Caribou Coffee recently made a big deal out of ‘major improvements’ to their chain of coffee cafés. They changed their logo and introduced new paper cups with all kinds of slogans on them. Well, I have to say, the reason I go to a café is for the logo and slogans on the cups so I’ll certainly be sure to stop by Caribou.
What should they do? They can start by teaching their barista’s how to make a proper cappuccino. A proper cappuccino has froth with a bit of espresso in the froth. A Caribou cappuccino has milk suds with no espresso. Good smooth froth with a bit of espresso is a delight. Your first sips of a Caribou cappuccino are of plain white milk suds. Yuk.
A proper Cappuccino is served in a warmed ceramic mug. Caribou uses paper cups. Paper cups allow the cappuccino to cool too fast, a proper ceramic keeps it warmer longer making for a much more pleasant experience.
The typical Caribou has nothing to absorb sound – namely the two people out of the 18 in the café who are intent on sharing their conversation with everyone else. Sound absorbing materials in the ceiling, on the walls, and perhaps a rug or two on the floor would help immensely.
Many people like to use laptops in cafés. Bright light isn’t good for being able to see laptop screens. Reducing the number of windows (especially in all of the Burger Kings and Carl’s Jr’s that have been converted to Caribou’s) would help. Tinting the windows and putting in blinds could help as well.
Speaking of converted fast-food places. A few walls here and there could help. They’d reduce noise and provide laptop users with darker places with more privacy that are more conducive to working.
Finally, the barista’s. A barista is kind of like a bartender. You don’t want an obnoxious bartender who doesn’t know how to make drinks and you don’t want an obnoxious barista who talks too loud and doesn’t know how to make cappuccino’s.
On the plus side the pseudo fresh baked pastries is an improvement. Healthier and lower calorie options would be better. Fresh natural ingredients, no processed sugars, sized to be maybe 150 calories instead of 500, etc.