At Leaf Bean Machine, we are coffee people. And as coffee people we all value hospitality: the industry, the discipline, the concept.
We believe there is one aspect of hospitality that is more important than all else. Sadly, it is probably one of the most overlooked aspects, too. We are talking about communication.
Let me tell you a story about a hospitality worker; we shall him call Larry. Larry works in a café as a barista. One day Larry was particularly stressed out because the café was very busy and understaffed, and the customers were getting impatient. As Larry was reaching for another bag of coffee to fill the hopper, he noticed that he was down to his last kilo. Larry’s manager had forgotten to call the wholesale coffee supplier to place the order, and he failed to ask a member of staff to place the order in his absence. Larry got angry.
As you can imagine, this is not an ideal scenario to end up in. Unfortunately, it is more common than we would hope. Every week our team witnesses the repercussions of poor communication. Whether it be at the expense of customer service, lack of communication between staff or with suppliers. In Larry’s case, the management had neglected to ensure the café was properly staffed, that stock levels were topped up and orders had been placed. All of this could have been avoided if good communication practices were in place.
Read on below to hear our top tips for effective communication in the hospitality industry.
Simple yet effective customer service
How many times have you walked in to a Perth café or restaurant only to be completely ignored? Not very often we hope! Greeting your customers is such a simple way to build a relationship with them, as is thanking them and making sure they were happy with the service as they leave. Equally as important is getting to know your customers and how they like to drink their coffee, and fulfilling their order to the letter! Even if you don’t like how a customer might choose to drink their coffee, it’s not you drinking it. Remember that we would not have jobs to go to if we didn’t have customers to look after; so look after them!
Get to know your suppliers
As wholesale coffee and tea suppliers, we love building rapport with our customers. We call every one of our café’s weekly to take their orders and generally check in with them. We value these relationships highly. Having your main suppliers on speed dial is good practice for whenever you get stuck. Whether you need urgent stock delivery (however these instances will become less frequent with good communication!) or technical support, your suppliers are the people who can help and should respond right away; after all, if you aren’t selling your products, then neither are they!
Listen to feedback
In the digital age it is so easy for people to share their thoughts and opinions on a range of experiences. The average person can instantaneously share their opinion with a wide audience. Make sure you keep on top of the reviews being shared via social media and Google and take all feedback as constructive. Whether or not you immediately agree with a less-than flattering review, take the time to consider exactly what the patron has said about your establishment and whether there are some aspects you could improve upon. Don’t forget to thank people for taking time out to give their feedback, too. Authenticate you Google Business page and respond to online reviews! Your customers want to be heard and will appreciate you listening.
Regular staff meetings are a priority for us at Leaf Bean Machine. We get together fortnightly to discuss what has traversed over the weeks, ways we can improve and also to congratulate each other for doing such an awesome job! Every staff member gets the opportunity to communicate.
It is crucial for owners, managers and supervisors to lead by example and use good communication skills with staff, customers and suppliers. Encourage staff to approach you with any issues they might be having. A communication book or group messenger app come in handy so that staff and management can leave each other messages at the end of their shifts and during changeover. It’s as simple as keeping every team member on the same page.
Finally, to avoid the situation our friend Larry found himself in – we recommend getting a whiteboard in your storeroom to keep track of stock levels. This way, all staff will be aware of par-levels, what has been ordered and what needs to be ordered.
Effective communication should be the cornerstone of any Perth Coffee business; we would go so far as to argue that good communication practises can make or break a hospitality business.