Soho Coffee Co, so, so…

Let me ask you a question, is it really so difficult in this day and age, for a coffee shop to take coffee orders and then make the coffee?

Also can they ensure that the whole order is fulfilled and that it arrives all roughly at the same time?

Really, a serious question!

It’s not as though we don’t have lots of coffee shops and chains which can’t work out or observe the simple process of taking an order for a coffee, getting payment for the coffee, making the coffee and serving the coffee.

Recently I went to the Soho Coffee Co and was frankly appalled by the level of incompetency shown by the six staff behind the counter in undertaking the coffee making and serving process.

Soho Coffee Co, so, so…

It’s not as though the place was busy, well it got busy because of the incompetence! As a result prospective customers were walking away – they were losing business.

So what happened to me then?

Well I went to the counter and ordered an americano, a babycino and an egg and mushroom bloomer.

The bloke on the till marked the cups and handed them over to the barista and then took my money!

Typical coffee ordering process in the UK (and I suspect the US as well). I do recall how things are done in Italy though, there you place your order at the till, pay your money and  then you go to the barista, wait in line if need be, hand over your receipt/order and then the barista, makes your coffee and serves it to you. Simple, easy and as you will see avoids the problems I had at the Soho Coffee Co.

So there I was waiting, there were people in front of me and people behind me.

There seemed to be a huge amount of activity behind the counter, but very little coffee coming out.

So the barista firstly announced two cappuccinos which  nobody seemed to own.

They then announced an americano, which the couple about two people behind me promptly said was theirs… Well it could have been, who knew, but I had a feeling it was mine. So we discussed and I took ownership of the coffee. Their americano and cappuccino came next, so no hard feelings there.

However no sign of the babycino, so I am waiting.

They then  place a babycino on the counter, go to take it, when a woman in front of me takes it, as she has been waiting for hers for her child for ages…

They then ask me what I had ordered, I tell them (again).

The babycino arrives, only to be given to the bloke behind me!

They then ask me what I had ordered, I tell them (again).

Eventually my babycino arrives, nobody else tries to take it, so I now have the babycino and an americano (which is now going cold).

I look questioningly at the barista about my breakfast order, she looks vacant, I tell her about it, she then blames the printer! So now I have to wait once more as they cook my breakfast order.

So what was a simple process of ordering coffee and food, which should have taken only a few minutes, took nearly fifteen minutes!

So what was the cause of the problems.

It appeared to be a lack of a system for taking coffee orders.

The teller on the till would mark the (paper) cups and then place them by the espresso machine in no particular order, so that as the barista made the coffee, it could and would not be in the order in which the coffee was ordered.

Without any way of connecting the coffee cups to the customers, as coffee was placed on the counter, any customer could just take it either thinking it was theirs (in all innocence) or even just pretend it was theirs – I think that is what may have happened to my breakfast order!

Anyway as a result it will be sometime (if ever) I go back to the Soho Coffee Co. It’s not so much a problem with the chain, just the staff at this particular outlet, who did not have a robust enough system to serve customers quickly and efficiently and importantly with the correct orders.

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