Ep2: Part 1 – My Tips – Store Priorities

Episode 2 is written directly to owners/leaders within a cafe environment.

In a café whether you have taken over an existing or new café it is important to set standards and expectations. These will be guidelines for you and your team to work inside.

Remembering The Coffee Lifecycle and what our big goal is, Priorities for your store will help keep everyone on track and deliver the big goal

Priorities for your business need to be simple, clear and easy to understand. You will think that it is just common sense for your team to do these. However, don’t assume!

I had no more than 3 priorities.

Having the priorities clear and simple for your team to understand will ensure their effectiveness. Keep it simple!

The important thing to remember is that tasks in priority number 1 will always override other tasks being completed for the other priorities.

Number 1: Customers

We all know it, customers are our number 1 without them we don’t have a coffee to make etc. We know the role customers play in The Coffee Lifecycle so they should be top of mind.

Customers when they walk in the door all have a different expectation on the experience they want. This could be a combination of – product, service and environment. As a barista your job is to deliver the experience as best you can.

Ill cover this off in a bit more detail in a customer service episode soon. Watch this space.

We need to deliver 100% best product, best service and ensure the environment they are in is at its best.

When customers need us, we drop everything we are doing (within reason) to assist them.

But….. have a think about what you can do to assist your team mates to help deliver our number one priority.

For example: if you have finished serving all the customers at the register, don’t think you have finished with priority number 1. What can you do to help your team?

Can you help:

  • Pull shots
  • Pour drinks
  • Make cold drinks
  • Get cakes
  • Plate up
  • Run coffees.

The list can go on.

This thinking needs to be applied to the barista too. Ask yourself what can you do to help your team, help your customers.

The analogy I like to use relates back to when I was operating my stores. As an owner I implemented the store priorities which help deliver our stores standards and expectations (ill share these with you all as a example in a upcoming episode).

The customer flow worked like this:

Customers order at the Point of Sale (register) waited for coffee and collected their coffee at the other end of the counter.

How I got my staff to understand what I expected from them was to get them to treat every day like we are on a beach on a battle front of war. During the day at certain points on our beach we get invaded.

What do you do when you get invaded?

You send all your troops to push back the invasion. Well in our case if we get invaded at the register we send our troops there to push them to the other side of the counter by taking their order. And once that invasion was clear we assist in the other invasion at the other end of the counter. As you can gather you can be “fighting” multiple invasion points at a time.

Are your Troops ready??


Your next 2 Priorities should assist priority number 1. These can be anything that relates to your business.

I had a dining room in my stores so Number 2 was always the dining room. You can understand that a dirty dining room will impact your customers therefore it is vital to maintain cleanliness here. Tables, chairs and floors. Majority of your customers will spend a minimum of 10 minutes at a table so ensure that you don’t stuff up the experience by having someone sit at a dirty table.

When we invite people into our homes we usually clean up. We do the same for our customers that we are invited into our stores.

Number 3 was stocking up and cleaning up.

This was all about:

Restart, refresh, restock

Stocking up and cleaning up is as simple as it sounds. Stock everything up so you don’t run out of anything during your next rush. There is nothing worse than running out of something when you are busy. It impacts your workflow, speed and quality of service and also distracts you from what people are paying for. This will have a dramatic effect on Priority number 1.

I used to put all the big weekly cleaning tasks into this priority (3). What I used to get my staff to do is see the store through the eyes of the customers. Get on their side of the counter and stand where the customer would stand and look at the areas the customer can see while standing there. This will include areas such as floors, benches, walls, ceiling etc. Purpose was to ensure that these areas are kept clean or close to it at all times.




Remember to keep these clear and simple.

Set out the priorities and discuss with your team. Build tasks within each priority. Get them across it. Ask for their input if necessary to drive engagement

Most importantly with the priorities reinforce that tasks in priority 1 will always override the other priorities

Last tip here is always keep the standard, don’t lower your standards when it gets difficult. It may be challenging at first to get people to embrace this strategy (especially if its all new to them or they aren’t use to strong leadership) but trust me if you keep your standards high your team will come up and play with you and with your expectations of them


You can still use this approach to your daily routine if set priorities aren’t in place.

To be honest I am sure you already go about your day like what I have outlined above. Great team work happens autonomously. If you are struggling to get people on board you can slowly, step by step start pushing in the right direction. As an example, if you have seen them finish serving, just a polite “hey can you put a shot on for me?” To get peoples buy in to help you. You help them (remember priority number 1)

Lasting thought

How does that impact my customers experience?

Does that dirty table help my customer?

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