It’s not very often that a coffee company is started “just because.”
Every coffee company, big or small, starts from somewhere – and from a specific idea. Companies come from a dream, an ambition, a value. They emerge from a specific vision, whether it’s serving your community, making money, seeking fair compensation for the coffee farmers you partner with, or simply making the best Frappuccino you can.
Whatever the motivation is, from just one thing to all of the above, it’s important to keep and maintain standards. Without standards, a business won’t last for long.
Here’s why setting standards is so important for a new company, and why you should never compromise them.
Establishing Your Standards
President and owner of Baba Java Coffee, Nathan Parvin, knows a thing or two about starting and running a business.
“Why do we strive to do everything with excellence?” Nathan always asks the team. “Everything we do, from farm to cup, we do with excellence. Why?”
The answer is multi-faceted. We established our standards at Baba Java early on; at our foundation, we wanted to serve our community and roast excellent ethically and mindfully sourced coffee. When we decided to open a café, the community-oriented part of our vision was achievable. When we started roasting coffee, ethically sourcing coffee was non-negotiable.
To establish your standards as a coffee company, you have to believe in them fully. Your standards dictate every decision you make. What is your vision for why you’re starting the company in the first place? Set up your standards of operation, execution, of ambition—make it non-negotiable. This goes from how you brew coffee to how you handle payroll. Your standards are fixed.
For example, you don’t let coffee age longer than three weeks, or you don’t let a barista work espresso until they’ve had one month of training on the cash register. Or, at an even higher level, you don’t source your coffee from any other country except Brazil.
These are examples of standards that remain fixed and steady. You don’t deviate from your standards unless it is hampering your company’s overall improvement.
Upholding Your Standards
It’s not enough to just say what you believe in and what you think is crucial. You have to uphold them, or standards will fall by the wayside.
The best way to support these pillars of your company is to put a system in place. Your system can involve hiring managers who uphold your standards and pass them down to your employees. You can create a barista training program/process, and if possible, create a position to handle the program specifically. You can also have a person responsible for ethically sourcing your coffee according to your core values.
Putting a system in place requires dedication and sacrifice. Time invested into your staff is essential—with training, staff meetings, etc. It can be expensive, but with help from your community or other outside resources, this is undoubtedly achievable!
No matter the scale and size of your system, having dedicated roles that uphold your company standards is absolutely vital.
Learn more about coffee equipment recommendations for your coffee shop.
Sustaining Your Standards
Following through with executing these standards on a consistent basis is everything.
It sounds like a no-brainer, of course, but it’s worth mentioning and emphasizing. While they do not have to be permanent, standards should remain as fixed as possible, as we’ve already discussed. Consistency rules the game. Even from a cursory glance, standards are the framework of a coffee company that supports everything and everyone else.
At Baba Java, our values are three-fold: Excellent coffee, excellent education, and excellent customer service. Every day is a striving to not only meet these goals but to sustain them and excel in them.
This is a team effort. Top-down, it is up to the managers and shift leaders to not just convey the standards of the company to the team members but to demonstrate to the team how to pursue them.
Don’t be afraid to set your standards high, either. High standards, which you must seriously commit to, are essential in running any business. Reaching and sustaining a demanding level of excellence may seem too much of a challenge, but if you pursue it consistently and without deviation, you’ll achieve more than you thought you could.
Ultimately, if you’re looking to start a company or improve the company you already run, standards are everything. Your fixed standards and values run the show. So, decide what your values are and stick with them. Be willing to grow and improve every single day. And most importantly, be passionate about what you are striving to do! For more helpful guidance, check out our podcast episodes on this very important aspect of running a coffee company!