In Italy coffee shops are at every corner and in between, just in case. The aroma mixing with the sweet smell of fresh pastries and the bustle of pedestrians in cities and towns across the country. When winter time comes, these are the places people repair to in order to escape the rigor of the short days; in summer they are a welcome respite from the heat -- an opportunity for being social in every season.
Many are small affairs, where standing room is the only option and sometimes two-people thick. People don't mind at all, because the coffee and pastry are an excuse. What they are really all seeking at regular intervals is an opportunity to be social -- to take a break from walking around town, or to stop while on their way from one place to another. The bar (as we call it here) is a true destination in its own right.
The bar is a must for Italians. At least once a day each has a special appointment with coffee and pastry or snack. There are plenty of people wanting a break, and plenty of places.
Yet, some places sit quite empty, while others are packed with people. Is it the coffee? Do some places order a unique blend while others serve a lesser bean? Or perhaps it's the pastries? Maybe there are delicacies that only some carry? No on both accounts. It is about the people -- behind the counter and in front of it.
It takes a skill not found at every corner to be a good coffee maker. There is the smile, then there is the memory of what you like in your coffee, and finally a flair for staging the absolutely perfect experience -- not too staged, quite natural in fact, not too familiar, yet personable.
Now try doing that with the dozens and dozens of people who crowd in a disorderly fashion in front of you. Put in the fact that you need to keep track of many orders at once and in the order in which people poured into the place. Add a smile for good measure and a kind word to follow that -- you have the recipe for success.
[Bar Molinari, Modena]
Does your business have a trademark smile? For every activity and occupation, whether it is in contact with customers or colleagues, kindness and special attention pay a thousandfold.
Take a look at how you do what you do, and inject a big smile and a flair for making it a new experience every time into it. It may surprise you of the big difference a welcome note can make.