I often sit in coffee shopsMaybe it would be cheaper to rent an office?

My drink of choice is a double tall latte. I drink my daily calories and spend enough to feed a family for a day.  So why coffee shops? It gives me flexibility to travel to meet clients where they are and it brings them out of their work environment. We’re free of distractions and tend to be more relaxed. I find it a great way to connect and clients tend to be more receptive. It’s the perfect place to meet and conduct business, not to mention ideal for Meet Your Community’s Conversations In A Coffee Shop series.

When you work from coffee shops, you get tend to get a little picky.

So what makes a good coffee shop?

This can be personal and it can depend on your business. Do you need a larger tables (I have seen architects spread out blueprints and designers layout rough drawings)? Will you be there all day?  That last one means having power for your computer and phone….not to mention good food.

There’s no place like home.

Personally, I like a place that feels like home. Where you feel comfortable. In some places I’ll have my regular spot. At others I tend to keep a less regular schedule and the variety of meetings increases. Having some soft sofa’s and lower tables means a more casual conversation. Smaller tables are perfect when it’s only me.

Natural light is a must when staring at a computer screen most of the day. And of course, free WiFi – that actually works! Yes. I have been to plenty of coffee shops where the service goes in and out constantly.

If you’re not comfortable, it simply doesn’t work.

People make the difference

The staff (the team in one of my fav shops) should be able to build relationships with clientele quickly. Granted you are not interacting with them all day and still, who wants to work around grumpy people who can’t remember your name?

Better still… I LOVE when they remember my name and my order! Nice to walk in, sit down and know my latte is on the way without asking.

That relationship also adds to additional trust. My colleague walks into many of the same shops and not only does he get his drink as he likes it (not that a black drip coffee is something you can screw up), they happily open a tab for him! Trust me… it’s better for shop… less reaching for that card and better for his business. He can easily add a client’s drink to his bill without the awkward exchange which can follow who’s buying.

Friendly faces, nice people and great service are a must for me.  Of course there is the matter of the coffee.

The coffee (and the food)

Now I don’t consider myself a coffee snob. I’m not bound to a single brand. The way it’s made can make or break it for me. Especially if it’s constantly bad. Apparently there is a way to make it right (I have no idea what that is). I do know as a customer if I cannot get a good cup of coffee every time, I won’t be spending there.

I was speaking to a coffee shop owner recently. They only hire people who work and act as if they own the company. Unfortunately it does not mean they make a great drink. Once they find this person, they strike gold.

I do prefer whatever I drink at a local shop to be local though. It makes good business sense.

I mentioned earlier good food is a must. If I am going to work all day I am going to get hungry. If I get hungry I am going to need to eat. The best coffee shops in my opinion offer good food and a little variety.

So where do I spend my time?

You won’t find me in Starbucks. I prefer the smaller, independent shops. Think Friends and Central Perks.

My coffee shops of choice?

MarKee Coffee in Gig Harbor and Old Town Tacoma.

Bertillino’s in Tacoma.

Forrey’s Forza in Lacey.

The Drive Thru.

I realize you cannot actually work at a drive thru coffee place. Sometimes though, I need my morning jolt when I must meet a client at their location. They don’t offer the same relationship building opportunities, though when you visit regularly, they get to know you.

I do worry about the bikini ones. How do they not get scolded by the steam? And who patronizes these places?  If the coffee’s good, who am I to judge?

My favorite? Peninsula Perk in Gig Harbor


So I will forgo the high rent and lonely office space for one of my favorite coffee shops (or drive thru) with its mismatched furniture but ‘where everybody knows my name’ and my drink is made to the same standard as soon as I walk in.

Where’s your favorite coffee shop? What’s you reason for working in one?

Drop me a line and let me know![/fusion_text]