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I had a favourite cafe in Sydney for many years. It was at Wahroonga called Café Laurella, and
it was operated by Alf, the epitome of fantastic customer service.


Alf operated the café with his grown up son and he is probably one of the cleverest people I have ever seen in the hospitality industry.

On your first visit, he would ask your name and what you did for a living.

On the second visit he knew your family situation, where you grew up and how often you were likely to visit his café.

I reckon that by the third visit, he had already calculated the lifetime value of your custom!

He was always jovial, friendly and a real gentleman.

His customer service was so spectacular that going to his café was an uplifting experience, regardless of the quality of his coffee and food.

But the great thing was that his coffee was superb and his food was 5 star.

He was reasonably priced (but certainly not the cheapest in town) and his staff were trained to mirror his kind and friendly demeanor.

In other words he had created a number of “mini-me’s” who knocked your socks off with their out-of-the-ordinary customer service.

I recall many times enjoying breakfast or lunch at this café and upon finishing my coffee, Alf would come to the table with a fresh cup “on the house.”

Whilst a cappuccino may retail for $4, the real cost to a café owner is closer to 30 cents, so when Alf would “shout” you a cup of coffee, his 30 cents investment contributed to keeping you as a customer for a long time to come.

He was absolutely masterful in remembering not only your name, but those of your family members as well.

If I was alone, he would ask how Gael was and would then list the children’s names as if they were his own!

(Keeping in mind that I have 6 children, so that is some feat!)