>So, the other day, 3ammoBean and I went out to get some awesome materials for new J2Bean. (I have recommendations for those of you looking for Arabic language materials, by the way, maybe I’ll review them sometime). He had a hankering for some coffee and wanted to stop by the new Cups & Kilos on Rainbow Street. What a mistake!
Now, I’m a fan of supporting local chains when possible, but when the quality is lower, the service abysmal and the whole experience lackluster… local chain loses every time. In Louisiana before we moved, they had an awesome local chain of coffee shops called CC’s owned by Community Coffee. These guys out paced every coffee vendor in Baton Rouge. They beat out Folger’s and Maxwell house with their canned offerings, Starbucks and all other coffee shops, and they held contracts with pretty much every single business to supply their break room coffee. They were a local chain that exceeded quality and service found at national chains. Sadly, Cups & Kilos falls far, far short of that mark.
Our experience began on entering the shop. There were two employees wandering about doing nothing discernible other than ignoring us. Honestly, I would have walked out, but 3ammoBean wanted coffee, so I stayed. We waited for at least an entire minute before they could give us any attention. And then it was unclear that when we started to order they were actually listening. The hallmark of lackluster service is inattentiveness to the customer. They finally moved into action making the drinks. They placed the first drink on the counter without any indication of which one it was. We asked and got a reply. They made my hot chocolate (yes MommaBean is all about chocolate in its many forms). Now, for those who don’t routinely drink hot chocolate, every place I’ve had it super-heats the milk to around 150 degrees. So, needless to say the cup is hot.
When they handed over the drink, I asked for a sleeve (or Java jacket or coffee cozy depending on where you’re from). They indicated that they were out. So then I asked for a second cup (standard Starbucks procedure for customers who ask when they’ve run out of sleeves). Apparently, the cups are counted, so that’s also not possible. 3ammoBean asked if the customer is simply supposed to burn their hand and the so-helpful barista said, no of course not, but had no solution to offer. When 3ammoBean commented that Starbucks provides second cups on request, the Barista helpfully responded “this isn’t Starbucks.” No kidding. 3ammoBean responded that that was clearly apparent to us. 3ammoBean asked that the barista complain to management about their ludicrous policy. He assured us that he has, many times. They just don’t care. Ahh, I see. Well, from his customer service skills, I’d imagine the management is a bit disinterested.
We finished the conversation with 3ammoBean saying that this would our last visit to any Cups & Kilos location. The barista replied with “But why? I haven’t done anything to make you mad.” Duh. So, my like of supporting local chains aside, I’ll continue going to Starbucks where I can anticipate consistent quality (even if it isn’t the greatest hot chocolate in the world (at least it comes with whipped cream)), consistently reasonable service, and a smoke-free environment. Cups & Kilos is definitely a local chain, with all of the issues that implies. Here’s hoping their management cares more than their employees think, otherwise, I can’t imagine how they’ll continue to thrive. Then again, maybe it’s only someone with expectations of decent service that will refuse to tolerate such inept treatment. Perhaps they’ll continue to do just fine. But, they won’t be filling the void of my first circle beverage needs. I’ll wait until Starbucks comes down here and drives them out of business, teehee.
Happy First and Last Encounters!