Why does it take so long to get a 5$ coffee made?
You walk into your favorite coffee shop, (I’m not going to name the obvious one) and you order your usual 4-5$ drink and have to wait two minutes. You expect to have to wait this long because you figure it’s a specialty drink and therefore it takes longer. The server cannot simply pour it out of the pre-made coffee container and serve it to you immediately. This is at least how you tend to think. You are therefore ok with waiting 2 minutes. Your specialty drink needs to have care put into it. It needs special stirring, and a specific way of preparing the foamy milk you so like.
In fact, because the customer is so accustomed to the special care assigned to an expensive drink, they feel cheated if the drink comes faster than normal. Imagine you walk up to your favorite coffee shop and order a 5$ caramel macchiato. Now imagine that the barista immediately grabs a cup, and then reaches over to press the “caramel macchiato” button on a fancy coffee machine. The machine rapidly puts the right ingredients and liquids together to form your favorite drink in less than 10 seconds. The entire sequence takes about 20 seconds from the moment you ordered. The customer would wonder why they just paid 5$ for such an easy sequence of events that required no human care throughout and took only 20 seconds.
The point being made here is that these coffee shops understand this. They realize that customers are paying for the “care” being put into these drinks. They realize they could make these drinks a lot quicker than the current pace. The example of using the machine is actually only part of it. A lot of coffee lovers would adamantly disagree with a machine being able to make the same quality of coffee. This is actually a good debate in itself but let’s not get into it here. Alright, so we eliminate the machine aspect. The difference between a machine making the coffee and a barista is only a small part. These coffee stores also realize that they could set up the system in such a way as to speed up even the barista method of making coffee. Next time you are ordering your favorite coffee remember to examine their procedure. You will realize how ineffective their procedure is. Or maybe ineffective is the wrong word since they set up their coffee making process up like that on purpose. Maybe they are actually extremely effective in their process.
The point is that their method is perfectly timed to not take too long, but also long enough for the customer to feel like the appropriate care is being put into their coffee. If certain coffee shops that are getting regular line-ups of customers (obviously not all do) could speed up their methods therefore increasing the amount of orders without losing their customers they would. However, many businesses have become very capable at creating very loyal followers. Customers know what to expect every single time they show up. They expect the special care every time. They do not mind waiting for 2 minutes. These businesses realize this and therefore stay very consistent with the culture they’ve developed.