I've been thinking about business lately. This is not to imply that I've never cared about it before, or that I have any particular impetus to care about it now. But it's there, sitting nearer the front of my mind than before. Perhaps it's the allure of newness, or rather the opposite. Perhaps, now that my drinks and various other things have achieved whatever arbitrary standard I set in the past, it's time to set financial goals.
That's an odd sentiment for me, in and of itself. I've always approached coffee bar work as fundamentally simple. If you make good drinks and are pleasant, the cash will come in, and things will function as they ought. This has basically been the case. Though I won't bore you with the numbers, I have looked them over, and they are fine. We're in the black, which is good - and was not wholly the case prior to my managerial tenure.
Of course, I don't pretend to have made any brilliant business moves. I cut the hours a bit, as we were open too late, and luckily happened upon a small staff that cares about this sort of thing as much as I do. Costs went down, and with all respect to the previous baristas, the drinks got better. (I was a customer were I now work for several years previous to my being hired.)
Still, the work before me was very good, and the brand is well established. I owe the previous staff an awful lot, and most of my job has simply been staying the course. That, and emphasizing the two things I mentioned previously: Making the best drinks I can, and generally, trying to be a decent guy to interact with.
I plan on continuing to do those things. But I wonder, are those things enough? I don't have the answer here, so much as I'm just letting my thoughts air themselves out in this forum. If you have any insight, please contribute. Clearly, for a coffee shop to make money, the baristas have to be inviting, and the drinks must be good. After that, you try and watch frivolous expenses. This is the foundation, which I feel rather confident is solidly built at this point.
But what, if anything, should be added? Those previous things are necessary conditions for success, but are they sufficient? Again, I don't know for sure. But it's something I'm thinking about, and trying to work out for myself. I feel confident in my abilities as a barista. It's a skill set I'm passionate about and practiced in. But as a manager? I'm still quite new at that, and sometimes, I feel it. This, if it's not obvious enough, is one such time.