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Over the past few years, I've explored the cafe community across the country as a consumer, barista, and now consultant. I've been fortunate enough to meet thousands of guests, build relationships with cafe owners, and connect with hundreds of baristas, and with every cafe I visit, I gain a new perspective on the cafe industry. Each cafe has its strengths, its weaknesses, its own market, and dedicated fans, but what distinguishes cafes from one another?
I challenged myself to sit down and think about this question. If each cafe is great and unique, why do people gravitate towards some more than others? While my opinions are completely arbitrary, I've developed the lines of questioning necessary to determine what separates the best from the best in the cafe community.
I am a charismatic and motivated business consultant, educator, and barista specializing in learning & development for the cafe industry, and I'm passionate in the scientific art of coffee, connecting with teams, and creating an ultimate guest experience through world class hospitality. Objectively, my goal is to build an Ultimate Cafe community by sharing my knowledge with others and conducting critical industry research.
Simply put, an ultimate cafe is one that is superior in beverage and coffee offerings, food, design, social impact, online presence, aura, branding, guest experience, and cleanliness.
While most cafes live up to these standards, there are many ways to improve industry-wide. In January 2023, I launched a project, 'The Cafe Accountability & Responsibility Index' which has been designed to help bridge the information gap between the current state of the cafe community and future progress. While the study is still in progress and data has not been finalized, results as of 1/31/2023 indicate that the cafe community wants to see wages increase, more positive work environments, more sustainability efforts, more plants in cafes, different tipping models, and better maintained equipment.
By collecting this data, we're able to identify areas for improvement in cafes, and strategize a bit. Are these things going to change overnight? Of course not! This said, the first step to solving a problem is admitting there is one and knowing what it is. This thorough analysis is the key to further developing ultimate cafes, and turning great cafes into ultimate cafes.
I offer a wide array of services in and out of the cafe including live training, group training, cafe analysis, business consultation, learning & development, cafe development, and access to resources and course materials.
I've spent a significant amount of time as a coffee connoisseur, and I'm passionate about the scientific art of coffee. I know what makes a great guest experience and I'm constantly looking through the lens of a guest... What will they see, feel, smell, hear, taste, and how will these sensory elements define their experience?
I've invested countless hours into connecting with individuals and teams, helping them improve workflow, build confidence in and out of the cafe, and develop soft skills necessary for world class hospitality. I have a diligent approach to cafe education and leave no piece of information unturned.
My corporate background in Learning & Development, has helped me zero in on the "why" behind methodology, giving me a wholistic approach to learning . My why-based learning paradigm leads to a more comprehensive understanding, higher learning engagement, and better information retention.
I'm well-versed in business and have been a part of companies ranging in size including a marketing startup, a multi-billion dollar electronics corporation, and a real estate firm with a 100+ year longevity. I've seen what 'works' and what does not work and I'm an advocate for a positive employee experience.
"Zach is a valuable member of our coffee community. As a new, startup coffee shop, Zach has provided great insight on our business. We appreciate his feedback both as a coffee connoisseur but also as someone who has been in the trenches and understands the operations of the coffee business. He has a deep understanding of the complexity of coffee and is also incredibly personable and open-minded."