People Make Hospitality

Giving back to our barista community.

Jill Wotherspoon, Head of Marketing

I write this as I travel home from London Coffee Festival, two and a half years since I last made the same journey. I embarked upon the trip with a great sense of anticipation, and unexpectedly, a few butterflies in my stomach. This year’s festival meant much more to so many of the participants and visitors than the consumption of coffee products and knowledge. For so many of us, still working at the foot of the bed or from the kitchen table, it was a toe back into the water of normality. A gentle reminder of how to engage in-person with colleagues, customers and consumers. To hug (if you dare) and to laugh out loud in good company.

At this year’s show, innovation was perhaps not at the top of the agenda, but I found plenty else to love about my visit, not least the unflagging energy of each and every barista, serving great coffee with passion and pride on behalf of their respective roasteries. Smiles all round!

In seeing this enthusiasm, I was reminded just how important coffee people (and coffee shops) are within our communities. I for one, have a dozen excuses for visiting cafes on a daily basis. A morning caffeine kick to get me up and running. A quick stretch of the legs during lunch. Quality time with family on the weekend. I would be lost without my favourite barista, anticipating my arrival, preparing my drink just the way I like it, and sending me on my way with a warm smile.

Of course, I am not alone in my gratitude. So many consumers have come to rely on their daily interaction with coffee shop employees, whose importance is far greater than the coffee they serve. In Eduarda’s article, Smile Like You Mean It, we hear about the impact of genuine customer service on people’s lives. Another thought-provoking piece from our much-loved Head of Coffee.

In full support of this month’s e-zine theme, ‘Coffee & Community’, we are particularly pleased to launch our Heroes of Hospitality Award. It’s time to highlight some of the best people in this business. To showcase their invaluable contributions - and to select a deserving winner for £500 in prizes. Find out more in the next section and be sure to nominate the people you think deserve that extra bit of recognition in the run-up to Christmas.

Also in this issue, we hope you’ll also find inspiration for your seasonal drinks menu, your social media plan - and possibly - your next café concept.

All that remains is to wish you all the best for the Autumn season. Here's to big smiles all round!

Jill Wotherspoon

Head of Marketing at Matthew Algie

Jill has worked in coffee marketing for 9 years and more broadly in premium brand marketing for over 20 years. In her current role, she oversees brand, customer, and product marketing alongside digital marketing and e-commerce.

As a prolific coffee shop customer, Jill has a passion for cafe life. From interiors and ambiance, through food and drink, to community engagement, Jill champions the independent cafe every day - on both a professional and personal level.