Samui Wining & Dining
A Day in the Life of ...
Khun Wasan Sonwattana, Branch Manager of Black Canyon Coffee in Nathon.


A Day in the Life ofCoffee houses. They’re everywhere, not just on Samui but all over the world. There are big franchises, smaller chains, independent stores, small specialist cafés, coffee shops that are also bookshops ... wherever you are in the world, you’re likely to find a coffee house that suits your tastes.


It’s because they have more of a community feel than places like restaurants or shops that makes them so popular. A coffee house is somewhere you have your favourite table, where you get to know the other customers and somewhere that can quickly become part of your weekly routine. The best ones are welcoming places where you feel at home. And this is often because of the staff.


It’s rare to go into a coffee house and be scowled at for lingering more than half an hour over your latté. On the contrary, most people who work in cafés seem to be cheerful outgoing types, who like the work because of the different people they meet. You could be dashing in for a quick espresso to take away on your commute to work, lounging all Sunday afternoon reading the papers, or meeting your friends for a weekly catch up, and in all the best coffee shops it’s the staff that will make you feel welcome whether you’re there for two minutes or two hours.


And one of these friendly coffee shop persons is Khun Wasan Sonwattana, better known as Khun Jan, who’s the Branch Manager of the Black Canyon Coffee restaurant in Nathon. Black Canyon is a coffee house chain with over 190 branches all over Thailand and neighbouring countries, with several on Samui. The Nathon branch is part of Tesco Lotus, on your left past the police station just as you’re coming into town from Chaweng.


Khun Jan has come to Samui from Ratchaburi – and here’s what she has to say about a typical day for her at Black Canyon.


LC: How long have you worked at Black Canyon?

WS: I’ve been here just over three years. When I first started I was just working on the counter and waitressing, then I was promoted to assistant manager. I became manager soon after that.


LC: What does your work day involve?

WS: It’s basically taking care of everything inside the restaurant! I’ll do a stock-take every day to see what we need to order for the next day or week, and I also take care of any paperwork that needs doing. I know all the food and drinks in the company but I have to make sure I stay on top of that so I can answer any questions about them a customer might have. The most important thing to me and to Black Canyon is customer satisfaction, so anything I’m doing in my day-to-day work will have that as a focus in the background. We’re always thinking about how we can make things better.


LC: What does being a manager involve?

WS: The first thing I do when I come in every morning is to have a team meeting. We’ll do the obvious things, like talk about what’s running low and needs to be re-ordered, then we talk about the previous day. We’re always thinking of how we can improve for that day or the next.

I’ll also take the opportunity to go over any training issues that might have come up, like what to do if something is spilled. Sometimes this will be because something like that will have happened the day before and sometimes it’s something I want to review. The staff can ask for something to be reviewed too. Then I check that the team is OK; if they want to ask me something or make something clearer. Finally, I remind everyone of our main goal at Black Canyon, that the customer is number one.


LC: What do you like best about your job?

WS: A lot of things. I like being able to use the accountancy skills I learned at school. And I like working with my team, being able to guide them and help them if something comes up they’re not sure about. But probably the best thing is interacting with the customers. We have a lot of people coming in and I like being able to talk to them and get to know them a bit. I like it when regular customers come in too; people you can get to know and ask them how their week’s going. I’m a very talkative person so like getting to meet people!


LC: Is there anything you don’t like?

WS: Not really. Even if I’m having a long day or I feel tired, I feel that if you make the choice to do something then you must do it well. The job is very varied as well, so a customer will come in and we’ll have a laugh together, or one of the staff will ask something and I’ll be able to help. We have a very good team here and every day is good!


Next time you’re in Nathon, drop in and say hi to Khun Jan. As well as excellent coffee, you can get Western food like salads, sandwiches, steaks and pasta, Thai food like tom yum and som tam and fusion between the two, such as green curry with spaghetti. And with Khun Jan behind the counter, you’ll also get a big smile and a warm welcome.


Lisa Cunningham


Copyright 2017 Samui Wining & Dining. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.