This fall, the East Juice Bar got a new coordinator to go along with its new look. I caught up with Dustin Skelley, recently of Willy Street Co-op’s Production Kitchen, to talk about the plans for the improved Juice Bar:
Tell me about the transition to your current job in the juice bar.
It’s been a good change of pace from the production environment I was in (the Production Kitchen). I’m focusing on increasing sales and controlling inventory better. Bringing in single-origin coffees and more local products (Sugar River Yogurt). In my experience running the Ironworks coffee shop at the Goodman Center, customers prefer these single-sourced coffees and I’ve been seeing some nice sales from those.
What is your role in the Juice bar?
Managing staff, making sure products are consistent, improving customer service and workflows. Developing specials, trying to balance time on the floor with managing systems and covering systems.
Now that the Juice Bar is front and center in our store, what can people expect?
Having fresh daily bakery up front is nice and convenient for quick shoppers and commuters. We’ve been emphasizing having staff up front at all times to answer questions and assist customers and creating a base of customers who rely on us for their morning bakery and coffee stop. Also, expanding and keeping a consistent stock of shelf juices and grab and go items.
What’s special about the Willy Street Co-op’s Juice Bar?
We’re doing things that you can’t find elsewhere. We use almost all organic ingredients, incorporating a lot of local products like wheatgrass, beets—hoping to switch to an almost entirely local menu in summer 2015. We have the convenience of being in a grocery store. I might walk into a juice bar in another neighborhood if I were there for another reason, like a farmers’ market, but wouldn’t likely make it a destination. Ours is there for you in a store that serves a lot of neighborhood needs.
What’s your definition of great customer service?
Acknowledging customers right away and serving quickly—when I go into a coffee shop, that’s what I value—it’s recognized that I’m here, I’m a valued customer, even if the drink takes a while to make because it’s busy. I’m trying to create a cohesive team aspect so that if one staff member isn’t busy, they assist the ones who are, so the customer benefits as well as the team. I’m looking at reorganizing the workspace in a way that will promote better workflow systems. We’ve added a production shift and are consistently keeping the shelf full.
Anything you want to add in the upcoming months?
I really want to have a consistently strong program of seasonal specials, and to collaborate more with other departments like Wellness to offer unique and exciting specials with products that span the store.