by Mark Pinsent, Managing Director, Europe at The Hoffman Agency

*Or two, in this case.

This new place, Little Farm, opened around the corner from the office yesterday. They did a decent job of inviting employees of local businesses in for a opening breakfast party. Dutifully, at 8.30am, we popped round. About 30 other people did too.

It was a bit chaotic. There wasn’t evidence of much breakfast, or organisation, or welcome. One clearly stressed member of staff told us that they’d all, “only had about three hours’ sleep and the boss had overslept and only just arrived”.

Some free food eventually arrived (tasty), and we got a coffee (nice too). And then we left. At no point did the boss appear, nor did anyone explain anything about the place, it’s philosophy, or thank us for coming. It was an odd experience.

I’m interested in customer experience, so I popped back this morning. It was pretty quiet (as you can see). The barista – who is excellent – recognised me and immediately started chatting. He then also gave me two coffee blends to taste, and then loaded up one of their high-tech reusable coffee cups with £20 of credit. Nice. But the cups weren’t there the day before, so only I knew about them.

The same car was outside.

“Is that the boss’s motor?” I asked. It is.

Now, I don’t know the full story, but if you’re opening your first coffee shop/cafe/grocery shop with a farming/organic vibe, do you park your new £150,000 Aston Martin outside? I’m not sure I would. A cargo bike, maybe.

The website still isn’t fully live.

These relatively small things – being fully-prepared for you launch party, telling your story clearly, being humble, coordinating offline and online – add up to the first impression. It’s been mixed.

I’ll probably be back, though, because I’ve got £20’s worth of coffee to drink.

And I wish them every success. After all, an Aston Martin is a thirsty beast.

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