Shoplife - How to train new Baristas?
Updated: Jan 25
2021 is probably one of the most difficult years for international gastronomy.
During the pandemic, many baristas lost their jobs, were only able to work part-time and were forcibly reoriented. The result: we lack qualified baristas everywhere.
Cafes that have survived the lockdown and all other adversities are now facing the next problem and many shops have already had to change opening times or close them temporarily, simply because they lack staff.
But how can I properly train my new employees to turn them into motivated and capable baristas as quickly as possible?
In this article we focus on a few key points that are a solid foundation for any barista training.
These are among others:
- Set expectations
-Coffee knowledge and training
-Give opportunities for further training and advancement
Before we go into all these points, we should make it clear that the more uniformly the staff is trained, the more homogeneous the team will be in the end because everyone has the same career behind them. Experienced baristas can then help the new employees and there is no confusion.
A training manual should be recorded once and, ideally, an employee should also be employed as the “head of education”. This employee is then responsible for adhering to the training plan.
A training manual does not have to be a literal book, a modern and good alternative are apps in which all important information can be collected and easily shared with new employees. (e.g. Trello)
Once such an app is set up, the added value is huge.
Formulating clear expectations forms the basic framework when hiring new staff.
Everyone enjoys working in a structured company with clear goals and expectations of the person. Barista should be made aware that customer service, work in the kitchen and at the checkout and, if necessary, cleaning and goods organization are also part of the field of work. Here, too, it helps to present a time schedule of how certain goals should be achieved in which period.
Week 1-2 Product knowledge and workflows
Week 3-4 Coffee knowledge and training, customer service
Week 5-6 Technical training and practice
Week 7 First feedback discussion and planning of new tasks
Ideally, a trial working day is recommended, but it should not exceed 4 hours to see whether the applicant feels comfortable in the company and can complement the team well.
Good customer service is the most important calling card of a business and therefore in the first few weeks there should be a strong focus on how to properly interact with customers. Learn names, get to know regular customers and the; the employees; conveying a familiar feeling helps the company to build a personal bond and to be more than “just” a job.
There is a lot to learn for new staff, especially in the first few weeks, including numerous work processes that are different in every store. In order not to forget what you have learned immediately or to be able to read it if necessary, a process list is recommended.
7:00 Start of work, switch on the mills, switch on the coffee machine, let the water flow through
7:10 Take test shots and pinch the coffee
7:20 Set up chairs and tables and wipe them clean
7:28 Counting the cash register
7:30 Open the blinds and unlock the drawer
Here, too, we would rather recommend apps to record these processes, as paper tends to get lost or simply rarely remains in the same place. Many cafes now also work with tablets in which workflow tables can also be saved and can even be equipped with alarm signals.
Coffee knowledge and training
The more one employee in white, the more motivated he is she. We don't all want to work just to make money, it is best if we develop and improve in our work.
Every employee should be entitled to basic training. Whether service or barista.
But what does basic coffee knowledge include?
- growing areas
-Fermentation and processing
-basic machine knowledge (dual boiler vs. multi boiler)
Training on these simple basics of coffee does not take longer than an hour on average and shows the new staff why coffee tastes the way it tastes and why coffee can always taste different and will raise questions in the long term that serve as motivation to learn even more .
Before the technical training on the machine can begin, the theoretical basics should be in place and understood.
In order to be able to teach an effective workflow, every foreman should be clear that he; she is acting as a role model. The cleaner you work yourself, the cleaner it will be; the new barista will be in the end.
The best times to train new staff are definitely the quiet times when the rush of customers is not too big.
Mistakes will definitely happen, but it is important to be by your side in a motivating way and to help, to give tips and to always be helpful in the bar. Under no circumstances should a new barista be left alone in the bar for a long time, this suggests indifference and puts enormous pressure on the new employee.
Practice, practice, practice
Making coffee is like learning to drive a car. It is not impossible, but it takes some time to master all the movements correctly. That is why daily training on the machine for a few hours is very important. However, I would recommend not working on the machine for more than 3 hours at a time.
Here, too, motivation is super important in order to support the employees and to accompany them on their way.
Provide opportunities for further training and advancement
Many baristas in the industry have come to a point after a few years behind the bar where they are very good but see no future in the job.
Training opportunities and career opportunities in the company are therefore very important.
As soon as an employee is qualified he can help the company as a bar manager, head of education or research and development. Social media is also becoming increasingly important and very few self-employed people have time for daily posts or stories. Employees can therefore stay in other areas in the company and have a realistic future.
Investing properly in staff is essential in order to retain good employees and to continue to grow together as a team.
Even with the best training plan, the personal conversation between employer; in and employee; in is still the best tool to find out how team, processes and the company itself can be improved.
A monthly conversation helps to keep in touch and to stay up to date.