Baristas know business

I was having a discussion at work recently about the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) in creating engineering drawings. The point I was trying to make is that BIM is better than plain 2D drafting in many ways. Furthermore, any person involved in this trade should be proficient in both. A drafter/designer should be capable of cranking out 2D drawings, or intelligent 3D drawings when the project calls for it.

To simplify this: it should be as simple as when your barista asks you "Decaf, or Regular?"

This got me thinking that when you look at a barista in a coffee shop, you can see they cover most aspects of business. These rules aren't just for coffee shops, they also apply to offices.

Be professional

Tuck in your shirt, and leave your Led Zeppelin T-Shirt at home. The customer is more interested in their coffee than your self-expression.

Acknowledge your customers

Say "Hi!" to customers when they enter, or even just a simple nod. If they look confused, ask what you can do to help.

Smiles give phenomenal ROI (return on investment)

They cost nothing, but they can earn you a lot of money. Sometimes, smiling even though you're unhappy can lift your own spirits.

Know your craft

It doesn't matter whether your customer wants a black cup of coffee, or a Mocha-Frappe-Latte Sugar Explosion. You're an expert, and they're both very easy for you. In fact, you've got it down so well that you even know how to make the 12 drinks that herd of hipsters just ordered without letting the line go out the door.

Make it simple for the customer

Display your menu and show the options they want to see. When they ask for that Mocha-Frappe-Latte Sugar Explosion with half Splenda and half organic brown sugar, don't roll your eyes or sigh heavily because it's complicated or not on the menu. The reason the customer is asking you to make it (and giving you money to do so) is because they don't want to do it themselves. If it was easy, people wouldn't pay you to do it.

Know your customers

Who pays $8 for a drink of coffee? No one, because it's not THAT good. However, people will pay $8 for Wi-Fi, a quiet environment, clean restrooms, and a comfortable seat to relax in while sipping their coffee. Customers don't just buy the end product, they buy the whole experience. If your customers are only buying the product, how will you survive when a competitor sells the same product AND has comfy chairs?

Know your repeat customers

We're all human, and we all love attention. I wish every one I walk past would say "Hey, Derek!" The fact that my local baristas know me and acknowledge me as a person, not just a wallet with legs and a slight caffeine addiction, makes me feel good. It also makes me feel good that I don't have to explain the drink I want every time. They know me and they know what I want.

Help your customers understand what they want

Have you ever found yourself blankly staring at a wall of choices, add-ons, and flavors with no idea what you want? If your customer doesn't know what they want, ask them what mood they're in. Or, suggest a drink you like. The worst thing they can do is ignore your advice and make their own decision. However, this does not mean you should shamelessly attempt to offload a pound of coffee on them when they only want a drink.