Speed, Efficiency & Expectations

What you’re looking at here is a speed test at Mammoth Espresso. From order to execution to delivery of the drink to a customer, we’re looking at the amount of time it takes to build various espresso drinks. An espresso, for instance, is considerably less involved from a drink-build perspective than, say, our “New” Old Fashioned, which includes espresso, syrup, bitters, stirring, pouring and garnishing with a twist of lemon. So we look at the build times for all sorts of drinks, and then also consider the average time regardless of the drink ordered.

Is Speed Fast?

It’s intuitive to think the goal here is faster, faster, faster! But it’s not, at least not exactly. What we’re looking at is workflow efficiency. A clean, well-organized bar is a fast bar. Intuitive workflow is fast. Tacit knowledge of drink recipes and next steps reduces mistakes and spills. Watching all of these elements working together is a beautiful thing.

Using Speed Tests to Set Expectations

There’s another important reason to run speed tests - to properly set expectations, both among our cafe staff and from staff to customer. Imagine there’s a barista preparing espresso drinks, and I’m the barback in charge of all non-espresso drink prep (including matcha in this example). In queue are two iced lattes, an espresso and a cappuccino. If I know that, on average, these drinks should all be completed within 6 minutes, then I have an idea of when to prepare the matcha for the matcha latte coming up behind them.

This is also helpful in setting expectations for customers. If we’re in the middle of a Saturday rush and the line is backing up, it might be helpful to let new guests know that the wait is, oh, 20 minutes instead of the casual 5-minute pitstop they were hoping for. This helps relieve the pressure off staff (yes, we feel those glares), and avoids the dreaded is this my drink? dance.