22 June 2018 Courier Weekly

The golden rules of coffee shop design

PLUS: Craft beer acquisition – Company culture – Startup exits – Music promotion

How to design a coffee shop.

How can cafe owners create spaces that not only look fantastic, but work well? This was the topic of our panel discussion at Allpress Dalston earlier this week, where we had Tony Papas (of Allpress), Peter Dore-Smith (Kaffeine), Erica Routledge (119 Lower Clapton) and James Dickson (Workshop Coffee) on hand to give insights.

Making money in coffee is not easy, and shop design can be the difference between profit and loss. Our discussion made clear that good design goes well beyond aesthetics, impacting how people move around a shop, where the coffee machine is placed and even whether or not to have customer wifi. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. The minimal look favoured by coffee shops is also cost-effective. Exposing original brick walls and wood floors will create an authentic look at a low cost.
  2. The money saved on walls and flooring, however, often gets spent on high-quality plumbing and electrics, which are also essential elements of a fit-out.
  3. Flow is important, not just for customers but staff too. Work closely with builders and architects to make sure workspaces are set up for staff to easily make drinks – everything needed should be within arms’ reach.
  4. It’s better to have a small space with just the right number of tables than a cavernous space that struggles to get full. Each table should, in terms of revenue, earn its right to be in the shop.
  5. All the panellists agreed it’s impossible to understand how a coffee shop should be laid out without having worked in one. Even a few weeks’ experience pouring lattes can make all the difference.

We’ll be publishing an edited version of the conversation in the next issue of Courier.

London brewery Beavertown sells a minority stake to Heineken.

The deal, which has been in the works for a number of weeks, was announced on Thursday morning. The sale, worth at least £40m, will allow Beavertown to build a new brewery. The size of Heineken’s stake remains undisclosed.

However, despite the news that this cash injection will allow Beavertown to create up to 150 jobs in the north London area of Tottenham, many of its peers are unhappy with the decision.

Manchester-based Cloudwater brewery has announced it will no longer be exhibiting at Beavertown’s annual festival (the Beavertown Extravaganza), while Hop Burns and Black, a south London-based bottle shop, has said it will no longer be replenishing its stock from Beavertown.

In the beer industry, independence is a much respected and fiercely protected quality. The concern for fans of Beavertown is that the sale could follow the same trajectory as Lagunitas Brewing Company. In 2015, Heineken acquired half of Lagunitas’ business, only to snap up the remaining shares two years later.

Building a company HQ.

Summing up a company culture in words is difficult, particularly when a business is growing at speed. Visiting a company’s HQ can often give a more accurate representation of what that business stands for.

Wedding registry startup Zola has gone to great lengths to encourage employee engagement through its New York office fit-out. The kitchen is stuffed with products that Zola sells on its platform, helping staff get familiar with them on a daily basis. Wedding cakes are used extensively for employee bonding – Zola employee birthdays are celebrated with multi-tiered, iced creations.

We recently visited lighting company Tala’s office to see how it emphasised sustainability beyond its product range. From canal-side meditation sessions to team lunches and glass milk bottles, the latest issue of Courier looks at how Tala’s ethos has permeated the working lives of its employees. You can get a copy here.

Leaving the world of startup.

Departing from any job is a mixed bag. Accepting that the time has come to close the doors on a business you’ve built from the ground up can result in a particularly acute sense of grief.

For Nancy Bancroft, who was forced to close her neighbourhood bar in Brooklyn after a property developer bought her building, the experience was heartbreaking.

‘I’m processing it every single day. I’m allowing myself to feel every single emotion,’ Bancroft told The Atlantic.

Bancroft’s experience was featured as part of a series called Exit Interview, exploring the emotional impact of leaving a job – whether by choice or not – and is an insightful read.

How to promote music in Uzbekistan.

This Medium post looks at how music is promoted in Uzbekistan, a country where live acts have been all but banned by the government.

It’s also a lesson in how to market and put on events on a shoestring budget. Promoters like Nikita Makarenko (who is the main case study for the piece), often work with a budget of roughly zero, yet have managed to book Joss Stone to play in the country.

Amber Horsburgh, author of the post, is a music industry professional and author of the insightful Deep Cuts newsletter on music and marketing – a favourite in the Courier office.