The Coffee Summit in Cherry Hill, N.J. once again hit a bull's eye. Some thought there was no way that the 2-day education summit could repeat the outstanding success that it delivered last year, given the state of the economy, but it did. In fact, as a second-time observer, I can attest the response surpassed last years in both attendance and quality.
In a challenging economic time such as the present, industry organizations have to get members to think more creatively, and the National Automatic Merchandising Association certainly accomplished this at the recent Coffee Summit.
One thing that business owners have to remember is that every change brings new opportunity. Those who are embracing this today are succeeding.
There is a lot to say about the Coffee Summit, and for the purpose of clarity, Im only going to focus on one aspect of it in this blog the eye-raising keynote presentation from Leo Fante of Consumer's Choice Coffee in Louisville, Ky. An upcoming edition of Automatic Merchandiser will summarize the other sessions at the summit, which covered marketing, team building, the future of single cup, and new consumer data.
The keynote presentation was titled, Excellence in Coffee Service. Leo Fante, director of business development at Consumers Choice Coffee, gave a video presentation of customer testimonials about the quality of his companys customer service. This was a very uplifting presentation. The purpose was to demonstrate for coffee service operators the full meaning of endearing customer service. Nothing can communicate this as effectively as customers speaking for themselves.
Fante noted that customers are rarely heard from at industry events, and he felt that input from customers would be useful to operators.
Prior to presenting the testimonials, he noted that his companys mission is to be the best. I want to be the very best vendor that location has, period, he noted.
The testimonials included several high profile accounts, all of whom spoke glowingly of Fantes personal passion for coffee excellence. There should be a Leo Fante with all my vendors, one customer stated.
Fante then related how he attempts to impart his passion throughout his organization.
The message challenged the audience. Not everyone was favorably impressed; some felt the presentation was too much about Leo Fante. But even for those who felt put off by the emphasis on Leo, the message hit home. We are in a people business, and to succeed, you or someone in your organization has to be a company cheerleader. Fante gave a great example.
Every company has its own unique strengths. Not every company has the passion that Consumers Choice Coffee has in Louisville. Whatever a companys strength may be, it can and must use it to its best advantage.
Fante asked his listeners if they have a mission statement, if its to the point, and if all team members can recite it.
He ended his presentation by challenging his listeners to gather their own customer testimonials and bring them to the next Coffee Summit to share with their colleagues.
The presentation set the tone for the entire summit, which served as a 2-day brainstorming session. Coffee is about passion, and one man demonstrated how he conveys that passion to his customers.
Would anyone who was in that room want to be competing against Leo Fante?