{12/31 days} first clients

This is day 12 of my 31 days of coffee shop stories. Welcome.

Before opening, I had one question that kept bugging me: how come selling coffee by coffee, salad by salad, you end up making the money to pay rent, wages, taxes? I wonder the same thing even now, sometimes, and it’s been almost five years of selling coffee by coffee and salad by salad.

We opened the coffee shop for the public on June 24th, 2008. One of our friends said she wanted to celebrate her birthday at the coffee shop and she won’t take no for an answer. We still lacked some important things, like a receipt machine, but she didn’t care. So there we had, 10 people or so, tasting our bruschetta and mocktails.

And while we were having fun and tasting and talking, a couple shyly entered through the gate. Is this a public place or is it somebody’s garden?, they asked. I was at a loss for words. We weren’t prepared, nor did we announce it anywhere. We didn’t even have a banner or something at the entrance.

It looked like somebody’s garden, that’s why they entered and stayed. They had two lemonades and I wrote the receipt by hand. Another couple entered and they had two glasses of wine. They became regulars and I would see them sometimes, drinking wine at the same table, back in the corner.

Whether to make a logo for the gate or not was an easy choice. There was no money left. So we borrowed one logo with the coffee brand from our coffee supplier. People didn’t know our name for a couple of months. But it was great, we had a chance to talk to them and tell them our story.

Tell them our story I did when a nice couple asked for a manager. I lated found out he was an editor of Time Out Bucharest and he decided to write about us. That was the day we had our first reservation call.

We always relied on our clients to bring their friends and then, their friends and so on. It’s natural and it feels good to be recommended by a friend to a friend. And it kind of keeps us on our toes. We want to live up to the expectations.

Fun fact: Due to space and legal constraints, we had to move the toilet in the first coffee shop in a separate building outside the main house. I know, winters are something else, but people got used to the 10 steps walk out. Whenever a client asks where the toilet is, we have a clue he/she is new around. It’s fun to watch them get used to the space. Frown a bit about the toilet outside and then be happy we have hand cream there.

See you tomorrow with more stories about out regulars.

(2) Comments

  • David Cruz
    Mar 5, 2013 at 4:30 am

    From the pictures posted on this, the firing and hiring post, I love love love the way you have the coffee shop decorated. In Los Angeles and sorrounding areas we have a bad reputation of having overly hyped places that go all out on decoration and hiring top notch chefs, however, for some reason, their staff is crap. I’m not speaking for most places here in Los Angeles, but many places that are ‘hipster hot spots’ tend to have this issue. I personally don’t care how good the food is or how great the atmoshphere, if the staff isn’t glad to see you and have you around, no thanks. Places like yours that offer everything are rare in L.A. and hard to find as they don’t have a huge online presence. Keep up the great work and thank you for inspiring words.

  • siany
    May 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    What an amazing story 🙂 fabulously written, the way you describe the shop makes me want to take a train (or fly) to where it is right now 🙂

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.