ACP 062: Anthem Coffee and Tea in Tacoma Washington

Want to know what it takes to keep a cafe open for 10+ years? Listen to Bryan Reynolds from Anthem Coffee and Tea and you can find some answers.


Podcast episode show notes arranged by time:

Hello welcome – I have been talking to a few industry-pros about working IN and not ON your business. To help deep dive a bit let’s spend some time hearing about how Anthem Coffee and Tea went from having an over-worked owner to a healthy and expanding cafe.
Some topics we will cover that I enjoyed learning were: giving employees light responsibilities to free your time up, what is the 85/10/5% rule and finding others to help handle 95% of that your workload, a story of a customer loyalty program that had outstanding usage but went bust, and throughout the 2 part interview you will hear Bryan refer back to his clear vision and mission statement for his cafe which has clearly helped him stay focused while showing his employees how to win at customer service.

TIME 1:05
TIME 2:45
Levi: Asking about the guiding principals….
Bryan explains how he wants his team to show ‘heroic hospitality’ which brings people back. Also talks a little about his exact role as the owner which is to be a role model, help grow sales, and that people are being served well.
TIME 7:35
Levi: Anthem is a good example of a cafe that has co-workers who appear to be friends
. Bryan explains: the line between customer and employee is blurred because the heroic hospitality is contagious and spreads to the customer base. Having this is a clear vision is a foundation.
TIME 8:50
Levi: when Anthem started did you think you would have an employee stay with you for 10 years?
 Bryan explains: finding the right employee who resonates well with your culture and core values will allow you to invest in that employee and grow them. “You have to identify people who have similar strengths and abilities and them replicate yourself in them so that you don’t stay a prisoner to the J.O.B. you created. I want to create jobs, I want to create opportunities for people, I don’t want to be the ceiling.”
Bryan also shares a warning if you get too hands off the business too soon, before you have modeled the culture that you want, then it will likely fade away into its own culture (good or bad) and not the vision you had.
TIME 12:20
Levi: “Solitude is a chosen separation for refining your soul, isolation is what you crave when you neglect the first” how did you get to that first point where you were able to step away for an hour/day/week and what do you wish you had don better?
 Bryan explains: he personally experienced burn-out at year 5. Then inserted a ‘pattern interruption’ in his life to help him gain clarity. Why are we afraid to leave our cafe? Is it because we fear to lose control? In order for our employees to win in the cafe requires that we show them exactly what winning looks like. Once we have trained our team correctly we can trust that we can take a step back.
TIME 17:55
Levi: “I drove hard on all cylinders, not realizing that being an entrepreneur means that everything you initiate by default you must ad to your maintenance list” What was the first task that you handed off first, how can a cafe manager test with small things first before handing off too much?
 Bryan explains: is the starting point, beware of weaknesses so we know where to put people. Involvement equals ownership, getting people involved helps them become more responsible and the best thing is when they see a current process we use at the cafe they know of even better ways to streamline it.
TIME 22:20
Levi: Where did your shirt design “Let is happen naturally” come from? 
Bryan explains: it was a way to recognize when things were starting to bubble up or perhaps getting harder. It was a phrase we used as a team so we made it into a shirt. Also at that time we were using a lot of pour-over coffee brewing and were excited by that.
TIME 24:45
Levi: quoting Carlo “One thing that impressed me was Bryan’s desire to build a hub for the community……….”
Next episode Bryan will talk a little about his parents modeling customer service and a loyalty card that was supposed to ‘bring customers back’ but created an entitled customer. Sound good to you?
Music by The Dirty Moogs, via