First in, first out? Not quite

No-one has ever complained that they received their food or coffee too quickly.  Speed and quality go hand in hand at a good cafe.  If a customer has to come up and ask where their food is, or how much longer the wait will be, the cafe has already lost.

I know customers will give funny looks if they order, and someone behind them gets their food or coffee first.  Surely if you’re first in, you are the first to receive your goodies?  Not quite.

I’m going to cheat here and quote from Black Velvet Espresso’s blog; a barista friend of mine, Matt Easterbrook, part owns one of their cafes in Melbourne.  They sum up my thoughts perfectly:

We do all we can to speed up the process of coffee making so that everyone will get their coffee faster. We can’t extract coffee or steam milk faster than we do, so we have to find valuable seconds in other ways. We physically move fast; arrange orders whilst filling a group handle; develop a strong chemistry with each other etc. However, the best way that we can find valuable seconds is through ‘bunching’ orders. We can extract two shots out of one group head; we can steam full-cream milk for two small coffees in one jug; we can extract a long black for a customer if the barista on milk is pouring etc.


In this particular case, the customer in question ordered skim milk; however, the customers before and after, were drinking soy. The barista filled and steamed a large jug to be able to serve two customers in one hit; therefore the customer in question was pushed back one order. This is an unfortunate by-product; however, due to this technique, the overall wait time was much less.

Sometimes you won’t get your order first, but trust that a good cafe will be doing all it can to get your order to you as quickly as possible.

One comment

  1. Chaitanya · December 2, 2015

    Thanks Nate, for writing the cute little posts on how cafes are run.

    I have no interest in running a cafe. But I am fascinated by New Zealand’s coffee culture. So I love reading your posts about how cafes are run.


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