Being a Barista
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Barista - The Job Description
Think about the last barista you ordered from. Perhaps it was someone from a local coffee shop or the usual girl at Starbucks or The Coffee Bean. They probably know your name if you're a regular, and on occasion may even begin preparing your drink before its even ordered. How does that make you feel? Special; like someone is actually paying attention.
This is the ultimate job of the barista, and one of the biggest reasons I enjoy my job so much. We aren't all about the lattes and slang or any of the snooty presumptions that are often flung upon us. Yes, I will make your Non-Fat Double Cappuccino with a single Splenda and cinnamon steamed into the milk all in a timely fashion, but I will also listen to you when you need to vent and offer a smile every morning so you can start your day off right.
Be Our Guest
When you walk into the door of any café, you already have a preconceived conception of basic things you expect. The big media picture is usually of a comfy yet reserved space in which students and businessmen and woman sit sipping their drinks and typing into an all consuming laptop screen. Just as there are preconceptions about the space, there will be preconceptions about the employees.
As a barista, these preconceptions have shaped the underlying job description into one of extreme customer service at its very peak. For many people, I am the first person they see in the morning. This means that the way I treat and interact with them will shape their day. While that may seem like a lot of pressure, it really just means that the barista has an opportunity to impact the community as a whole with just a few simple gestures.
Keeping a genuine smile on your face is a must. The heart of a barista is one which should always be looking the spread a bit of happiness. You will be so busy focusing on making your drinks that you can't think about troubles at home or elsewhere.
Keep it UpBeat. You've finished the three drink order that was slightly complicated and turn to hand it off to the customer. Look them in the eye as you hand it off; this shows that you are acknowledging them, a very basic desire of the human race. They may not give you the time of day back, but a warm 'Have a good morning' can almost always bring at least a small smile to everyone's face. Smiles are contagious, as they say.
Be Helpful. You must keep in mind as a barista, your job is directly dependent upon tour customer base and satisfaction. If they aren't happy, they won't come back. That means you will be constantly looking to 'Wow!' your customers. Being helpful doesn't come down to doing favors, but rather taking the tiny opportunities to boost someone's morale or help to guck start their may. A prime example is doing the small requests of the customer, and perhaps even then some. Say you have a small latte on the screen, and the customer is standing on the other side of your counter, looking a little stressed or tired. A standard espresso machine pulls two shots at a time, and a small latte generally is made with one. Offer the extra shot, it's no longer fresh after 30 seconds anyway. Not only will this impress your customer, but it is literally a gift to them, one which could be just what they needed to get their motors going.
It all comes down to treating your customers as guests. The more hospitable you are, the better the connection you will have, and people will return just to see you. Coffee is available everywhere. You can get it at the gas station, at McDonalds, and even in the break room often times. The difference? Quality, yes, but even bigger is the difference in how they are treated.
I genuinely love my job. I look forward to coming in every day and listening to how my fellow coffee lovers are doing. I often get daily updates on things such as job searches and how the kids and spouse are. Sometimes I get the opportunity to send someone off with a much better outlook on the day, and that brings me a very basic satisfaction. I get to impact lives in a small way, with little simple pleasures. If you are considering becoming a barista or are looking for a position in which you fill feel more accomplished, I suggest working in the coffee industry highly.