Espresso Bar Flow

The espresso bar has come a long way since the days of over-sized mugs and comfy couches. Now, the addition of an espresso bar can help create an environment that encourages personal interactions between customers and a baristas.

When designing a coffee shop, one of the most important things to consider is flow. The ways in which customers navigate your shop, order, pay, and collect their drinks can have huge consequences on the success of your business. One of the simplest decisions that can inform your bar layout is the placement of the point of sale. 

There are two models that Intelligentsia employs and, depending on the size of your operation and chosen style of service, either one can be suitable.

Pay first

In this model, the customer enters the space and immediately proceeds to the register where they order a drink and pay. If they have any questions about the menu, they will ask them here. Their drink order is then communicated to the bar staff who makes the drink and delivers it to the waiting customer.

In this model, customers may find themselves waiting in line twice: once when they pay and then again when they are waiting for their drink.

This is a common set-up used with registers that print drink tickets for the bar-staff to read.

Pay First

Pay at the end

In this model, the customer enters the space and proceeds to the barista at the espresso machine. The barista and the customer discuss the offerings of the day and the customer orders their drink without paying. If equipment behind the bar is placed correctly, the bar-staff will be able to relay the drink order to the person on the register. Once the customer arrives at the register to pay for their beverage, they are not expected to repeat the order. If bar operations are efficient, the drink will be ready for the customer by the time they have finished paying.

If this model is implemented correctly, the customer only has to wait in line once.

Both order-flows can be implemented with great success when the staff is not only knowledgeable and confident but also attentive to the specific needs of each guest.

Pay at the end

Julia Pledl
Wholesale Educator

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