By Mansi Chokshi – Membership Manager, SCAA
As a coffee retailer, your relationship with your customer is pivotal to success. However, is it possible to know every customer’s name? Chuckism #1 – Be prepared to know 1000 names when you open a coffee business. Chuck Jones, co-owner of Jones Coffee Roaster in Pasadena, CA tells our membership team about the value in connecting with each and every customer and shares some insight on running a successful business.
In the early morning hours, “it’s all about the flow of the line.” Chuck explains that he goes through as many as 600 transactions every morning before noon and so the goal during those rush hours is to help the customer get what they need- quickly. There are valet parkers in the front lot to help with customers that want to zoom in and out of the parking lot rather than search for street parking. Sure there’s a cost associated with hiring valet parkers, but it’s important to provide your customers with convenience so they continue coming back. To keep the line moving, Chuck says it’s important to “empower your staff to dissolve issues.” Small complaints are best handled if resolved quickly and when ‘removed from the line’ so the flow can continue. Great customer service is prevalent throughout the shop and definitely a key factor in this coffee shop’s success.
Customer engagement is the other key factor. This is no average espresso bar. Jones Coffee Roaster is an importer, roaster and retailer and has a section of the shop dedicated for each area. When you walk in through the front entrance, to the left is a glass wall sectioning off a room for cuppings, sample roasts and where trainings for local customers occur once or twice a month. To the right is a huge counter top with roasted coffee dispensers displayed behind and a tasting bar set up for demonstrations of coffee with popular and home brewers. In the center of the room is the espresso bar with coffee, tea and fresh baked pastries. The roaster and green bean bags are tucked in the back of the room. Seating areas are sprinkled throughout the room and a section is opened up for when there is a local artist or musician present (we caught a local musician when we stopped in!). Attached are other rooms for more seating and office space and an entire room dedicated to a global store with special items from the women who work in the farms of Guatemala. Interesting and completely unique art is hung on the walls for sale by local artists and collectors. And… the staff has a section on the wall with painted portraits – now that’s completely different from any other shop we’ve visited. On Wednesdays, popular and trendy food trucks are parked in the front lot for Wheel Food Wednesdays, where customers and the neighbors can enjoy different cuisines and snacks from their favorite food trucks. On this particular Friday when our staff visited, it was Tamale Friday, a day in which delicious tamales made locally, are sold in the coffee shop. A recent addition to the menu, and available in limited quantities, is Cool Haus ice cream sandwiches. Our staff was lucky enough to taste ½ of the dirty mint ice cream sandwiched between double chocolate cookies drenched in an espresso shot. Delicious!
We definitely appreciate spending the afternoon in Pasadena and enjoyed watching some of the finest baristas in action (did we mention they were even wearing their BGA jacket!). We also noticed how wonderfully friendly and happy the customers were and we got an opportunity to witness some of the “super dupers”- customers that come in 3 to 4 times a day! We definitely understand why customers would like to frequent Jones Coffee Roasters and if we were closer in proximity, our staff might turn into super dupers too! Thank you to the entire Jones family for having us and sharing with us and our members a glimpse of running a successful and engaging coffee shop.