Specialty Coffee Retailer

Specialty Coffee Retailer February 2014

Specialty Coffee Retailer is a publication for owners, managers and employees of retail outlets that sell specialty coffee. Its scope includes best sales practices, supplies, business trends and anything else to assist the small coffee retailer.

Issue link: https://read.dmtmag.com/i/258589

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Page 4 of 51

February 2014 • www.specialty-coffee.com | 5 S o, a customer comes into JP's with a one pound bag of beans from a large international co ee chain and asks my employee, "Can you grind this for me?" My employee, let's call him Stu, was understandably mi ed. " ey purchase Starbucks co ee and expect me to grind it. And with an attitude, too!" "Yes," I answered Stu, "We not only grind it; we do it with a smile!" Stu asked, "So, why don't we let them bring in a cup of co ee from Starbucks and drink it in our store? Seems kind of like the same thing to me." Stu has a valid question—what rules do we establish for our business and when do we allow or encourage them to be sidestepped? At JP's we have standards and policies like most of you do regarding how we handle the day-to-day operations. Many were created and later updated by situations we've encountered and then discussed and decided 'yes' we will do that, or 'no' we won't—but why yes to some things and no to others? And if you allow yes to grinding a competitor's co ee, are you sending the wrong message? I've said it before and I'll keep saying it—it's not all about the co ee; it's all about the customer. On a daily basis we deal with a range of people, from co ee a cionados to "just make it strong" customers, friendly folk and not so friendly folk. So how do you combine, "No, we don't pour double espressos over ice in a 16 ounce cup" and "Yes, I'll grind a pound of co ee you purchased at the grocery store for you" and maintain sanity, a quality-minded sta and pro tability? And it is at this point that rubber and road meet—it's not always easy and we don't always get it right. But we must keep at the forefront the reason we do what we do. Co ee doesn't pay our wages, customers do! And customers talk today more than ever before. Remember the adage, "Satis ed customers tell an average of 4 people of their great experience, but dissatis ed customers tell an average of 17 people of their bad experience." Well today it is magni ed to "all customers post it on Yelp, Google and their own Facebook page telling potentially thousands of people of their experience." And written critiques don't fade like spoken critiques—they hang around to be read over and over. So what do we do with "that customer?" Basically, a customer who brings a cup of co ee from a competitor needs training (and a gentle correction) because their parents failed to teach them common sense. But the person who brings in a bag of a competitor's co ee may simply be in need of my grinder, which solves their problem. (And while the co ee is grinding I give them a sales pitch on my co ee and a sample to take with them and turn the customer's need into a future sale). And then back to common sense: if they make it a habit they'll surely need to nd someone else to grind their co ee. Friction is uncomfortable. Getting your foot caught under a tire is not fun (I can show you a scar). But no friction means the tire is not moving forward, aka no energy. And in business, energy comes in the form of customers. And each customer is unique. Remember, in the co ee business we make our money four bucks at a time! We must nd a way to win as many customers as we can. We won't win them all, but we shouldn't lose good customers to poor communication. If a person expects you to accept something destructive to your business like drinking the competition's co ee in your store, they're not a customer, they're self-centered. But, if a person is not at our level of understanding how a co ee shop operates and we o end them for what in their mind might be a reasonable question, we have lost that person—and possibly the thousands of other people they'll tell. SCR Jack Groot owns JP's Co ee and the Midwest Barista School in Holland, MI. He spends the majority of his time as a consultant to the co ee industry in the US and worldwide. His work helps individuals create, open, improve and operate successful operations in the retail co ee industry. You can read more from Jack's experience as a 20-year co ee retailer at his blog, www. co eegroot.com. Jack can be reached at jack@jpsco ee.com. C : W ? J ACK'S BLEND J G "It's not all about the co ee; it's all about the customers." 05 JacksBlend SCR0214.indd 5 2/6/2014 12:00:48 PM

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