise to help telecommuters concentrate, which is why many coffeehouses have no refuse to limit wireless access. But while chains like Starbucks provide free internet access, some don’t consider it “free,”...

The Daily Office Crowd, Part 1: Why Coffee Shops Are Great for Productivity

In today’s business world, ambitious employees are often in hot pursuit of productivity and creativity as much as they're looking for healthy salaries and competitive benefits. The hardest of these to maintain are creativity and productivity, and the surprising solution can be spending time away from coworkers at relatively noisy public places.

Why coffee shops are go-to remote offices.

A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that a certain amount of ambient noise (between 50 and 70 decibels—on par with a typical coffee shop) disrupts the mental process in a positive way,...

Keep Staff Training Costs Down - Simple Tips

Want to know one of the biggest hidden challenges in running any coffee shop or restaurant? Keeping training costs down. Every day spent training means lost productivity or additional labor costs in the form of the trainer’s time.

But there are a few ways to keep training costs in check. Using one or more of these tips can almost always reduce your training budget:

1. Use training manuals and CDs.

Reinventing the wheel costs time and money. To keep your training program consistent and relatively easy, develop a training manual (have a little fun with PowerPoint), or better yet, buy one,...

What's Your Coffee Industry Niche?

Your café is different from all the rest. You just have to figure out your coffee niche, and promote the heck out of it.

Your café or restaurant’s niche makes people choose it over all the other options out there—of which there is no shortage. It’s what draws them in, makes them come back, and gets them excited to tell their friends that they must try your cappuccino or signature cocktail, or gaze upon your local art or warehouse-meets-cozy-abode aesthetic.

One of the most crucial characteristics of a successful café or restaurant is that it serves a niche that needs to be filled, something...

Hiring and Keeping Employees Part 2: Turn the Tables on Staff Turnover

It feels inevitable, but it doesn’t have to. You can avoid high staff turnover if you take a few proactive steps. And at the same time, you’ll avoid inconsistent service that goes with being understaffed in the interim, as well as cranky staff who are working extra shifts, and the arduous hiring-and-training game:

Thank your staff. This one should be obvious, but here’s a refresher: People don’t mind stress as much as they mind being taken for granted. Your employees will go the extra mile when there’s a crazy rush at the counter if they feel appreciated for their efforts. And they’ll be...

Hiring and Keeping Employees Part 1: Hire Right, So You Can Do It Less

Between tracking food costs and working to create a steady flow of customers to your café or restaurant, proper hiring practices can fall to the wayside. But resist the urge to hire quickly, just so you can get back to running your business. Be thoughtful and patient, even if it means you and your staff will need to work extra hard until you hire right, and find the right person.

Good hiring requires at least two interviews, reference checks, and possibly background checks. The process can take at least two or three days, but the due diligence will pay off.

A wrong hire can damage staff...

Café Management: It’s All About People

It’s not all coffee and pastries. Whether you’re an owner-operator or you employ a full-time front-of-the-house manager, people are the core of your business. You need to know how to engage them, motivate them, and teach them.

Some management basics, to stay you in your employees’ good graces:

Always be professional. Never yell, curse or hurl insults at employees. This is the least you can do to maintain morale and respect for your position.

Put most things in writing. Don’t assume employees will “know what to do” if you haven’t told them explicitly. Have clearly defined job descriptions with...

Coffee Shop Marketing You Should Do Every Day

Coffee shop marketing should be a constant in your business. Besides your killer location, eye-catching signage and perfect espresso, how do you bring in customers?

Here are a few methods that are pretty easy, and even inexpensive:

1. Get to know your customers. People love being recognized. It’s probably the most welcoming thing you can do for them. Remember their regular coffee drink order—or even better, their name— and they’ll come back for more.

2. Should you offer product specials? Maybe. But the most loyal customers buy at full price and tell others about their favorite coffee shop....

Refresh Your Coffeehouse Menu, Part II: Designing & Printing Your Menu

Your coffeehouse menu design says as much about you as your choice of clothes. Are you clean, polished and easy to read, or frumpy and a bit disheveled?

Use the following guidelines when creating your menu and you’ll be sure to make a positive first impression:

1. Graphics/Imagery. Use your logo and brand colors to tie your menu to your brand. Avoid photos—they're time consuming and don't often look great on a printed menu. If you must use photos, they should be beautiful and professionally done. Food photography isn't easy, despite its ubiquity on Instagram. It requires proper lighting to...

Your Coffee Shop Menu, Part I: When, Why and How to Update It

A good restaurant menu invites customers to dive into your offerings. People should be able to rely on popular go-to items and new favorites—with a fair amount of flexibility mixed in, so they know what to expect. That said, your menu should be flexible (read: do not laminate). The big reasons for keeping it open to changes: changing food costs, spoilage and passing trends.

When you create a menu, you get to play around with food combinations and how to describe them. But there are so many variables. How much should you charge for each item to make sure you’re making a profit? Knowing your...

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