I was invited to a coffee roasting company in a mid-western U.S. state some time back to take part as a teacher in a coffee ‘Mess’ session for baristas, cafe owners and everyone involved in coffee. Check Gelato Chicago.
My job during this event was to concentrate on extraction fundamentals while others would learn in other facets of coffee making espresso. It soon turned out that what started off as a straightforward practise was a somewhat different thing for the participants (who were mainly cafe owners) and what they truly wanted was re-training of their conceptual perspective about what makes good business sense.
You see, training in the A to Z coffee making method is really simple. There are thousands of ex-baristas out there plying their talents in the field of espresso instruction, and although there are some slight cultural and consistency variations, it is not impossible for a prospective cafe owner to find one or two courses on the topic in general. What cafe owners need, sadly, is to learn in a way of thinking that will encourage them to develop easy procedures designed to increase their business ‘ profitability. Education on how to produce espresso coffees is just a very limited part of the solution, and not the answer.
What am I to say by that?
Cafeterias managers aren’t baristas. Although all groups definitely wish to know the best they can understand regarding the commodity that brings the style of company its name, it ends there for the latter and it is only the beginning for the former.
Running / owning a company allows owners to reach way beyond the fundamentals and build a business with a perceptible point of differentiation for the end customer. And it’s not one element that can bring you there, but more a mixture of a number of minor points of variations that converge to make a big difference point in the end user view. Far too much I come across cafe owners concerned with producing coffee in my consulting work but not the organisation they run. Out of over 500 companies that I have directly trained, for example, fewer than 10 reported that they tried to put together a business plan. Fewer than a dozen had a routine training schedule in effect for employees, and at the click of a button about half a dozen could automatically inform me their financial status. But more than 200 understood their coffee better than their company did.
The pressure on the café owner to consider all facets of his / her company extends beyond the commodity they ply, simply because the thumb rule for me when I evaluate a company is not just how much money he / she earns, but how much money he / she losses per day.
Any ‘dark hole’ in a company drains energy and capital out of the company and therefore does not encourage it to achieve its maximum revenue potential. A ‘black hole’ is some aspect of a market that has not been calculated, quantified, and distilled into a replicable process that can be replicated by all workers without incoherence. Nearly all cafe businesses have places that are inadequately performing and it simply means that in fact virtually all cafe businesses are underperforming! These ‘dark holes’ can only vanish until certain places are shored to the extent that anyone in the company will replicate the very same outcome. What happens right after that also amazes the owners from practise. Sales up fire. And each successive market part that’s bedded down cranks revenues ever further upward. I have seen several cases of owners who stood there in shock as their already ‘stable’ company, which they thought was operating at its best, unexpectedly encountered a 50 to 100 percent leap in less than 12 months.
Procedures that are easy to obey and that no one deviates from inside the company can still guarantee the same result. And consumers out there who notice contradictions in any of the cafes they frequent will leave them in droves with half the possibility of not trying to wonder what they’re going to get once they step into a café. A stable company ensures for these customers that they can actually take time out of their day to zoning out without trying to judge the goods or services they get. They ‘re going to realise just what they’re going to get before they ever go in.