We’re not talking about you just serving up a steaming mug of Americano or the creamiest flat white in town. That’ll always encourage people to come back for more. We’re talking about perceptions, and here you may be the enabler, the oil on the wheels, if you’re a restaurant or pub with a coffee machine, or a coffee shop. If you’re providing a bean-to-cup machine in your office, or an espresso machine in your boardroom, your business may benefit more directly.
A recent study from America, conducted by scientists at Harvard, MIT and Yale, proved that the warmth of a cup of coffee in hand translates into an emotionally warm feeling in that person. Towards the person they’re talking to. Warmth equals warmth.
The test was pretty simple. They created two study groups. One group was given iced coffee to drink, the other hot coffee, and then they were asked to assess the personality of a stranger they met. The group with the hot coffee viewed the people they met as more sociable and generous.
So, if you serve coffee as a business, how does this help you?
Because it helps your customers. You should already know the value in being a venue for informal and semi-formal meetings. Freelancers love a pub or restaurant, and coffee shops in particular; they’re convenient meeting places when getting together with potential clients and business partners. Likewise, plenty of managers and employees look to coffee shops for a neutral, relatively private place to talk about projects, pay reviews and more. In all those cases, both parties want the other person to view them favourably. For you, the benefits of coffee in people perception are another valuable selling point. We hope you already show the right amount of interest in your customers – enough to get to know them, not so much that it feels intrusive – and part of the intent of this coffee blog is to give you interesting topics of discussion. “You should hold your next meeting here,” you might say. “I read recently that hot coffee makes people view the person they’re talking to more positively.” Unobtrusive, persuasive and useful.
And on that note, it turns out that people sitting in comfortable seating become more generous in their dealings. Seems obvious as well. They may feel inclined to stay longer, spend more and, again, be more positive towards the person they’re meeting.
How does your coffee machine help in your office?
We’ve covered the general benefits of having a coffee machine in the office before. This research shows, though, that you’re not just improving internal employee relations, but potentially lifting client perception. Anyone who comes for a meeting expects to be offered tea or coffee. It’s a given. But what we didn’t realise before was that the feeling of holding that coffee makes your visitors more likely to view your employees themselves more favourably. Put simply, the hot coffee your people offer to prospective clients boosts their chance of winning business. Reassuring, isn’t it? And if you’re a facilities manager or an office manager looking to persuade the purse-string holder to part with the budget needed to lease a coffee machine for your office, this may be just the proof you need.