What’s come to my attention recently is that many people don’t really know where Traveler’s Coffee is right now… I was talking to someone from a wonderful city and the tone of the conversation was kind of funny, as the person assumed that Traveler’s Coffee was in his city and maybe some other city. He was shocked to know that there were 75 coffeehouses, in over 40 cities and 5 countries. When I went on to tell him that this year we were opening our first coffeehouses in China and Morocco a look of total stunned disbelief came over his face.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to act cool or anything here and talk about these “big” impressive numbers (they are actually still quite small compared to many of my colleagues in other respectively large coffeehouse chains), but what I am getting at is how far we’ve come. Most people in the markets we are participating in were drinking such bad quality coffee or no coffee only a decade ago. Most people didn’t know a Red Velvet cake from a Tiramisu or a banana pudding from a hole in the ground. Once again I’m not saying that we are cool, but I’m saying look how far we’ve come as a whole, the specialty coffee movement and the healthy and gourmet food movement is part of a larger movement of unity, of becoming one, of becoming closer together through shared experiences, of being concerned about our health and our effect that we have on the planet and ultimately becoming part of one human race and making the good things in life available to all it’s inhabitants and becoming truly globally prosperous. It’s just so rewarding to be part of this great process.
It’s become even more apparent to me as we dedicate ourselves to growth, that this very growth is not only geographical, with corporate and franchise coffeehouses popping up all throughout Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and Morocco, but it’s also a growth in our professionalism in our administration and management of the company. Companies that grow organically can be likened to a tree where it’s roots grow proportionately to it’s branches. As the branches reach to the sky, the root dig into the ground to keep the tree solid so it can expand even further. This is how our management and infrastructure should be in the company, well grounded, rooted… solid.
To get the management team that will provide the type of service we all demand as guests of Traveler’s Coffee, we’ve opened administrative offices in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and now in Ningbo, China. These offices have been blooming and flourishing over the last 6 months as we promote our coffee veterans from within the company to new capacities in our quest for better management and quality. At the same time we are diligently searching over the past several years for new human resources that will be, as we say in the business world, “game changers,” those who will catapult the company to a new paradigm and much more improved corporate culture. These are the people who have “been there and done that” and will bring experience so that Traveler’s Coffee can roll-out its coffeehouses more effectively.
In this process of developing our top management team we decided that the first improvement was to totally re-create our Operations Department. So, with great joy I’m happy to announce that our Operations Department has hired Andrey Matviyuk, a very seasoned food service veteran as our new Director of Ops for Russia and CIS. And to lead our entire Ops Department we have brought on Dean Torrenga as our COO. He will be managing our global operations and improving, streamlining, optimizing our coffeehouses units throughout the whole chain. With Dean’s over 30 years of retail and food service experience working for such great serious companies as Starbucks and Caribou Coffee and opening and managing hundreds upon hundreds of coffeehouses, we are sure to see a much more professional and service oriented company, that will outshine the Traveler’s Coffee we’ve come to know and love.
With our new COO and Director of Operations I’m actually feeling myself in the presence of food industry giants that will take our company solidly into the 21st Century. In fact I am humbled with the life that God has given me working in these wonderful countries as they come fully “online” and become major players in the world community. I feel great pride working with these wonderful men and women from so many different cultures and backgrounds all truly trying to become Traveler’s Coffee People (the phrase we use for people in the company trying to give real service to our guests, which is not always easy and somewhat elusive, but we are really trying).
With constant gratitude I thank all of you for this opportunity! It is my blessing to work and serve you all!