Saturday, 5 May 2012

Week beginning Tuesday May 8th - A coffee enthusiast, a regular and a tourist walk into a cafe

No, sorry, it's not a joke. I tell really bad jokes, ask the staff. Dad jokes. Anyway, I was thinking about this the other day, because we had a lot of coffee people in over the last weekend with the London Coffee Festival, and we had one particular Spanish family in, who were on holiday and of course, we had our regulars and we had a young lady on trial for a job here as a waitress.

The point is, and what we try to instil in our staff, is how important it is to be able to read your customers and be able to react, to greet, to serve, to explain if required, to converse and to be able to adapt yourself and your style of service to each different category. It's easy to roll out the same mantra each time ' hello how are you, how can I help'. But a truly brilliant service person will read the customer immediately, if possible before they even walk in the door, and adjust their style of service to exactly suit that person or party.

A tourist, or a tourist family, may not be aware of how your process works, the level of English may not be as strong. They will be hesitant, unsure on your how to order or what to order and will generally require a bit more patience. But it's just as easy to look after them, guide them through the process, make them feel welcome, at ease, ask about their holiday, where are they from, use big smiles. We often have families who are here for their holiday come back two or three days in a row, because they were looked after in the first place. And when you are a tourist in a foreign country, isn't that what you want?

A regular is easy, especially for a waitress/er who has been here for a while, as we know exactly what they want, they know what they want, you have a 30 second conversation with them and move onto the next person, knowing they are being well looked after by other staff further down the line. We always introduce our regulars to our new staff and quite often tell the history of them, so the staff know all about them, because it is very important that they know how to look after this person and why they are a regular. It's also very important that a regular is recognised, we know their names, what they drink, how they like it, pay special attention.

The coffee enthusiast is interesting and fun. They often rove in packs, especially ones who come from other countries. So we can spot them before they walk in as the usually gather in a group outside, take photos, then come in and order five espressos. The individuals often get in unnoticed and it's not until they order that you can tell. 'An espresso and a cappucino' is one giveaway. 'What guest espresso or filters do you have on today?' is another.

They read our coffee books, take notes, take photos, sometimes discreetly, sometimes all over the place. Our policy here is to approach and discuss, introduce ourselves and say hello. If time, ask them where they are from and then if possible, invite them to come behind our coffee machine and see what we do. It is so important.

Service is of utmost importance to us, of equal importance to our coffee, our food and our ambiance, but if we treated everyone the same not only would we fail in providing on that, but we would be a pretty boring place.

I think it's pretty easy to provide good service, but, to provide exceptional service that relates to the person you are serving takes a special person indeed. And all that takes though, is to think about it.

Porridge - served w choices chopped dried fruit, muscovado sugar, golden syrup or honey 2.70
Traditional bircher muesli with rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses and rhubarb and raspberry compote 3.30
Fruit salad (pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passionfruit, peach) 3.50
(add 30 p for granola or yoghurt)
Ciabatta Roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Ciabatta Roll with courgette omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 4.70
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach & plum tomatoes 4.70
Croissant with gruyere cheese and plum tomatoes 3.90
Seven seed bakery bloomer toast with homemade preserves 1.70
Cinnamon and raisin toast 2.30
Banana Bread 2.20

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissants 1.70
Pain au chocolat 2.30
Almond croissants 2.70

Baked Treats
Strawberry and coconut milk sweet muffins 2.00
Rocket, parsley, mint and capers savoury muffins 2.00
Raspberry friands 2.00
Super moist chocolate brownies 2.30
White chocolate blondies 2.30
Portuguese tarts 1.90
ANZAC cookies 1.70
Afgan biscuits 1.70


French retro baguettes 4.70
Plum tomatoes with bufala mozzarella, peri peri sauce and spinach
Italian roast ham with apple butter, gruyere, aioli and spinach

Foccacias with sea salt and rosemary crust 4.90
Mushrooms with Welsh rarebit and spinch
Smoked salmon with aioli, dill, red onion, capers and rocket

Salads 4.90/5.90
Slow roasted beef shoulder with cherry vine capsicum tomatoes, watercress, mozzarella and strawberry dressing
Baby yukon carrots with orange, thyme, walnuts cooked in coconut milk, black olives and rocket
Jersey royal mid potatoes fried in cumin

Tart 4.00 or 6.90 with salad
Bunched beetroot galette with creamed leaves, cherries and capers

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