blog from the ceo & superbarista of phoenix coffee, home of the best baristas in cleveland, ohio

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coffee Culture... again... what is it? How do I explain it?

I think I may have finally figured out the answer to the challenge that Jim Collins poses to any business owner or executive who reads his book Good to Great. He challenges the reader to figure out what it is that their business specifically is the best in the world at. I think Phoenix is really good at roasting coffee, brewing coffee, and really good at service, and even food, and education, and treating employees and vendors well, and probably myriad other things, but what is that one thing that we are the absolute best at, or what COULD we be the absolute best at? It might just be...
creating, communicating and upholding coffee culture in Cleveland, OH. This may sound like a nebulous concept, but I think it's something that we understand and are uniquely suited to serve this particular purpose. I'm not sure how we actually sell this concept, especially to wholesale customers, but it probably can be done.

This thought was spurred by a meeting today with a cafe owner who has been a good customer of mine for about a year. He bought the cafe from its previous owner and has been making improvements ever since. He wants to take his business to the next level, so I spent a while trying to explain coffee culture. I talked about our goofy titles (like bad ass barista, espresso evangelist, etc) and lots of other examples, and I think some of it made some sense. At least I hope so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read an article recently that suggested that the only way to get people to do what you wanted was to get to know them, figure out what they needed (money, advice, help, ego, whatever), and give them something they need. Then, maybe, they'll listen.

Give it a try for me and let us know whether it works!

5:16 PM, February 16, 2006  
Anonymous Bobbi said...

Here's a thought ..... you know there are different learning styles - aural, visual, kinethestic - so there are people who have to either HEAR it, SEE it, or DO it, in order to learn something. So you were approaching him from one angle - aural. I find I learn best if I can SEE it - how about IMAGES of coffee culture? In planning our coffee house collective, I assembled a bunch of digital images that our "space team" initially used to begin talking about what we wanted the place to "feel" like. Very helpful to visual learners. If he is kinethestic - needing to DO IT to learn it - how about taking him to a coffee house that embodies everything you told him about. If you want the images, let me know, I can email them to you.

7:48 AM, February 20, 2006  

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