4 Things I Hate (because I couldn't think of 5)
In no particular order....
I want to just say I hate it and leave it there, but we all know that is not constructive. More than any other online review platform (Google, Facebook, Square, there's probably more) Yelp is perpetuating an idea that those who cry the loudest and most often are the ones that should be the most heard. I'll give them credit in that the name 'yelp' is very apt. The word, defined on Google, is 'a sharp cry, especially of pain or alarm'; leaving the reader only to assume that this is a knee jerk reaction to something that may or may not have been an actual affront on your person. You stub your toe, you cry out in alarm, moments later you realize all is actually well and your toe is still attached to your foot, but in that moment you decided to leave a review on the internet about the chair that so heinously caused you bodily harm. You soon forget about this review of the chair because your toe is fine, but that chair is ruined forever. No one will go near it or sit on it because you needed to tell the world that it hurt you so badly. A silly comparison? Of course! A comparison that represents actual situations? Absolutely.
Amethyst has been approached by multiple people, from Yelp and from other local businesses, to host events for the 'Yelp Elite'. I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up. You can find the criteria here:
Does Yelp outline a standard for how many stars to give a place? No. Does Yelp volunteer any helpful verbiage when discussing how to review a business? No. It merely says to write 'helpful' and 'unbiased' reviews, not outlining any criteria. It leaves the Yelper to their own devices to craft a review that is, and will always be, arbitrary. Yelp also goes so far as to require that Yelp Eliters 'write a lot of reviews' to be a member of the 'Yelp Elite'. Great. Just another place to teach our children that those who talk the most are the only ones worth listening to. Way to go, Yelp.
I will further expound upon my Yelp hatred, but for that I reserve one entirely specific post that will surface in the next few months.
2. Square Week to Week Comparisons
I'm sure there's a way to turn these off, which I should just do. I don't like this because week to week means nothing. If you don't have a longer term outlook on business growth, you'll drive yourself crazy. Month to month comparisons, sure. Even better, year to year comparisons. March 2015 vs March 2016. Great! March 1-7, 2017 vs March 8-14, 2017? Nope. It's too stressful to micromanage yourself in that way. That's all I have to say about that.
3. Batch Brew Refills
Okay, I'm fully expecting to take some flak for this, but lets talk about it. It costs $3 for a 12oz drip coffee at Amethyst. If you decide to stay you get free milk/cream or sugar/honey for said coffee. You get free internet. You get the use of a clean restroom. You get to sit for as long as you like in a space that we try really hard to curate so that it is warm and inviting. So, forgive me for not wanting to give you free coffee. The bottom line is that this is a business, not a remote office.
The other part of that is as an industry we're still trying to set the precedent that what we do is worth money. We talk all the time about how we try to pay farmers and pickers more so that they produce a better product so we can buy it at a higher price. Then we go and give away free refills? That's the most contradictory message. THEN we go and say we need to buy cheaper coffee because we're not making any money, when really we just need to charge the correct price for the coffee we serve. As most of my ideas, this warrants a larger conversation so feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Giving Away too much Free Coffee
Although it may not seem like it, this is different than #3 and I'm also not trying to be an ass, but I think this is an awkward conversation that is totally worth having. I'm guilty of it, and I try not to be. My staff gets 1 coffee every day to give away to the person of their choosing, not including incorrectly made drinks. Sometimes I offer the free coffee and people insist on paying (cough mark mann cough) and I actually really appreciate that. It's easy as a barista to see the numbers and think 'oh cool yeah we can give coffee away to this person who is here all the time!'. What you don't know is how tight those numbers are, and if there's no set policy on when you are allowed to comp something then it gets really murky. I fully expect to pay for coffee when I go places, in fact I want to pay for coffee when I go places, yet I still find myself in an awkward situation when someone who works in coffee stands in front of me and I charge them. I would like to see that expectation go away. James Hoffman wrote about this idea a bit, and I think it goes a long way to have the slightly awkward conversation with your staff. This doesn't mean that I'm not grateful for all of the free coffee I've been given. I appreciate it because I know it's a form of love and I am always willing to receive that, but I across the board I do not expect it, and I know my staff doesn't either. Yeah, I may sometimes try to offer you my free coffee for the day, but whether or not you take it is up to you.