Most Australians know and many love – Hudsons Coffee, owned by Emirates Leisure Retail Australia (ELRA). Australia (no less, the world) has become a nation of coffee snobs and Instagram food critics. Food and beverage businesses at the best of times are fighting for any margin they can get, let alone in the rapidly changing world today. It’s a tough industry, particularly in coffee. There are now more specialty coffee shops popping up than ever before and the coffee chains make up only 5% of the Australian coffee market. Food and coffee are emotional purchases for customers, and the businesses that are thriving, not just surviving, recognise this and connect to their customers by winning over their hearts rather than their minds.
Managing Director of ELRA, Adam Summerville, highlighted the main challenge that Hudsons Coffee faces in today’s competitive marketplace:
“As a brand in a competitive food and coffee market, our greatest challenge is consistency. We have to make sure we have a promise that customers expect and that it’s consistency no matter what store they visit. We have a store in Darwin, Perth, Burney (Tasmania). Getting consistency through your product and your people is hard”.
Adam understands that you can never stand still and you always have to look at ways to improve – and that your key differentiator to the competitor is your service. “We can get great coffee and food from many places, but it’s whether you strike up an emotional connection with your customer that determines whether they will come back for more”.
Adam and I agreed that the greatest threat to any brand is the humans involved in the process. How to achieve consistency from employees each and every day is Hudson Coffee’s greatest challenge.
The insights I took away from my time with Adam and the team at Hudsons Coffee is that a great brand can be built, but it’s the people who connect with the heart of the brand that keep it alive.
My own personal journey has included many years in the hospitality industry. For most of my career in the industry I used to see my work as a low skilled job. I now realise that when employees learn to pay attention out, pre-empt people’s needs, improve an experience, surprise and delight and raise people’s spirits, these are rich skills in life that all types of businesses could learn from.
Perhaps we need a national service mandate for school leavers to serve two years in hospitality. This would show people the power of service before heading out into the workplace.
Two years of training in hospitality could transform service in this country.
What do you think?
To learn more about how the Hudson’s coffee brand have trained and influenced their teams to keep the heart of their business pumping. grab your copy of Creating a Customer Service Mindset. Released in June.