The Importance of Coffee Education for Your Hotel Staff
By Michael Klong CEO, Tradecraft
Hotel guests expect good coffee.
For many guests, drinking a cup of coffee is their moment to themselves in the morning. It's something they look forward to to start their day.
The coffee education you provide to your hotel staff directly contributes to whether or not guests have a positive customer experience or negative one when it comes to drinking coffee. It might be obvious, but good coffee education directly links to whether or not your coffee and coffee drinks taste good. And coffee - the way it's brewed and the skill put into the way coffee drinks are made - can make or break a positive experience for a guest.
That means a quality coffee program is truly one of the most important aspects of your hotel business. Coffee can lead to a strong impression of your hotel and that impression can be either positive or negative depending on the level of quality of your coffee.
Your hotel coffee should be prepared in a skillful way to make sure it tastes good on a consistent basis. The consumer who stays at your hotel or dines at your hotel's restaurant should enjoy the same coffee every single time.
To keep customers satisfied – and to earn loyal customers who continue to come back to your hotel - you must serve good coffee. And education for your staff about how to make coffee is all part of the overall guest coffee experience.
Coffee drinks can go wrong if the employees at your hotel do not have the proper education on everything from the brewing process or making espresso drinks.
Understanding Coffee Making for Baristas
Skillfully prepared coffee will add to a positive customer experience and leave customers more than satisfied.
Coffee education includes espresso and milk basics, advanced espresso techniques, milk science and latte art, and brewing fundamentals.
What do these different topics include?
Espresso and milk basics is learning how to make drinks that contain espresso and milk. It's knowing how to pull a shot and steam milk properly. It's about understanding the equipment. Drinks that contain espresso and milk include lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites.
Coffee brewing skills involve how to grind coffee beans correctly, knowing coffee to water ratio, and knowing what makes freshly brewed coffee. You staff should also know the different brewing methods such as batch brewing, manual brewing, and steeping.
Your staff - including servers - should know what kind of coffee you serve - and how are particular coffee drinks made. For example, guests might ask, "Where do you source your coffee beans from? How is a mocha made?"
It is really a good skill for a barista to know how to create good latte art. While latte art originated in Italy, where espresso drinks began, it's U.S. coffee shops that made latte art popular just a few decades ago in the 1980s and early 1990s. The reason that latte art is now so widespread is because of social media. Your guests will appreciate good latte art - and latte art might even be why they love ordering lattes at your hotel.
Breakfast and Working from Hotels is a Guest Experience Factor
A guest is likely to order breakfast at your hotel, and that makes breakfast one of your hotel's most important parts of the guest experience.
Whether a guest is a frequent work traveler or a leisure one, they eat breakfast and likely drink a cup of coffee as part of that breakfast. They may start with coffee in their hotel room then go to your hotel's restaurant to order food and and more coffee.
The level of service you provide depends on whether or not the guest comes back to stay at your hotel. The quality of your coffee in the morning - at breakfast - is absolutely part of that service.
Just recently I stayed at a wonderful inn that has an excellent complimentary light breakfast including coffee, tea, and pastries. The coffee is perfectly brewed and is definitely a treat. It's one of the first positive factors I remember when I think about this particular hotel. The coffee is part of the reason why I keep coming back.
The other part of the hotel experience that involves coffee is working from hotels. According to research firm Skift, the trend of working at hotels is only rapidly increasing. Researchers predict this trend could last well beyond the pandemic.
Skift reports that co-working provider Industrious recently partnered with Proper Hospitality. Guests who are looking for a place they can work for either a day, a week, or even a month can do so at Proper Hotels, with weekly and monthly reservations offered at a 15 for the former and a 25 discount for the latter.
In the report by Skift, Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari said, "The gold-standard for partnerships in Covid are the ones that solve an immediate need for customers right now but also set up for something you think is going to be relevant for a long time to come. I do think there are going to be elements of this that will end up existing for a long time."
This trend makes good coffee an absolute must. Guests working from your hotel expect to be served good coffee.
These experiences surrounding coffee is an important part of the overall customer experience at your hotel.
A Commitment to Employees and Increased Engagement
Coffee education is a direct investment in your employees. The education shows employees you lead an employee-first culture, which leads to good customer experience and customer service.
When you put your hotel staff first, your customers get the benefit. Providing good education to your staff really shows your staff that you value and appreciate them. This feeling directly links to the level of effort and passion your staff puts into brewing and making coffee drinks. It gets them and keeps them engaged in their work.
Consistent Coffee Drinks in Combination with Consistent Experience
Another reason that coffee education for your hotel staff is essential is because coffee drinks must be consistent.
Imagine a first-time customer orders a latte and thinks it's the best latte she's ever tasted.
She then tells her friends about it. So she comes back to your hotel with her friends and they all order lattes at breakfast. But this time the lattes do not taste as good - or, different, and not in a good way.
When you educate your staff internally on how to make coffee drinks, like lattes, and give them the same consistent training, this negative experience doesn't happen. In a different scenario, one in which your coffee drinks all taste consistent all the time, that same customer who told her friends all about the latte, goes back to your hotel and she and her friends all enjoy the latte - the drink she remembers having the first time.
The Importance of Tea
While coffee should be your main focus when it comes to educating your hotel staff, do not forget about tea. As an important note, while training you staff on brewing tea is essential, it only matters if the tea you source is high quality organic. One of the important training aspects of tea is to make sure they get the steep time and water temperature must be right.
According to the National Tea Association, more than half of the American population drinks tea on a given day, with a heavy emphasis on the South and Northeastern parts of the country. So tea cannot be overlooked. It's not just brewing the tea but also knowing how to make tea drinks that's important -such as chai tea or matcha lattes.
It is not easy to educate hotel staff and make sure they know everything there is to know about your hotel's coffee – from making a delicious coffee drink to brewing a delicious cup of coffee consistently.
Your coffee supplier should be a source of coffee education and training for your staff. Your supplier should be there to help take your employees understand all there is to know about coffee and turn them into excellent baristas.
The right coffee supplier doesn't just commit to in-person training and education, they also provide online training videos, documents, and other coffee education resources.
Hoteliers who invest in coffee education understand the significance of the coffee they serve to their guests. They understand that coffee connects to many aspects of the hotel experience. They also understand that quality should be a priority when it comes to their coffee program- and that guests deeply care about their coffee drinking experience.