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Last Update: Tuesday June 15, 2021

Key Idea: Give Employees The Newest Tools

Jose Souto explains that new tools and cutting-edge technology improves morale and productivity. 

Key Question:


The Souto brothers have a two-part strategy to keep employees happy and productive.  First, they treat each person with great respect.  Second, they give them the training and tools they need to succeed in their work.

Given a strong job market, people work where they are treated with respect. When you create that type of work place, the word gets out that your company is a good place to work.

Employee loyalty is important.  Trade secrets are protected by loyal people and you are guaranteed continuity and institutional memory. And, when good employees come and stay, you don't have the cost of turnover, which hurts financially, in terms of public relations, the cost of hiring and the cost of training. If your sales people are constantly leaving, the customers begin to raise questions about the corporate culture. Also, institutional memory is powerful. An employee who has been with you for years knows about so many interactions they are able to predict how to handle the future, they can save time and heartache by doing the right thing intuitively.
One of the employees at Cafe Pilon said, "They treat us like family." This is a meaningful compliment. It suggests that employees can go to the Soutos with more than work-related problems. This means if Jean-Paul's child is in the school play, of course Jean-Paul should take off work and go see the play. We hear this over and over inside small companies. Employees feel they are all one family and this is important to retention. Also, Alberto defines the work then allows the person to do the job without intruding. This is giving the non-verbal stamp of approval and the implication is, "I know you can do this job."

Think about it

What more can you do to show respect for employees?  Who on your payroll needs new training?  Who needs new tools?

Clip from: Cafe Pilon, Rowland Coffee & the Souto family

Meet the three Souto brothers; lovers of freedom.

Miami: In this episode, we open with pictures from 1961 just before Castro forced his ways into the homes and business of this family. And though he took over everything, he could not take over their spirit. This family left behind all their worldly possessions but came to the USA with their greatest possessions -- their integrity, their love of family and friends, their creativity, their love of Cuban espresso coffee, and the knowledge needed to rebuild their family business from scratch.

Meet the Souto family, owners of Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami.  They started with a coffee delivery business, bought Rowland, then Cafe Pilon, then Cafe Bustelo,  Medaglia D'Oro Espresso, Java Cabana and more.

Go to all the key ideas and video of this episode...

In memory of José Angel ''Pepe'' Souto, the Patriarch of the family who died at the age of 91 on November 18, 2007.

Cafe Bustelo Inc.

Rowland Coffee Roasters, Inc.,

5605 NW 82nd Ave
Miami, FL 33166-4000

Visit our web site:

Toll Free: 800-990-9039

Business Classification:
Beverages: Coffee

Year Founded: 1962

Give Employees The Newest Tools

JOSE ALBERTO: Then we have also the Actron, which is one that measures the roasting color.

HATTIE: When you started working for your father, what was the processing like then?

JOSE ALBERTO: Well, we're going back 25, 26 years ago. So, of course, the roasting machinery that we had was not as sophisticated as the one that we have nowadays. So actually the quality was not as easy to maintain. Now with the growth, and the new machinery that we have, of course, qualitywise, it makes it a little easier for us.

HATTIE: So how many finished pounds a day come off of this process?

JOSE ALBERTO: We are not running at full capacity, we're only working about a shift.

HATTIE: Wait a minute, you're not running at full capacity? You need your brothers to get out there and sell some more.

JOSE ALBERTO: Yes, that's what I tell them. Sure. But they always say that I spend all the money in machinery. That's what they say.

HATTIE: And so it is a push-pull thing, isn't it?

JOSE ALBERTO: Yes, it is. It's kind of a battle we have. They sell and I produce. I'm always trying to keep ahead of them so--of course, right now we're doing about one shift a day, about eight to 10 hours a day. And all we have to do is open up more hours and we can produce more. (Voiceover) Fifteen years ago, we were the first espresso roasting coffee company in the United States to have a brick pack, which is called a vacuumized coffee bag.

(Voiceover) We invested in equipment to have the best and freshest coffee available to the public. You see here that we have two roasters. And there's Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul has been with us for the last 21 years.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Jean-Paul is the man in charge of these million-dollar roasters. It's so nice to meet you.

JEAN-PAUL: Thank you.

HATTIE: Can you tell us how you do what you do?


HATTIE: OK. Let's have a look. You're going to do 800 pounds in each roaster at a time.

JEAN-PAUL: At a time. When they start in the morning, it's hot, very hot. But after 20, 25 minutes it's running, cools.

JOSE ALBERTO: Well, Jean-Paul, when we purchase--we acquire business about 21 years ago--he was a roaster of that business. And he had maybe about five or six years of experience when we took over and he's been with us ever since. He's a great employee and he's very loyal.

HATTIE: And how long does it take to process it?

JEAN-PAUL: The process takes maybe--sometimes 10 hours.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Every small business strives for this.

JOSE ALBERTO: What we try to do is we try to run this business in a way that everybody knows their responsibility. And even though we have a plant manager and we have supervisors, everybody knows what they have to do, and that's the way we like to run our business.

HATTIE: So they feel important because they know what they're supposed to do, and they're left alone to do it.

JOSE ALBERTO: Exactly. We want to make sure that they are proud of what they do, and they know it's very important for the company whatever type of job they do.

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