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A steady stream of customers arriving at set intervals is the stuff of fantasy in the hospitality world. The reserve perhaps of the worlds best restaurants where prices and demand are super high. For cafe and coffee shops the flow of customers comes in waves. The early morning or lunchtime rushes vary day to day and while you can bet on certain times being busier, how do you plan for and cope with an exceptionally busy period – a rush?

A rush of customers can happen at random times and isn’t always predictable. Experienced well trained staff will remain unflustered and know that the cliche “to keep calm and carry on” is a useful one in this case, but there are things that can be done to form a coherent strategy for busy times to help get the most out of them. After all, having lots of customers is not a bad thing, its opportunity.



One of the most important factors in being ready for and dealing with a busy rush is workflow; having what you need at arms reach and available in an easy way. Positioning of your milk fridge, till, jug rinse station, and display fridges for example are key as is ensuring non consumables such as cups, saucers, cutlery and napkins for example are restocked quickly.


Cleanliness is vital. When your workspace and work process is clean, so is you thought process and this helps massively with concentration, focus and cutting out errors. Making coffee and other drinks can be a messy business though and so its really important to clean as you go.  It might feel like it takes longer to go through proper cleaning procedures between each drink but the reality is that it boosts efficiency and increases the baseline quality of the drinks made.

So always clean your group handle baskets, wipe up any coffee grind spillage,  purge steam arms and group heads every time between uses and rinse milk jugs every time between coffees.



More automated equipment can help with busy times but it is not a silver bullet, where it helps with improved workflow and cleanliness, then it is a good addition, so ask yourself if it will on your coffee bar. 

A final point about busy times: don’t abandon your up-sell. By upsell here, we don’t mean sell the customer a large coffee which only has more milk in for 50p more and no benefit to them, but don’t forget to offer the other quality products you have available that customers might enjoy. Keeping service levels high when it gets busy means you make the most of customer numbers and you get the best from busy periods for your business. 


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