Working in an organised space doesn’t just help keep things clean, it has also been shown time and time again to improve productivity and efficiency. This is true for any business, and coffee shops are no exception.
No matter how busy your coffee shop might be, taking the time to declutter your counter and keeping your bar tidy throughout the day can give baristas a productive, less stressful environment to operate in.
To learn more about why you should declutter your counter and how to do it, I spoke to Myles Shapcott, Head of Wholesale at Origin Coffee Roasters, and Josh Clarke, Director of Coffee at Clifton Coffee Roasters. Read on to find out what they told me.
Keeping a clear bar in coffee shop
Tidiness in the workspace can save businesses both money and time. A study conducted by the International Data Corporation, a market intelligence firm, found that untidiness can cost companies up to US $2.5 million every year in lost productivity when workers look for “lost” items that should have otherwise been organised.
While this example might specifically refer to corporate environments, the same principle is true for all professional workplaces, including the food and beverage industry. Ultimately, Josh says that a clean and simple workspace allows for a smarter, more efficient workflow.
“I used to work in a bar and it was cluttered,” he says. “I couldn’t work efficiently or smoothly.”
Simple changes like knowing where you keep supplies and having them close by can help your team be more organised. In turn, this reduces confusion, improves workflow, and makes sure your customers get better drinks more quickly.
Additionally, furniture and equipment can be a hotspot for microorganisms like bacteria and viruses, especially when you are dealing with food and drinks. Keeping surfaces clear makes them easier to clean, and in turn reduces the likelihood that staff or customers will become ill.
Finally, by having a decluttered workspace, you can minimise spills and accidents, avoiding injuries and making sure your staff stay healthy.
Decluttering your bar: Some tips
First things first: design your bar well and keep your setup organised. Myles says that if you don’t think about it and just put equipment and supplies wherever they fall, you’ll end up with a disorganised bar.
“It’s really important that new sites consider this all the time,” he says. “Existing sites should look at it too, and consider workflow as a key element of making coffee when they’re redesigning their space.”
Set up your equipment in an intuitive way. For instance, keep the grinder next to the espresso machine, and make sure the pitcher rinser and knock box are nearby too.
Make sure your baristas have enough space to tamp, steam milk, and pass beverages to customers, plus a spot for dirty dishes that doesn’t get in the way.
Planning ahead day-by-day can help you avoid clutter, too. For example, if you’re expecting a rush, get set up beforehand to relieve some of that pressure. Some good tips including stocking up on your most popular milks, organising your milk jugs by size, and getting pre-made syrups ready in the downtime beforehand.
Clean as you go
“Work smarter, not harder,” Josh says. “Clean as you go.”
This makes your workload far more manageable. Rather than leaving yourself a pile of dirty dishes to clean at the end of the shift, for instance, just place them in the dishwasher when you have a moment. This saves time and keeps the bar cleaner throughout the day, making it look better for customers.
If you can, set out schedules to clean equipment, dishes, and the counter itself to stop dust and coffee grounds from accumulating. Josh also recommends that you clear away anything that shouldn’t be there, to keep it from getting in the way and affecting service speed.
Cleaning is also more important than ever at present because of the pandemic. Make sure you keep your surfaces regularly sanitised and hygienic. Customers will want to feel comfortable when they enter your coffee shop, and they will expect it to be regularly cleaned. It may also be a legal requirement, depending on where you are in the world.
Choose the right equipment
Equipment takes up space. As such, it will have an impact on workflow and customer engagement.
Let’s consider the espresso machine. In a small coffee shop, a big three-grouphead machine will probably take up unnecessary space on the counter. You could instead get a smaller machine, and use your extra space for other equipment or to prepare beverages.
Josh says that this is why he likes to work with Marco boilers, including the MIX, MT, and Ecoboiler ranges, all of which have under-counter models. “It means you’ve got a nice, clean workspace,” he says.
In addition to undercounter boilers, Marco also offers hands-free FRIIA water fonts that can slot into a café bar without taking up too much space. These are sleek, minimalist, and completely touchless. They allow customers to serve themselves cold water without the possibility of physically contaminating the font.
Myles notes that overall, it is worth investing in high quality equipment across the board. “It’s important for café owners to consider the equipment that they use,” he explains. “Baristas like to look after good equipment; I think it improves efficiency and it helps them be more organised.”
The overall benefits for your coffee shop
As well as looking good and being more productive, a cleaner bar will also improve staff wellbeing. It can be difficult to focus or perform in a chaotic or messy work environment, so regularly making sure your bar is tidy can help baristas be less stressed.
Statistics from Cleaning Services Group in the UK show that employees working in a clean environment are happier than those performing the same tasks in an untidy space.
After that, you can also add better organisation to the equation. If your baristas are spending less time looking for missing items and going back and forth to use equipment that should be closer to them in the first place, they will naturally be more productive and efficient.
In turn, your team will be able to serve quality drinks to more customers, and hopefully become more profitable in the long term.
Working behind the bar in a coffee shop, no matter how busy, can be demanding. However, taking measures to keep it clean and organised can make a huge difference.
Not only does this decision create a better working environment for your staff, it can also help them become more efficient and contribute to higher levels of customer satisfaction. If customers are spending less time waiting for better drinks, they’re more likely to keep coming back.
Altogether, it’s important to remember that in the café business, every detail matters. So think about how your bar is set up, keep a tidy counter, and invest in the right equipment. It will help you in the long run.