Reinventing the Coffee Bar

By Mac M. Martirossian, CPA

How many times have you stayed at a hotel and walked up to a boring and character-less coffee station?  You yawn as you grab a cup of coffee and get frustrated with where to drop your used stirrer and empty sugar packets.  Who could possibly improve this scene and make it a “point of differentiation” and a source of conversation and promotion?

On a recent visit to the Epic Hotel in Miami, the creative folks at Kimpton Hotels have completely re-invented the way to present something as dull, mundane and ordinary as free morning coffee.

Even the sign for identifying the milk containers was replaced with a snorkel mask with “whole” and “skim” written on each goggle.  The morning coffee bar had become the “water cooler” for hotel guests to gather, meet and take photos.

Innovating is difficult to do, because it takes enormous energy and thought.  When done right, it is priceless.

As consumers of services or products, we LOVE creativity and as producers, more often than not, we stand back and wait for someone else to take action….and then we say “Why couldn’t I have thought of that?”

Here are some points to consider:

  • We all have the gift of innovating.  Don’t let others define who you are, but categorizing who with right and left brain comparisons.  Innovation can be learned, and if you exercise your mind enough around new concepts, you will be surprised at the results.
  • Welcome innovation and don’t be threatened by it.  Human nature is such that we are comfortable with “the same old thing”.  When something new is created it can take us out of our comfort zone…which is the best thing that can happen, because it makes us grow and forces us to come up with an even better idea.
  • Where is the ROI for the new idea?  Engage in and associate yourself with projects and ideas that have a Return On….Innovation.  There needs to be a return on the energy you expend in creating a new process, a new spin, a new concept that monetizes your effort.

Use the imagination of a child and…convert your coffee bar into a beach scene.


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