I spent last week in sunny Brisbane and sunny it was! 30+ degrees most days. Lucky I took my Quiksilver cap with me because every morning and night almost without exception I embarked on a 50 minute walk from my apartment to South Bank and back.
Obviously the journey took me past numerous coffee shops through the city and around South Bank and being a lover of the brew I was on the lookout for the best coffee in town. My personal preference is a piccolo’ – that’s a short macchiato topped up with milk. I like strong coffee and I don’t like lots of milk. Interestingly enough, nearly everywhere I ordered a piccolo they knew what it was. Rarely is that the case in Perth where I live. As expected Sydney and Melbourne virtually never question what I’m after and quickly poured me a top drop.
Anyway, I figured out the best way to find a good coffee was to go to the places that were packed out. And one particular place at the bottom of an office building that had the ability to serve people on the outside and the inside of the building with a few tables and chairs, was absolutely packed. Their outside opening was virtually a drive-thru window but this time it was a walk-thru window and the queue stretched 10-15 metres long.
Finally I reached the window to be warmly greeted by two rather hip (if that’s a word!) young guys – one simply making the coffee, the other taking the order and giving you your change. And they gave you your coffe right then and there. The guy was good enough to make it on the spot and then you moved on coffee in hand. Haven’t seen that done lately.
Starbucks don’t do it, Coffee Club don’t do it, Gloria Jean’s either. The Dome doesn’t do it – can’t think of anyone who does do it that way. I quizzed the guys about how busy the place was and although I’d pretty much seen the answer I wanted to hear it from them. On the counter through this little window was a large bowl of chocolate wafers.
His response to “How come you’re so packed?” was to look down and point to the chocolate wafers. These were about 20mm square and rather crisp, fresh and yummy and they certainly played a big part in getting me back apart from the fact the coffee was good also.
Trouble is there were a lot of empty coffee shops making good coffee so great coffee alone ain’t gonna do it.
Something else I observed having bought coffee at several coffee shops was they only charged me $2.50 for the piccolo and $3.50 for a regular cappuccino or flat white. This was about 50c under most other outlets – in fact most even charged me $3.50 to $4.00 for the piccolo even though it was a fraction of the size of a flat white or cappuccino.
Now I’m not into discounting but when there’s a coffee shop every 50 metres, it is a commodity bought on price alone, assuming the quality of the coffee is comparable.
They were in fact giving away part of the profit they never had, to get a profit they never would have had and they made their bonus the product (the chocolate wafer) so they only gave away something when they made money.
There’s two morals to the story – one is the power of added value and two is little things not only mean a lot, they can mean everything. I expect you could “ping off” some pretty cheap, empty coffee shops in Brisbane if you tried.
One more thing, I had a very quick joke with the waitress who collected my cup – a joke which I instigated. The next day she fired back some snappy repartee that related to my joke from the previous day. This was very impressive. I’d only been there once the day before for about five minutes. I’ll put it down to the fact she’s attracted to slightly chubby, witty bald guys. Remember, I’m in shape… (round’s a shape).
Anyway, I know where I’ll be going for a piccolo next time I’m in Brisbane. Who knows… Maybe the waitress is still there and remembers me.
All the best,
Committed to Elevating the Financial Wealth and Wellbeing of Society
Through Entrepreneurial Excellence and Guilty of Conspiracy to Create Capitalism