March 9, 2015

What’s the recipe?


The core of any proposition is the product.

Coffee is big business in Brighton. With the UK’s highest per capita spend on coffee, and more than sixty cafes in a five minute radius, it’s easy to walk past a dozen alternatives on the way to my favourite coffee shop.

To thrive amongst the competition, the one thing a coffee shop has to get right every time is the coffee.

Consistent, high quality product in any field demands a clear idea of the proposition and close attention to detail. In the (blurry) red writing above, Brighton’s Bread + Milk cafe staked their future on:

Our coffee blend
100% Arabica made up from

  • Brazil – for smoothness
  • Honduras – for sweetness
  • Sumatra – for body
  • Colombia – for berryness

A medium/strong well-balanced espresso coffee.

Great coffee 

There’s a lot more to a great coffee shop than the coffee, but it starts with getting the core product right. The good shops don’t leave this stuff to chance.

Bean, weight, roast. Grind, pressure, time. Method, volume, milk. They’ve worked out their recipe for success, in detail. And even then, if the machine isn’t spotless, the coffee’s ruined. Everything written down and managed (and cleaned) for consistency.

Like coffee, a decent product is the price of entry for any business. Getting the basics right, every time, keeps us in the game and playing for more.

As customers, all we want is a reliable product or service or experience – delivered as expected, every time. We get what we want? We tell our friends.

Work out what works, do more of that

The not so secret then is to work out what works, and do more of that. Which sounds easy, but takes more effort, more attention to detail, more management, more working it out and writing it down, than many businesses are prepared for. How many times have you been to the same vendor twice – whether for coffee of consulting or a six figure expense – and been disappointed second time around?

Success starts with a good product so don’t leave it to chance. Work out what makes your product great, write it down, do that every time.

Skippy Strategy: What are the non-negotiable elements of your core product? Don’t forget the unglamorous stuff – like cleaning the machine – that makes a huge difference but is easy to gloss over when you’re busy. Write it all down and put the systems in place to ensure they’re delivered, every time, no matter what.