Category Archives: Dublin

A short post on a good week

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Last week this post appeared on Lovin Dublin which aside from being a really nice surprise was a great shot in the arm for all the staff at 3fe. We’ve been pushing each other really hard for the last 3 months or so and to come out on top of such a prestigious list was a great reward for all the staff. We were, naturally, chuffed.

I mentioned to Niall at Lovin Dublin that the post had done wonders for business, and obviously expressed my gratitude. I promised that once I had a week of numbers I would share them. So I will!

Its very important to remember that we had our busiest week ever at 3fe the week before this post so creating any more sales was a difficult task. Admittedly, when I saw the post my hope was that we’d maintain the previous weeks performance. What actually happened was that over the course of the seven days following the post our sales went up by a whopping 9.53% on the previous 7 days.

This  has obviously been great in terms of the bare numbers but its been remarkable how many people have dropped by for their first time since the post went up. We’ve now picked up some new regulars that lived or worked locally but never new we were here. Its amazing and embarrassing all at the same time.

So, what has all this taught me? Despite what you might think it is definitely not; pander to online bloggers and reviewers. In fact my advice is to the contrary. Niall, Jamie, Louise and all the other crew at Lovin’ Dublin have never received any freebies from 3fe and when they come for lunch and a coffee they pay the same price everyone else does. I think they respect us more for that if I’m honest.

What I have taken from all of this is a renewed sense of optimism that there is now a meritocracy in place that is rewarding those that are doing a great job and levelling the playing field for businesses all across the city. There was a time when your advertising budget, industry contacts or friends in the media would dictate how much coverage you get but with the various social media platforms, food blogs, and web guides you have a great opportunity to tell your story to those that want to listen. Sometimes the online reviews really sting, but sometimes they make for an incredible week and lift the whole team

I met yesterday with my old (young!) mentor Karl from Coffee Angel and it was great to chat about working hard, pushing the small things and getting incremental rewards. Their new place on Pembroke Street is hopping and I’m expecting similar things when they open the refurbished shop on South Anne Street soon. They too appeared on the LD list and have been breaking sales records themselves all week.

I’m well aware that this is all very much early days for us and our business is a very unforgiving one. Smarter people with more money than us have failed miserably in the past so I’m taking nothing for granted. It is nice however to be able to sit down with the guys at 3fe and say these are the fruits of our labour and it was worth all that effort. Onwards!

Compiling a list; “Tasting in Dublin”

The tasting bar at 3fe has always been a place for us to give customers a little extra in terms of tasting. They often get thrown samples, asked to taste things side by side and generally used as guinea pigs for us to try new things out with.

Lately, some of our more frequent customers have gotten to the stage where they don’t even ask for a coffee, because they trust us enough to decide for them and over the last 18 months we know exactly what sort coffees they enjoy. They just sit down at the bar and we let them know whats coming and make sure its good.

Asking for recommendations is not a new thing, but I’m constantly surprised at how badly its done in this city. What tends to happen is that you ask for a recommendation and the person serving you will simply list the choices to you. This frustrates me because whenever I’m asking for a recommendation, its usually because I haven’t a clue what I’m buying so listing the options is of no real benefit to me.

Once this has been done they’ll unfortunately suggest something that is so run-of-the-mill and inoffensive that you possibly couldn’t dislike it, but its not going to satisfy the sort of person who asks for a recommendation in the first place.

I no longer drink, but when I did I really enjoyed going to L Mulligan Grocer in Stoneybatter and just asking them to pick for me. The choice was usually good and even when I wasn’t mad about it I never felt short-changed. Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had with Colin et al were about drinks I hated. I’d pay the money for the taste experience rather than the drink itself.

Sheridan’s cheese mongers on South Anne Street is another place where they’re happy to lead you down a path with a recommendation. Fallon and Byrne’s wine cellar, Murphy’s Ice Cream, Hollands of Bray and Drink Store are other rare examples of places in Dublin that will take control of your tasting if you ask them to. I’ve also been assured that Lilliput Stores will do the same but to my shame I have yet to visit. I know.

There’s something very reassuring about someone who’s so passionate about their trade that they can have the ability and confidence to select something for you. Lately I’ve given up on asking for recommendations and started asking them for “something you’re not entirely sure that I’ll like”. The results have always been interesting, usually been tasty and I’ve consistently come away with an experience.

So, where else am I missing? Is there other places in the city where this sort of thing happens? I’m compiling a list of places for tourists to visit entitled “Tasting in Dublin” so all suggestions will be tested and tasted. I will also happily post the list once its compiled so pop your suggestions in the comments box!