Paying for coffee (again)

April 24th, 2012

I know, I know… I’ve posted about this before.  It was fun how many people on my recent trip talked about this/teased me a little.  A lot of discussion around the last post (which is now over two years old – who is stealing my life?!) was around the times you really want to comp a guest a drink.  I totally understand the value of the currency and the gesture. I ended up discussing this quite regularly with a whole bunch of different people.  I’d like to offer my take on this, which is going to probably seem staggeringly obvious.

If someone has come in, queued like a customer then they have the right to pay for their drink – to experience what you offer as a non-industry person.  If you want to comp them something then offer an additional thing as a gift – whatever you wish they’d ordered or whatever you’re excited about.  Coffee people usually have a solid tolerance for caffeine, and are always excited to try the coffee the barista is enthusiastic about.  In this scenario everyone wins, a gesture is made but the feeling of freeloading is prevented.  This is nothing new – this is something that happens in restaurants all the time, and is significantly less loaded (with guilt, leverage or awkwardness) than a comped meal.

I’ve a bunch of topics that I want to post about after my time in the US, and I think I’m going to keep them short and several, rather than one big long thing.

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