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Inside Look: 3 Ways To Become a Better Barista

"He understood the nuance of providing both a quality product and the service that needs to go with it"

Inside Look: 3 Ways To Become a Better Barista

Although I used to be the owner of a coffee shop, ironically, I initially wasn’t much of a barista. However, my business partner was one of the best espresso shot pullers I’ve ever encountered. He understood the nuance of providing both a quality product and the service that needs to go with it. Through him, I learned not only the craft of latte art, but also some very fundamental skills to keep things moving when customers start lining up — which is important during that 6 a.m. rush.

Here are some lessons that I learned from a genuine expert in order to make yourself a better barista. 

Clean As You Go

The counter separating you from your customers isn’t a one-way mirror. They can see exactly how you’re making their double mocha iced Frappuccino and the area it’s being prepared in. So as you’re constructing their beverage, make sure to clean up as you go rather than let a mess start to build up. It keeps you (and your fellow employees) from getting slowed down. It also makes a very positive impression on the customer. The same goes for the rest of the café: No matter how big or small of a space you have, it’s just as important keeping the easily forgotten corners as clean your counter. 

Uncle Leo, Hello!

My café was mainly staffed by my business partner and I, who in addition to running everything behind the scenes, also had to be the face of the company. Needless to say, the stress of running our first business sometimes wasn’t easy to hide and made us less than the most amiable individuals when our customers would arrive in the morning for their caffeine. When we first opened up we’d excitedly greet patrons with, “Good morning, welcome to The Coffee Shoppe! Beautiful morning isn’t it?” Eventually, the long hours without rest transformed that into a curt, “What do you want?” No bueno.

You’re in the business of people more than anything else, so make sure when a customer walks in they know they’re important in your eyes. Greet them, smile and do all the things that makes you feel welcomed somewhere. It’s good for business and it’s good for karma.

Give Them What They Want

Sounds obvious, right? Well, it is and although this can be out of your control if you’re working for someone else, the number one complaint I received from customers as a coffee shop owner was being out of a product they loved. People (as we all are) are very particular about their indulgences. When you don’t have Sweet & Low, Splenda, almond milk — whatever your customer’s desire on a regular basis — you really, really disappoint them. And if there’s a competitor down the block, you can be sure they’ll eagerly pick up the slack and provide what you don’t. 

So if you’re the boss, plan that inventory! If you’re an employee, ask your boss how you can help to make sure you keep things properly stocked. It’ll save their business and your job. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a raise.

Remember. Yelp is a thing.

Browse barista jobs available on Monster. 

Monster Wants to Know: What are some lessons you've learned from working as a barista that will help other employees? Share with us in the comment section.

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