The theory is that giving quality business advice away for free will encourage beverage operators to return to the consultants when they need serious help.
The Coffee Boys, John Richardson and Hugh Gilmartin, have set up a free website which follows the concept of their successful book Wake Up and Smell the Profit. tTis was a different kind of how-to book about the beverage trade, passing on real lessons from real mistakes made by real operators - in many cases, Richardson himself!
"I appreciate that it is very difficult for operators to train cost-effectively - it can be very expensive for them, and I understand suspicion about the level of money we need to do it properly.
"So we are creating is an online service which will give away information of the quality which appeared in our last book. If we share really good information, then beverage operators will say: 'this is good stuff, I trust these people, and I may buy something from them in the future'.
"This is a very different approach from classic catering consultancy!"
The free material will consists of a series of twelve written essays, each with an accompanying 'talking head' video. The main content will probably be refreshed every three months.
For those who accept the free consultancy, there is then an option to subscribe to a paid-for advice and mentoring service, with three very distinct levels At the most economical level (which may cost £60, although Richardson is considering offering it for just one pound) there will be the opportunity for those who sign up to share information, ask questions online, and have the Coffee Boys answer questions in a way which will be open to all paying subscribers. Higher levels offer independent private help.
Among the assistance on offer is help with the perennial problem of training everyday catering staff.
"It has to be understood that trainers have to 'learn to teach'," says Richardson. "You have to realize that you are often trying to keep the attention of minimum-wage staff who were very glad to leave schoolâ¦ formal training won't succeed, because learning is 'not what they do'!
"So we have learned a great deal about the value of video and role-play in getting information across."
By Ian Boughton