I freaked out the first time I came back from a trip to Australia and the grinder had been moved from the left hand side to the right side of the machine; it was as though Lior had murdered my own mother (slight overreaction?). This was my café, what the fuck’s this bloke doing changing my grinder. Oh, it actually works a little better this way. Huh. Oh he’s made a sugar syrup as well and keeps it bottled in the fridge. Good thinking.
There’s barely a day that goes by without Lily messaging me, asking if she can try to sell a new snack or build something to improve the café and if shit needs getting done, Lil gets it done. Madi’s responsible for covering most of General Luna to Cloud 9 in beautiful art pieces and the café didn’t miss out with a new one going up every week; not to mention the beauty extending to her “to-die-for” cappuccinos and lattes. Danni’s coffee skills have come a long way since the first time she drenched herself with hot milk after removing the steaming wand from the milk and I’ve even seen her knock out a couple of leaves and love hearts in her latte art. Lorenzo brought a huge amount of energy to the café and had the customers in sticthes regardless of which side of the counter he was on. Ines was a massive help during the festive season when I was either too hungover or drunk to work and Jase… Um… Jase has a great 6-pack. Kidding. Without Jase we would never have stayed open and our Female clientele tripled in the time he was there when they found out a Tom Cruise lookalike was making coffees.
A good friend of mine once said “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. Ok so Richard Branson isn’t exactly a good friend of mine but I did see him at the opening to the Brisbane Airport Virgin Lounge so I feel like he’d add me on Facebook if he knew who I was. Everyone will have their own interpretation on this but what I’ve taken from it is to give your staff purpose and value and give them a reason to want to turn up every day and give their best efforts. Fili Beans Espresso doesn’t get the reputation for best coffee in Siargao because I’m there weighing every shot, measuring milk temperature or timing every drop. In fact the last time I turned up and started making coffees Lily asked me to leave because I was doing shit wrong. We got our reputation because over the last six months we’ve had a bunch of absolute legends each with their own ideas, skills and input that has contributed to the premium product we serve up time and time again.
Unlike my old mate Richo, I’m not running several billion dollar companies, but I feel the formula stays the same whether you’re running an airline or serving up coffees in a beach shack. There was something that made you want to have these people helping you out when you first met them so you’d be crazy not to listen to them and trial their ideas, put them in charge and entrust them with decision making. Ensure they want to stay there because you value them and without them the business would be worse off. The nature of the Island will see a lot of transient folk come and go but everyone who does has left a little piece themselves a part of the café.
So this a massive thank you to everyone who’s stood on the other side of the counter at some stage because it’s you guys that has people in Manila talking about our coffee. I said in one of my first blogs that I wanted to bring a coffee culture to Siargao and I honestly feel it’s happening. Just don’t touch my f***ing grinder.