Fashion and trends are always a concern for a small-business owner who wants to stay relevant. That goes double for coffeehouses, because not only does a café owner need to pay attention to the look, feel, and sound of her shop, she’s got to keep up with the galloping speed of coffee quality and customer expectations. Oh, and remember to smile and be friendly. And keep track of the ledgers.
That’s a tough path to walk, even though coffee is still expanding, which is why Lon LaFlamme, senior sales advisor at Dillanos Coffee Roasters, says, “It’s never been a better time to be in the business; it’s never been a harder time to be in the business.”
To help café owners better their navigation, Coffee Fest is launching a two-day class called the Successful Coffeehouse Business Seminar. The seminar, which debuts at the Chicago Coffee Fest next month, includes LaFlamme, Jack Groot of JP’s Coffee and the Midwest Barista School, Bryan Reynolds of Anthem Coffee House, Joe Lloyd of Durango Joes, and Laila Ghambari of Cherry Street Coffee and the 2014 US Barista Championship winner. The topics range from establishing and maintaining a brand to the importance of an owner’s coffee education to staff training to keeping a handle on cash.
The two five-hour classes run all morning on Saturday and Sunday. The seminar costs $300.
Pairing with this seminar is a new book, The Successful Coffee House, from LaFlamme and David Morris and Chris Heyer, the heads of Dillanos. Subtitled A 22-day Action Plan to Create a Relevant and Profitable Business, the book lays out twenty-two separate, but closely connected, subjects from creating a brand to the importance of proper training to menu design.
LaFlamme stresses the book doesn’t advocate a frantic chasing of trends, but rather fostering an awareness of the presentation of your café, where it fits in the coffee world, and where that world is headed. This book provides an invaluable template for understanding your café, and making it better.
The seminar is also scheduled for Coffee Fest in Portland in October and New York in March of 2016.
—Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup’s editor.