WARNING! The following post contains frequent praise of La Marzocco equipment.I love it – get used to it.We recently installed a La Marzocco FB 80 at Headquarters café in Melbourne. It replaced our 5 year old FB 70.In the 2 years that I’ve managed this café, I’ve been fortunate to have relatively low staff turnover, and the Baristas I’ve had have enjoyed working on a good machine. Even without my praise for the FB 70, the Baristas knew they were working on a piece of quality kit. I also emphasised the experience by helping the Baristas understand the differences between different machines, and further understand what they were doing with any machine. I trained my Baristas to respect the machine, emphasising preventative maintenance and the “Sins” to avoid.I’m convinced that the Baristas felt special, at some level, behind the FB 70, and I’m sure the customers also knew, at some level, that we had a quality machine.Now we have an FB 80. The FB 70 was good, but the FB 80 is sensational.Before the FB 80 was installed, I prepared my Baristas for the privilege they were about to experience. And I really mean privilege. There aren’t too many cafés that invest so heavily in this level of equipment.Anyway, my Baristas obviously enjoyed working on the new machine (who wouldn’t enjoy working on a sparkling new machine?). However, they really understood what I had been ranting about. The steam taps are great, the steam power is awesome, the pour quality is superb and the functionality is fantastic (eg. the automatic backflushing function). All of this has further sparked their enthusiasm for their craft.And the customers have picked up on this. The customers have noticed the new machine, and commented to the staff. This in turn gets my staff raving about the machine. I’ve now put a sign up explaining some of the features of the FB 80. I’m sure most of our customers just want their caffeine hit, and could care less about a PID control or saturated brewing groups. However, by providing the information, our customers are seeing just how seriously we take coffee. It’s a further point of difference in a competitive environment.And the competition is not just for sales. I’m just as keen to keep my valuable staff.So what’s my point? I really believe that quality equipment is essential for a successful business. And it’s not just La Marzocco. I’m sure if you ask Mark Dundon at St Ali Cafe, or Andrew Lew at The Maling Room Cafe, they’ll tell you the same thing about their Synesso’s.Quality equipment is reliable, easy to maintain, and good to work on. If the staff enjoy using the equipment, and they feel important because they get thorough training, it’s easier to get them making good coffee and also retain their service. If the staff make good coffee because they enjoy the process, and the equipment is capable of producing excellent espresso, then the customers are going to get a quality product. If the customers are getting a quality product, they see that the staff are passionate about what they do, and they see that the cafe cares about the equipment they invest in, then it’s easy to create customer loyalty.That’s been my experience.