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Aesthetics Vs Functionality - The Coffee Workflow

The age-old question of any café owner when setting up is should I opt for something more eye pleasing or should I offer an efficient system to allow my staff an easier time, as well as the customer.

Today I’ll be siding with the baristas and discussing how to better prepare your café so that you have an effective workflow, which in turn will make the whole experience more rewarding for both staff and customers.

Making a coffee quickly does not mean that it is going to be more delicious. As with all training I conduct I discuss how quality will always outweigh speed in the long run especially in acquiring repeat business. The foundation of any business in hospitality especially coffee is making sure you get your regulars.

Now, how do we get those customers back in the door.

Simple and most definitely effective is to greet your guests as they enter. Give them information they might not be privy to, such as where to order or where they can wait, that small interaction will make any waiting time feel massively reduced in their eyes. People just want to be noticed and it’s just nice to say hello. Hi.

When setting up the workstation there is a lot to cover, so here are the points you want to consider when doing so;

⭐️ You want to ensure there is no crossover between staff, the line should follow in a direct line without staff bumping into one another

⭐️ Have a system for baristas, one to take the orders and do espresso while the other steams milk & finishes off drinks. Dependent on staff etc

⭐️ Make sure that it goes grinder, machine, steam wand, serving area in that order

⭐️ Bins are accessible and easy to change

⭐️ Place a sink close to the machine or install a jug rinser (life saver!)

⭐️ Use the steam wand on the other side of the grinder

⭐️ Create a system for writing down drinks

⭐️ Politely move customers to the waiting area

⭐️ If making espresso you can help the steamer by prepping the milk for them

⭐️ Fully stocked fridge

From my point of view it is crucial that both the designer and person working behind the counter are in constant communication with decisions being made. Staff will benefit greatly from an effective system and this can lead to job retention and much happier staff in the future.

Have I missed anything on the list?

Would you do anything differently if you had a second chance setting up a café?

Are you planning on setting up a café?

Jon Townsend


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