Espresso Machine Position - Facing Customer or Not?
I noticed in a recent post on another thread, that there was a comment about the espresso machine facing the customer.
The manager in the cafe, where I currently work, is thinking of moving the espresso machine from the front counter area to the back wall. In addition to wanting to free up some counter space, she thinks the machine blocks our view of the customers when they walk through the door (which is true, but all we have to do is move a little bit and we can see them). Her new "thing" is for us to greet them when they come through the front door and before they walk up to the counter.
I've tried to convince her that it's not a good idea to position the machine to face the customers. I think having our backs to them and having them watch us make their coffee drinks is a bad idea.
I'm hoping that it will be too much trouble to move the electricity and water hookup and that she'll forget the whole idea.
Does anyone else have the espresso machine facing the customer? If so, does it cause any problems? I need some more ammunition to convince them that it's not a good idea to move the machine.
To give you an idea what I'm describing, here is a photo of Topher's counter setup from the other thread. (Thanks, Topher!)
Last edited by topher; 02-27-2013 at 08:11 AM.
Reason: eSpresso :P
02-27-2013 06:30 AM
If you put the machine so your back is to the customer you might want to put up a mirror or someone will steal your tips...trust me it happens. I wish I could face my customers when making drinks but due to space issues I couldn't. Good luck!
"Wine is for aging, not coffee."
Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch
In the service industry, the face, smile, and ability to make fast personal connections with people with essential. It's impossible to provide that if your back is to the customer when they first walk in or when you are making their drink.
I personally enjoy being able to look my barista in the eye while they make my drink. It allows for friendly banter if I desire it. More opportunities for friendliness = more return customers.
I really, really think having your back to the customer is a bad idea. I hope I can convince them not to move the espresso machine.
I can just imagine how many times I'm going to have to repeat myself when I say, "Would you like whipped cream on that?" since they won't be able to hear me - because my back will be turned to them! Either that, or I picture myself standing at an awkward angle (crinking my neck and back) as I try to talk to (and watch) the customers as I make the coffee drinks.
I agree with Green and Topher. You have to face the customers for more personal service. I don't like using Starbucks as example but if you ever go into their business, all the work is facing customers. Only the dish washing or getting the supply is behind.
I think it very much depends. We have ours to the rear of the counter so that we use the entire front counter to showcase the cakes & other homemade stuff etc. All the customers are dealt with by the front of house person and then the coffees are made by a barista. The floor staff deal with the seated customers. I think the benefits of this are 2-fold. 1. The customer is dealt with by a designated staff member and 2, the customer gets to see the care and attention that goes into their coffee rather than staring at the back of a Gaggia. Often a customer will decide to buy something else that has taken their fancy from the front counter while they're waiting. And, frankly, the Barista isn't distracted by anyone other than their co-worker.
Originally Posted by Noshington
Actually, if you go into Panera bread, their system is just like what you have described. Thanks for your input...