Big Chain Acting Better Than Mom & Pop

 In Create Loyalty, Your Employees

Got a minute? Take a look at these two paragraphs from a story from the New York Times. The writer talks about how they passed up their local Brooklyn coffee shops and “gave in” to going to Starbucks…

At some point last year one of my beleaguered cohort suggested that we just go to Starbucks because it was easier and because the coffee wasn’t remotely exceptional at any of the places we were going anyway.

Within the span of a few visits, I was treated as a regular — greeted by name, my order memorized — at an outpost of a multinational corporation, a status I had never been accorded at independent coffee bars, where intimacy is ostensibly part of the lure. Beyond that, the workers at the places I had been going were largely white, while the staff at this particular Starbucks was almost entirely nonwhite.

Shame on the little guy mom-and-pop shop. What a great opportunity they have, being wasted. The author mentions how snobby the workers are at the local coffee shops.

Give the rest of the article a read, it is interesting about the politics of where it is “right” or “wrong” to conduct business.

The reason you open up a small shop is to out-do the big, giant corporations. Yet, in this example, Starbucks with 22,000 stores and over 182,000 employees is doing a better job than someone in charge of hiring and training 20 people.

So, what’s the problem?

I’ll bet the snobby coffee shop folks would say, “Good riddance, we don’t want that type of customer anyhow.” But, assuming the owners and investors of the local shops want to grow, here’s my advice.

Hire For Better Culture

There is a difference in feeling proud of how much better your product is from the competition, and being an elitist snob about it. Our goal is to make the customer feel like a hero, an insider… because they’re buying from you!

Something is broken that employees are either being taught or picking-up on being an elitist shop and belittling customers. Owners should look at who is training. Who is the role model for employee behavior day-to-day. That will fix the source of the problem.

Put The Customer First, Know Them

If a high-volume Starbucks can remember a customer’s name after a few visits… A small, neighborhood-based shop should not only know my name… but my kid’s names, what I do for a living and my birthday!

Visiting a mom-and-pop should be like Boston pub show, Cheers! Where everyone knows your name and they yell, “Norm!” when you walk in.

Maybe you’ve got small-batch roasted coffee, take 15-minutes to craft a pour-over or make elaborate foam art atop my latte, but being jerky to customers is making them depart for good.

Source: New York Times, Chick-fil-A and the Politics of Eating, by Ginia Bellafante.

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