Espresso Blog

Julie Beals

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Grow Your Coffee Business By Avoiding Small Mistakes

Variables lurk that could negatively impact your coffee or restaurant business, or even reduce your chances of survival. Failure doesn’t necessarily mean closing your doors—it can also be a failure to capitalize on opportunities for growth. Avoiding small mistakes in your business processes can make all the difference.

The number one reason cafes and restaurants fail is, of course, a poor location. Let’s assume yours isn’t killing you (and if it is, you might try improving your odds with better signage and some advertising), and focus on things you can more easily correct, to increase your...

Coffee Shop Team Building That Works

Would your employees cringe if you told them a coffee shop team building exercise was in their future?

Remember that game, “Pass the Orange”? The embarrassing one where you use your neck and chin to pass an orange to a friend, relay-race style? Employees can feel like 11-year-olds at summer camp when coerced into shenanigans like this. A recent Wakefield Research study found that almost a third of U.S. office workers dislike team building activities. That likely goes for hourly restaurant and café workers, too.

You can reduce cynicism around coffee shop team building by doing it in ways that...

How To Build Your Café Staff

We recently brought you several hiring tips and ways to reduce staff turnover. Today we’re sharing insight on building your staff—a skill that cannot be understated in its value to your restaurant or café.

Hire a mix of ages and backgrounds, if possible.

Students are often hired at cafés and restaurants. Most have limited professional experience, making the service industry a great place to start. Nonstudents with some job experience under their belts can be valuable mentors to younger ones, and they can be easier to schedule because they’re not juggling school and study time.

When...

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...

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