I tasted some amazing coffees while on the West Coast of the US, but what really stood out were two facts:
1. American people can QUEUE! There were lines everywhere for everything. There was a line at the Ferry Building Market that was 400 people strong to pet a goat! Most cafes you walk into have a sizable queue before you get to the counter, which leads me to point #2...
2. American baristas are extraordinarily good at Head's Up service! I never felt uneasy or impatient in a queue, because the baristas behind the machine made me feel completely comfortable and taken care of. My order was important to them and I felt confident they were going to get to it as fast as they could. In the meantime their smile was a worth the wait.
This is an excerpt taken from the Barista Hustle post
that reminded me just how important this skill is:
"It is your job as a barista to make sure that your service is flowing correctly, and to do this, you have to be watching. A service space is nothing without a flow, and especially not a busy cafe. Even if there is a line out the door, a quick bit of eye contact with each person shuffling in makes sure that the line is moving, gives you a feel for the speed of transactions and tickets, and helps build the crucial “we’re all in this together” bonhomie of a relaxing service interaction."
South Africa has some way to go with this. Creating a flow and welcoming atmosphere within the cafe space is often not held at a top priority. Perhaps because there isn't that much competition of places to get a good cup of coffee? vida e caffe made their presence felt by the amazing service provided by their singing, smiling baristas, you couldn't help but leave that place in a good mood! With the mushrooming of this brand, this is one of the aspects I often miss most, not the coffee, but the experience.
A good barista can almost make a coffee with their eyes closed they've done it so many times, the next step to face those eyes forward and make the customer's experience of that cup of coffee world class. Acknowledging people's existence goes a long way towards a higher standard in cafes (and a healthy Tip Jar!).
Do you agree? Disagree? What are your best and worst cafe experience related to a head's up barista?
The Blue Bottle satellites all over San Francisco are always busy, but you never feel you've been waiting long. You have had to wait for your coffee, but the heads up service makes sure you never even notice!
Visiting one of the many wonderful markets, there are always queues of people waiting. Sightglass Coffee handled it like champs!