Does the loo sparkle?

Amanda Poetker
 • 
Oct 2020
4 min read
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We may be known as a nation of tea drinkers, but with Brits drinking 95 million cups of coffee a day, you could say that we’re learning to love a good cup of coffee too. Is it all about the coffee though? Or are we looking for an experience that goes beyond what’s in our cup?

It’s not just us, either. Worldwide coffee production has reached a record high, and consumption is expected to grow by 5–7% by 2025. Coffee is serious business, and seriously competitive business.

This burgeoning fascination with coffee and café culture has inevitably led to a swelling in the number of both high street chains and independent coffee connoisseurs dotted around towns and city centres.

Behind the intricate brewing styles and the heady smell of roasted beans, however, sits many moving parts, which come together to create the most important aspect of coffee shop success: a great customer experience.

It’s All About the Experience

You’d be hard-pressed to walk through a town centre and not see at least one of the big coffee chains — Starbucks, Costa, Nero — and a half dozen independent coffee shops.

What sets the most successful apart from their competitors is far from just their singular appreciation of great tasting coffee and ethical sourcing. It comes from recognising what their customers experience when they choose their establishment — and how to fine tune that experience to keep them hooked and coming back for more.

Walk through the door at any branch of Starbucks, for example, and you’ll be greeted with consistency designed to make you feel at home whether you’re ordering your morning latte in California or Carmarthen.

For any coffee shop owners with ambitions of growth and success, this consistently pleasant customer experience isn’t out of reach — and it doesn’t require huge expenditure.

Research has shown that customers are after the simple things in life: clean toilets, access to the WiFi and friendly, knowledgeable baristas — the recent McDonald’s advert portraying the latter particularly well.

Catering for the gig economy

The humble coffee shop has also seen something of a reinvention in the last few years, thanks to the continued rise in remote working. For purveyors of the gig economy, the coffee shop represents the ideal working locale, with many a study identifying the background noise actually being beneficial to productivity.

How such a shift has affected coffee shops is evident in some locations: communal seating mimics open plan offices, while power sockets dot the walls in strategic places.

Aside from these extra perks, however, freelancers and professionals are after a similar experience to casual customers. They’re after great staff, clean toilets, a welcoming atmosphere and, of course, Wi-Fi capable of addressing their needs.

Basically, everything they need to get away from the office and get on with their work. The taste of the coffee, it seems, comes second.

Quality & Consistency

It’s obvious that coffee shop customers are looking for more than a cup of coffee when choosing their regular haunts.

Loyalties can also be influenced by online reviews, with social media and the likes of TripAdvisor making or breaking a business. Unfortunately, the uncleanliness of the loos is much more likely to make it into a review than the rich Colombian flavours on offer, and coffee shops need to be aware of how the small things can add up. In a time of connectivity, the tiniest oversight can make big ripples.

It’s not just what’s online that coffee shops have to look out for, either. With ‘Scores on the Doors’ continuing to roll out well into 2019, health and safety must come to the forefront of every hospitality establishment. Not only can a health and safety oversight undermine compliance, it can also be displayed for the world to see, directly affecting customer footfall — and the bottom line.

As remote working continues its rise in popularity, more individuals are looking to work from a coffee shop — it’s more affordable than an office, after all. By providing everything remote workers are asking for, coffee shops stand to gain immensely from the relationship. They can expect to see steady and predictable patronage, allowing for confident forecasting, which itself is helpful in growing the business.

Brewing the perfect experience across multiple sites

It’s obvious, then, that coffee shops stand to benefit greatly from focusing on customer experience. But how can they ensure, consistently, that standards are being met — especially across multiple sites?

The secret lies in creating checklists designed to build good habits among teams. With checklists, coffee shops can ensure that the same, standardised tasks are being carried out across all venues. Through this approach, they can standardise, maintain and ultimately, succeed.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start — we’ve already compiled a checklist for coffee shop success to get you start.

It covers different aspects of the customer experience, such as:

  • People: combating high staff turnover with a speedy, yet thorough, training programme
  • Opening checks: setting the tone for the day and complying with health and safety regulations
  • Coffee brew log: this is, after all, a special cup of coffee
  • Coffee equipment cleaning: ensuring everything is up to standard and ready to produce the best cup of coffee possible
  • And of course, toilet checks: making the facilities sparkle to keep customers happy to return

By focusing on these tasks (and more), each of the moving parts responsible for the customer experience can come together with minimal friction — and the guarantee that everybody across the business is on the same page.

The final result? A welcoming environment your customers can’t get enough of — and amazing coffee to boot.

If you’re wondering how best to create and manage these checklists across multiple sites, Trail has you covered. We have a library of checklist templates designed just for coffee shops that you’ll have access to.