The top three values here at Bridge Street Coffee House are 1) Customer Service, 2) Exceptional Quality, and 3) Prompt Service. We are a uniquely operated coffee shop in a store front building on Bridge Street in a town of approximately 3,500 residents. We are a small-town coffee shop. Bridge Street Coffee House is operated by a nonprofit organization called LINCS. LINCS stands for Leading, Inspiring, Nurturing, Connecting, Succeeding. These are the five impacts we seek to have on the teens in Sheridan, Willamina, and Grand Ronde. The staff members at Bridge Street Coffee House are 100% volunteer and they are predominantly teens who do not have previous work experience. We also have a few adult volunteers who act as mentors. Part of the training the young people receive involves understanding the importance of how to be competitive in our market; and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Bridge Street Coffee House.
We impress upon the young people the fact that customer service must be the number one priority here at Bridge Street Coffee House. We do not have a drive-thru, so we cannot capitalize on offering a convenient cup of coffee. Therefore, we must ensure every customer that comes through the shop door has a positive and memorable experience. The second priority is creating food and drinks with high quality ingredients. If our customers are willing to take the time to find a parking space and walk into the shop, they should be rewarded with outstanding food and drinks. We choose our products based on quality, not necessarily cost. Last, but not least, our third priority is to offer prompt service. “Prompt” means the customer will receive our undivided attention from the moment they step up to the counter to the moment they receive their order. We do not have a systematic way of producing hundreds of drinks in a short period of time like the larger drive-thru competitors, but we CAN focus on service and prepare a quality drink with the understanding that our customers have places to go and people to see. We give our undivided attention to the customer so they can be in and out as quickly as possible.
The most rewarding moments I have experienced in the shop are when the young people convey the above message and values to other young people who are new trainees in the shop. My heart swells with pride as I hear them tell others, “We can’t offer super fast service, so we have to focus on customer service, quality product, and prompt service.” I am proud to say that most of the entries in our “Guest Book” comment on the friendly staff, outstanding customer service, and pleasant atmosphere.