top of page

This is the most important thing in a coffee shop (not what you think)

Updated: Mar 12

What Is Most Important In A Coffee Shop?

Is it how good the coffee is?

How cool the design inside is?

How convenient the location is?

How trendy the menu is?

How about how quick the service is?

This is the most important thing in your coffee shop

Coffee Shop Hospitality

The most important thing in your coffee shop is your customers.

How you treat your customers and the experience you give them in your coffee shop. A remarkable experience will keep people coming back, spending more, returning more often, telling and bringing their friends. I would constantly remind my staff that coffee comes second, the customer comes first.

Having a great product is not enough to have a successful business. Consistently providing great quality coffee is table stakes. Beyond that, you will need to become familiar with people and provide them with a remarkable experience through remarkable service.

Think back to some of your favorite restaurant or coffee shop experiences.

I’m sure the food is amazing. But what really makes those experiences stick out? Did you receive remarkable service?

If you can’t think of an experience off the top of your head, try to think of a negative experience you’ve had. What made it so bad? I can almost guarantee it is because of bad service.

One of my favorite restaurants here in Austin, TX is Lutie's Garden Restaurant.

Yes, it's beautiful. Yes, the food and drinks are incredible. But wow – the service is STELLAR.

What Is Remarkable Coffee Shop Service?

Remarkable service means doing whatever you need to do to meet your customer’s needs and then surpass their wants.

The baristas in my coffee shop would make it a point to remember every regular’s name and their order. They also make suggestions on new seasonal drinks they may like. Then the next time the regular comes in, they ask how they liked that drink last time. They remember where the customer said they went on vacation and ask them about it when they return.

The baristas that provide remarkable coffee shop service make conversation WHILE making amazing coffee.

These baristas smile. They make conversation WHILE making amazing coffee. They make eye contact.

The baristas I trained would greet people within ten seconds of coming into the coffee shop and acknowledge them when they leave. They offer them samples of new products or seasonal drink experiments. They throw in extra espresso shots at no charge. They do whatever they can to add value to the customer’s experience. These are just a few things they do to provide remarkable experiences.

Other Examples of Remarkable Coffee Shop Service:

  • To the mom with kids, offer a small pastry or cup of cold milk.

  • Add whipped cream to the kid’s hot chocolate free of charge.

  • When someone walks up to the bar or serving counter, immediately acknowledge them and ask how you can help.

  • When small children have drinks, keep a close eye and be ready with a towel or mop when they spill something. Don’t let the parent have to keep up their child’s mess, they do that enough at home.

  • Put out free samples of a best selling product.

  • Never talk negatively about a customer or the competition while behind the bar. Customers will hear.

  • Have fun doing your job. Positivity begets positivity.

  • Tell people the name of the person making their drink and where they can pick it up. Coffee shops usually have small staff and regulars will love knowing that Ruben or Heather is making their coffee.

  • When serving and calling a name, make eye contact with the person who ordered the item.

  • When someone orders espresso, serve it with an espresso spoon and small glass of sparkling water. Tell them the country of origin and flavor notes to look for.

  • Put your manual brew station so that it faces customers, most likely the bar seating. Then the barista can chat with customers while they enjoy the theater of the slow bar.

  • When a customer is looking at the menu for a period of time, ask if they’ve been in before. Help guide them through the menu and make suggestions so they can find what they’re looking for.

  • When a customer you know brings in their friend or family, make the experience incredible. This means they enjoy your establishment so much, they have chosen to share it with people they love. This is a huge compliment and don’t waste the opportunity to show remarkable service to the people your customer loves.

  • While at the espresso machine, talk to customers while they are in line. A long line can be a deterrent to some customers, but they are much more likely to stick around and wait if they have been greeted and engaged.

  • On busy mornings during the rush, have a joke prepared to tell people in the few short minutes while waiting for their coffee.

  • Keep behind the bar clean. Customers will notice.

  • Don’t be afraid to let people know the procedure. If you’re taking orders from the espresso machine during one-person coverage, let customers know you can get started on their drink and ring them up at the POS in a minute. Don't assume they know how things are supposed to go.

  • When a customer asks for something at the serving counter, always acknowledge them and tell them how they will be helped. If a customer asks for a fork, don’t just turn around and walk over to the forks with no response. Tell them you will grab them a fork AND THEN do it!

  • Overcorrect your mistakes and be quick to apologize.

  • Tell people ‘Bye’ or ‘See you later’ when they leave.

Being quick, hip, convenient, consistent, tasty, and cool is great - and those things are important in a coffee shop.

But they aren't the most important things in your coffee shop.

Coffee shops are sustained by their regulars. Take care of them.

People are willing to overlook all those things provided they receive remarkable service and feel cared for. Coffee shops are sustained by their regulars. Take care of them.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel taken care of. Whether they order the single-origin espresso or the large caramel macchiato with whip, provide them with remarkable service.

Exercise for Coffee Shop Owners

  • What are some things that you can think of not listed here to provide remarkable service?

  • How have you received remarkable service in the past?

  • What will you start doing immediately?

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



Download our free e-book that will give you 20 tips to put into practice to start using social media in a way that works.

Start Winning at Social Media

bottom of page