Something that I can't help noticing is that small, neighborhood coffeeshops seem to find it easy to have a friendly atmosphere. Smiles and service are part of the background, part of the community.
Big name coffeeshops, on the other hand, are more commercial, mechanical, and distant. Workers have to be told to be friendly. And then - they are. It isn't the fault of the workers. It's seems more of a corporate formula?
All that said, the coffees here are good, and the people try.