Ep2: Part 2 – My Tips – Standards & Expectations

The Grey Area.

Welcome to Part2 . In this episode (spread over 4 parts) I am covering off Actions to implement when starting or taking over an existing business.

Next Actions to implement is to introduce Standards & Expectations (S&E) for your team. These may also be known as policies, rules or procedures.

S&E are guidelines to work closely with the Priorities and The Coffee Lifecycle.

I separated S&E’s into 3 parts:


These S&E’s will be clear guidelines to follow and will ensure that rules are in place so there are no Grey Areas.

A grey area will be a zone you don’t want. Staff that are not given clear direction or rules will usually start to get away with something that impacts The Coffee Lifecycle. Prevent the grey area by implementing a standard, rule or policy.

With any S&E it is important to have these clearly outlined on paper to allow quick reference when needed and to prevent The Grey Area.

For Service

I first had an overall mission for our service:

People are your work.

We are no longer a vending machine where people put their money in and out spits a cup of coffee. People have invested their time and money into our business, so we need to invest our time back.  We work in an open environment that encourages communication and interaction.

Service guidelines could include:

  • Acknowledgement of customers
  • Attention given to customers
  • Overall customer service (future episode on this, stay tuned!)
For Product

A café environment relies heavily on repeat business. To assist in that we need to provide a consistent, high quality product.

Product guidelines could include:

  • Coffee recipe and recipes for other drinks
  • Presentation standards – latte art and food presentation

Product guidelines sound pretty straight forward. But, can be opened for interpretation if not policed. Get your team to know what good looks like and what is expected. I would highly recommend to show them what bad looks like, so they know not to go there. People learn more from the bad as they do from the good.

As an example you may have a guideline around Latte art expectations. This may be high contrast art on all drinks.

High contrast latte art to me is strong white and strong crema, no in between. No wash out etc. this will ensure a consistent flavour profile.

There are many levels of art that can be deemed as high contrast in my opinion. A simple blob in the centre is and so is a 10 stack tulip. Both look different but both have strong white and, strong crema around the outside. Both will produce the same flavour profile.

A washed out latte with a heart isn’t going to deliver the same flavour profile. This is obviously not inside the guidelines.

I would recommend the same approach with a coffee recipe.

A coffee recipe is vital to any café.

I want to dive into the recipe a little more so it will require a whole new episode in the future.

In short though, discuss with your team acceptable ranges within the recipe (weigh in, weigh out and time ranges) and get them to taste the good and the bad. Set your guideline based on your teams feedback. Setting a guideline is extremely important. You don’t want your team saying “its close enough, use it!”. This will then set the attitude of “good enough is good enough”

For Behaviour

These could include information on

  • Mobile phone usage
  • Rosters and availabilities
  • Calling in sick
  • Team work
  • Office areas
  • Breaks

I used this section to really focus on team culture and energy. I reiterated the information on team work and helping out your team mates, priorities etc

Focusing on having the individuals being in a positive mindset will ensure a positive energy within the work environment.

Positive mindset will ensure a positive energy within the work environment.

Ever walked into a room just after 2 people have had an argument? You didn’t witness it but you know something has happened. You can feel the uncomfortable energy in the room. If this was to occur in a cafe, customers will feel that energy and it will have drastic effect on their experience. It’s not very welcoming!



These are just an example of what we can implement for our S&E. Remember to be clear in what you expect from your team.

No Grey Areas!

Covering all bases and delivering a clear message on all aspects of the business will ensure you have raised and set the bar (standards). Raising this bar is the easy part, maintaining it is the challenge.

I mentioned in part 1 and the same applies here

Don’t lower your standards when it gets difficult. It may be challenging at first to get people to embrace this strategy (especially if it’s 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

I find the best thing about S&E’s is that you have clearly outlined what is required from your team in each area of the business. Your team should really have no excuse to be working outside your S&E.

If you find that a member of your team isn’t performing as per the S&E, it should be easy to pull them back inside the guidelines.

The owners part inside The Coffee Lifecycle is to look after your team and provide them all the tools and education they need to achieve their role. If a team member isn’t achieving what you set out for them to achieve (eg. Following the S&E) and they understand how The Coffee lifecycle works all you have to do as an owner is ask:

  • Do they understand what is required as per the S&E? should be a yes


  • Is there anything I can do as an owner to assist you in achieving this?

Usually if the team member is trained correctly and understands the S&E, they would say no to the second question. If the answers is yes than assist when needed.

You should see a turn around in behaviour quite quickly. If not then a harder conversation may have to take place.

Lasting thought

Rules, standards, policies, guidelines, procedures – what ever they are called, they are there to prevent chaos!

If everyone plays inside the rules, you all will succeed!

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