May 18, 2017

Great Cafe Workflow

Story by Sean Edwards

Efficient cafe workflow is vital in combining speed and quality in the coffee process. Smart operators understand this, and at the very beginning of the planning concept will find ways to combine elements into the fit-out that will allow for an efficient workflow to happen.

I get to see hundreds of fit-outs a year and too many have concentrated on the look, versus practical application and usability of the space.

One of the busiest cafés I have come across is Planet Espresso in Auckland, New Zealand. The café is situated in the Auckland City Hospital and is owned by Rob and Anna McGregor (also the owners of Coffee Lab Roasters). Over the past ten years they have developed systems that have allowed two cafés to be able to pump out two thousand quality espresso coffees a day. I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of their new Planet Espresso fit-out, which the hospital has positioned specifically to help with the flow of people around this space.

Planet Espresso turn over an enormous amount of coffee on a daily basis through their espresso bars by having three four group La Marzoccos, with up to four baristas on each machine. The customers will line up behind their favourite team of baristas for their daily coffee order. The baristas build their own customer base between the three stations, creating a real customer rapport. The barista team is also rewarded for the number of coffees produced and through customer feedback, with monthly workplace incentives like dinner and movie tickets. This incentive has helped create better teamwork, with a touch of competitiveness between baristas trying to top each other with higher quality coffee and service. It was great to see the engagement between barista and customer, creating a fun and happening space.

Most of the hospital staff have a Planet Espresso loyalty card that is not only an electronic payment gateway, but also contains the customer order, allowing customers to swipe their own card at the counter to speed up the ordering process. Rob and Anna developed this customer ordering system a long time ago, before there were any smart applications available.

The speed of the order is achieved by the barista completing a single set task: creating the espresso. For example, one barista would be preparing shots, another steaming and pouring milk. The baristas are rostered on at different peak times of the day, with a maximum of eight baristas on the machines in busy morning rushes. All coffees are takeaway in the main foyer area. It’s amazing what can be achieved in such a tight space, which is a credit to the team for smart design and taking in consideration growth in customer numbers.

Planet Espresso does have a small food menu on offer but essentially is a coffee business, so speed and number of drinks served daily is vital to making this business profitable, considering the large staffing costs. The new location will allow for some slight changes to the food menu and will also help with traffic flow of customers. Remember, medical staff are always in a hurry!

I look forward to my next visit to see the new version of Planet Espresso that has just opened. Thank you, Rob and Anna, for taking us behind the scenes of your busy espresso bar, and I look forward to seeing you on our next jump across the ditch.

MPM Advertisment


Calling all baristas: share your opinions to win $1,000

Almond Breeze Barista Blend has launched the biggest ever research project into Australia’s buzzing barista and café scene and are looking for talented baristas from across the country to help them dig deeper by filling ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


$16 for a cup of coffee – Sasa Sestic explains why “it’s totally worth it”

Check out this article featured on today, which has World Barista Champion, Sasa Sestic, explaining the reasoning behind serving coffee at $16 a cup. “THERE’S a new Sydney cafe selling its top tier coffees f...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Cafe Review – Queen of Leads

Queen of Leeds 114 Oxford Street Leederville, WA This May 2018 the team behind Felix and Co. Specialty Coffee opened a sister café in Leederville called “Queen of Leeds”. Felix & Co.’s long-time Manager Anisa Hirte h...
by Cafe Culture Mag



What is PR?

Recently on an interstate trip I was reading Virgin’s inflight magazine and came across an interesting article on the benefits of public relations in our new business world. It inspired me to seek out its author – PR an...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Innovative Product – Smartpay

No Eftpos fees. Ka-ching! Want to add a surcharge to your Eftpos transactions but worried about keeping ACCC compliant? Smartpay can help. Their SmartCharge solution automatically calculates an appropriate surcharge for each tr...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Specialty Tea Shines in Melbourne Fine Food Expo

Taking out the title of the nation’s best tea maker during the hotly contested Australian leg of the World Tea Brewers Cup (WTBC), Danny will now travel to Shanghai to compete in the China WTBC finals. The WTBC  – ran for ...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Innovative Products – Halo Wipes

The BEST performing professional wet wipes. Halo Wipes are a new product that take the unique Halo formula and transform it into a hygienic, convenient wet wipe. Designed for on-the-spot and single use cleaning, Halo Wipes wipe...
by Cafe Culture Mag



Meningitis Centre Australia is looking for a café supporter

Meningitis Centre Australia is a not for profit organisation that raises awareness and educates people about meningococcal disease. The Centre is looking for a café supporter Australia wide that can help them generate interest...
by Cafe Culture Mag



The world’s leading almond milk brand, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, has teamed up with one of Australia’s leading athletes, professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, encouraging Australians to live a healthier, happier and more...
by Cafe Culture Mag


Browse and purchase past and current issues of Cafe Culture Magazine

Do you like to have an actual magazine in your hand ? Do you need to keep up to date with the Cafe Industry? Do you have to have something worthy of reading with your morning coffee? We have the answer to all your concerns… P...
by Cafe Culture Mag