Zarf me, please

by Lee Hopkins on April 23, 2011 · 2 comments

in customer service,lifehack,nonverbal communication

zarf-starbucksWHY DO coffee shops in Australia fail in the most basic of customer service elements, yet the mighty Starbucks has been making it a feature for ages? I’m talking about the zarf.

Surely we Australian’s could have picked up the hint?

My fingers burn when the takeaway coffee container reaches maximum temperature. A simple slip of cardboard is the obvious answer, but its use still alludes our coffee houses.

2. Originally, a zarf was a metal chalice keep the heat from your coffee from burning your fingers. The fancy cupholder has morphed into the modern-day cardboard sleeve that comes wrapped around your hot coffee.

Even if your business isn’t in the coffee industry, what ‘cents in the dollar’ customer-friendly ‘thing’ are you not providing, some ‘thing’ that would make your customers’ day even infinitesimally better? Why aren’t you providing it – cost? So what happens when your competitors provide that ‘thing’ and you don’t; still reckon the cost of not providing ‘it’ is worth losing customers over?

Hat tip to my friend Donna Pepsicola for the link.


  • http://twitter.com/coffeeadelaide Bobby

    Coffee shops can use those ridged cups, they probably using the cheapest cups they can find with no insulation at all. How hot is the takeways coffee you buy anyways? The milk should only be going to mid 60ish not 99c

  • http://www.LeeHopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    I’ve tried those ridged cups, Bobby, but they still heat up pretty quickly.

    I agree with you — coffee should be heated to 65 degrees, not boiling point, but that doesn’t seem to either figure in some baristas’ minds, nor help with the heat-absorption properties of some coffee cups.

    When I was in the US the Starbucks sleeve (which I now know is a zarf) struck me as an ingenious solution and a brilliant customer-service initiative.

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