November 16, 2010 by Ellen V
If you know me at all, you know that I am a coffee shop fanatic. You don’t have to ask me twice to join you for a cup of coffee (or tea or cider or any other hot drink) in a cozy store. I realize I’m always chattering about shopping localand eating local, but I really, really love Starbucks, especially. Don’t get me wrong—Milwaukee has some stellar local coffee. Alterra and Stone Creek are simply awesome. But Starbucks really takes the cake for me. The people are friendly, the music is great, the bathrooms are clean, and the coffee is absolutely delicious. Every time, every store.
I think Starbucks is so great because they really take hospitality to the next level. So, as a tribute to one of my favorite places on the planet, here are 5 things I’ve learned from Starbucks that make me a better hostess:
1. Friendliness! So many Starbucks employees are really, genuinely friendly. Or maybe they’ve just learned to fake it well. Either way, I love it how a Starbucks employee will compliment my coat, or ask how my day is going, or tell some lame joke to try to get me to smile. I always struggle with impersonal, get-to-know-you conversation, but I am trying harder to take a tip from Starbucks employees by offering people a big smile and asking them to share in this moment in my day.
2. Something New to Share I love when a Starbucks employee recommends a new drink or treat, and they set a little sample out for you to try. It’s always pressure-free, just a friendly opportunity to broaden one’s horizons. In my home, I like to share a new recipe or secret trick with a new (or old) friend. We learn from each other and about each other.
3. Red Cups Seriously, when the red cups come out in November, all I want is something hot to hold and drink! I see others in the store or on the streets outside holding their red cups, and I want one, too! In my home, I try to enjoy a drink or a treat along with my guests, and I put it on or in something pretty. It makes us both feel more at ease to eat or drink together, and it makes guests feel like I tried a little harder for them. And I did!
4. Comfy Seats Starbucks invites you to stay and sit as long as you like! I’m so impatient, always rushing along to the next thing. I want my home to be an inviting place where an hour can turn into two or three or more!
5. Something for Free Who doesn’t love leaving with a little something extra? Starbucks is always handing out free samples, free iTunes downloads, free drinks. I would love to have a home where you leave with a little something more than you came in with: some leftover bakery treat, a book to borrow, or just a little extra oomph in your day!