Core Values

better people offer better hospitality

This is the heart of White Horse Coffee. People of great character make better coffee and food experiences than people of poor character. Better people make better baristas. They make better coffee roasters, better chefs and better hosts.

Better people give a damn and do their best work every day. Most importantly, they are self aware. They treat guests and team members the way they want to be treated. They’re loyal, honest, kind and generous. They turn up on time and do what they say they’re going to do. They’re never too big to do the small things and do what’s needed to provide a remarkable experience for all. They make exceptional coffee and food, but also sweep the floor, clean the toilets, sticker coffee bags – whatever is required.

Skills can be learned, but character is deeply ingrained in our attitude and personality. We value, recruit and reward character before skill.

all for one and one for all

We honour teamwork above all. When one wins, we all win. When one loses we all lose. We help each other out even when the task is outside our area. We never say, “it’s not my job”.

We are proud of our fellow team members and never talk badly behind their backs. If it’s not good for the team we don’t say it or do it. If a team member struggles with their skills and knowledge, we support, encourage and humbly do what we can to help them learn. If a team member fails, it’s a failure of the whole team. If a team member grows, it’s a victory for us all.

The real value is not in how well we perform alone, but how well we perform together – it’s one team, one dream! We are more than co-workers. We are family.

coffee for the community

This is the foundation and passion on which White Horse Coffee was built. To offer happy daily experiences for the community by serving world-class coffee with warm hospitality at a great price.

We not only serve our customers, we build relationships. We offer more than just a place to get coffee. We offer community. We know our guests names and they know ours. We celebrate life together.

Everything we do must connect with the values and intent of our beginnings. This means we are always focussed on the value and community we offer our guests and partners. We go to great lengths to provide exceptional products with exceptional hospitality at a great price. These three things will always be important, always in demand, and will never fail to inspire love and loyalty.

leave everything in a better place

We are all caretakers of the White Horse Coffee legacy and contribute to a larger story of what we will be known for. What we do now impacts what comes after, immediately and in the long term. While we live in the moment and act on “what’s important now,” we always consider what and who comes after. We leave everything in a better place than when it was given to us.

On a small scale this means our position, equipment and workplace. On a large scale this means the White Horse Coffee reputation and its people. Every one of us has the power to shape our legacy. Every one of us has an opportunity to leave everything in a better place than when it was given to us. What we will be known for is up to all of us as everyday we choose to do something positive to build our legacy.

we’re only as good as our last cup

It doesn’t matter how good we were in the past. What matters is how good we are today and how good we will be tomorrow. We’re only as good as the last cup of coffee served.

This applies to everything. Our range of products, customer service, training, content and how we present our brand. Ongoing learning and growth is the only way we will continue to inspire our customers and each other. We generously share skills and knowledge so we all keep getting better.

Making great coffee, serving wonderful food, offering exceptional customer service takes talent. Doing it over and over again takes character and training. We always ask, “How can we do this better?”

we always adapt

History is filled with successful businesses who became stale and eventually failed because they did not adapt to change. As Darwin observed, “It’s not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”.

To stay relevant and at the top of our game we are prepared to adapt to changes in our industry and our communities. We encourage all staff to share their ideas on how we can improve what we do. No problem is too big or intimidating. Together we identify the issue and map out our plan of attack. Together we learn, experiment and implement creative solutions.

go deep and keep it special

Coffee and hospitality is our profession and our passion. It is not a stepping stone to something else. This is our contribution to the community and we exist to offer deep and memorable experiences.

We are artisans and crafts-people, not merely workers. We go deep. We don’t stay in the shallows or take shortcuts. We increase our knowledge and skills and go over and above to offer something special to make our guests smile. Everyday we aim to make the best coffee we can. We spread toast to the edges. Clean tables and toilets so they’re like new. When writing an email, making a call, packing an order, baking cookies, poaching an egg – we go deep and do exceptional work.

But it’s not just about tasks. We enjoy and share good things. We allow our senses to be captivated. We savour every espresso and express gratitude for the people and places from where it came. The bigger we grow as a company, the deeper we must go.

we are unique

There is no-one like us. There never has been. There never will be. We stay true to who we are and what we’re perfectly wired to do. We free ourselves to follow our own path by not becoming distracted with what others are doing.

We do our thing and express ourselves with a deep understanding of who we are. We learn from others who have gone before us, but we apply it our way. Our thing is uniquely ours. It comes from our DNA, from within our soul and binds us together. Our purpose, vision and direction, as well as our genius and competitive advantage, is found in who we are.

what’s important now

There are many tasks we need to do at any given moment. Make coffee, write an email, welcome guests, plate a meal, make a call, pack an order, clear a table, and so on. What needs doing never ends! To make sure we are efficient in doing the most important things first, we are attentive to our guests needs and our business priorities.

To be good at hospitality and customer service we must understand and act on what’s important now. The term “fedex”, which is often used during service, is another way we express this value. We are essentially calling out “this is important now, do it first!”

This is not only applied to a cafe setting. We have a “guest first” approach across the entire company. We attend to our customers needs first, then focus on the back of house tasks.

This is an ongoing mindset and behaviour we adopt in every situation. We discern what’s essential now and we do those things before we do less important tasks. This also relates to our meetings. We commit our full attention to the people and the discussion by not being distracted with things that are not a current priority. We do not scroll through social media, conduct online research or check emails during a meeting. We only answer phone calls, text messages and emails if it’s urgent or time sensitive. Prioritising what’s important can be tricky. It’s a way of thinking and acting that is learned over time. When uncertain about making a decision, ask “what’s important now?”

stay positive

Positivity creates good energy. It helps us do everything better than negativity. Positivity is motivating and leads to strength, while negativity is disheartening and leads to weakness. We start with what is good and work our way to what is not good. We do not ignore negatives, instead, we choose positivity as our base and way of looking at what needs fixing. We are full of can-do, not can’t-do! We are happy and thankful at work because we believe in what we do and who we do it with. We are excited and positive about the present and the future.

think and act strategically

We make the most of our time, energy and resources by being strategic. We know who we are and what we’re about and act according to what we want to achieve:

  1. Offer an amazing product and experience for our guests and partners
  2. Provide a meaningful and inspiring workplace
  3. Grow and maintain a profitable business

Day to day, moment to moment we keep the big picture in mind and work with integrity, purpose and direction. In the big picture we know where we want to go and have a plan for how to get there. We state our direction and goals clearly. We map our path and translate our vision into simple daily actions. We set timeframes and milestones and we measure our results. We make decisions about our time and resources in line with our vision and place the right people in the right places for the right reasons.

communication is the key to everything

Clear communication is our oxygen. It’s the key to building a healthy culture and an outstanding business. Communication is how we stay connected to our customers, to each other and to our overall vision. It is the very lifeblood of our relationships. If we communicate poorly we become disconnected and fragmented making it impossible to achieve our goals.

We’re committed to building a unified vision through clear communication so we can fly in formation and achieve great things together. But it does not come easy. We have to work at it each day.

We listen first and speak second. We respect others opinions and seek to understand before seeking to be understood. We understand that when communication slows down, so does the work. We reply to emails swiftly and copy in everyone who needs to know. When appropriate we finish our emails and messages with suggestions and actions required to move ahead. We return calls and messages as soon as we’re able. We follow up unfinished conversations and move them toward an outcome. We share knowledge and insights generously to benefit the whole team.

what gets said gets done

From the very beginning of White Horse Coffee our word has been our badge of honour. Our word is our promise and represents our integrity. If we say we’re going to do something, we do it. If we can’t do it because we overcommitted or overstated our ability to do it, we ask for help. What we don’t do has an impact on others – our guests, partners and team members. If we can’t do it on time we tell those who need to know well before it is due, so they can prepare and pick up the slack.

To make sure we do the things we promise, we do the following:

  1. We write it down and share it with those involved
  2. We timeframe it
  3. We become accountable

Every time we do what we say it adds to our integrity and our word has value. Each time we don’t do what we say we lose integrity and eventually our word will mean nothing. We are reliable and can be trusted to do what we say.