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Coffee Shop Worker Training & Retention Strategies

Coffee Shop Worker Training & Retention Strategies

How do you keep your best barista or your favorite coffee shop worker on staff? Take care of them! This may seem like a simple solution, but it might be easier shared on a blog than put into actual practice. Today, eateries of all kinds, from cozy cafes to charming local coffee spots, are facing the challenge of meeting customer demand due to staffing shortages

Responsibilities for a Coffee Shop Worker

Working in a coffee shop entails a diverse range of tasks, from customer service to food preparation and administrative duties. Here's a list of common tasks for a coffee shop worker:
  • Barista Duties
  • Food Preparation
  • Cash Handling and Transactions
  • Customer Service
  • Cleaning and Maintenance
  • Inventory Management
  • Opening and Closing Procedures

Depending on the size of your independent coffee shop, chances are high that you operate on a pretty tight budget, with thin profit margins, and therefore, not a lot of excess change clinking around in your pocket to spend on essential factors that could take your shop to the next level—things like hiring, developing, and keeping your team.

So how can you hire a great staff of brilliant baristas and keep them around long term? Here are a few strategies for training and retaining your team—even in a competitive market.

Training Your Next Top Barista

Training & Retention Strategies-Training Your Next Top Barista

Not every coffee shop worker will have a resume full of roasting experience or a gold medal from the Latte Art Olympics. So how do you train your team so they’re ready for anything—and so they feel supported?

Here’s a secret: Training is as good for you as it is for your team. Not only are you building up your baristas’ skills, but you’re also enhancing your operations within your shop so everything you do is more efficient. When you train your team, you’re investing in the people who power your shop and providing them with all kinds of skills they can use with you and in the future, plus it will be more profitable for your business in the long run. And while it can be hard to find time to get everyone together to train—it’s worth it.

So what are some training strategies you should consider? Here are a few ideas:

  • Let your employees take the lead. Ask what they think their strengths are, where they want to improve, and what else they want to know and learn. When you create training opportunities based on employee input, it not only shows that you’re listening, but you’re also providing chances for them to work toward their goals in the coffee industry.

  • Outsource your training to other pros in the industry. You can always bring in outside sources (like our crew here at Dilworth!) to share fresh perspectives—including ideas, concepts, and strategies that might be new to you, too. When you outsource your training this way, you all get to discover new ways to boost productivity, expand your business, delight your customers, and hone your skills together.

  • Look outside your coffee shop and your normal work routine to enhance your training. Especially if your shop schedule looks largely the same from week to week, your team members may find themselves performing the same tasks day in and day out. But if you switch things up, you can find ways to deepen each employee’s skill set, demonstrate trust in them, and provide new ways to engage with your shop. This might be by representing your brand at various events in the community or by attending industry events.

Training as Job Retention

Training & Retention Strategies: Responsbilities for a Coffee Shop Worker

Here’s the deal about offering all kinds of training opportunities for your team. It proves that you’re willing to invest in every coffee shop worker on your roster. It certainly also helps to fine-tune your shop’s operations. But what training also does is encourage your baristas to stay engaged with your shop. And it can really boost job satisfaction, too.

When you provide your team with learning opportunities within the coffee industry, it shows that you care not only about the work your coffee shop crew does, but about who your employees are and what their future looks like—and it encourages the idea of career progression within your shop. As a result, it means they’re far more likely to be part of your team for much longer.


Retention Strategies for Your Coffee Shop Crew

It’s no secret that many coffee shops have high turnover rates. And let’s be honest, for this reason, it can feel risky to truly invest in your staff, as this can cut into your already-thin profits. You don’t want to gamble this investment away on a barista who might not stay on your roster for very long.

But on the flip side, it’s investing in the goals and ambitions of your team members that can make your team members feel appreciated—and make them want to stay around.

So how can you assure that your team feels valued and respected—and that they can tell you’re investing in them?

  • Ensure there are opportunities for salary growth: Your baristas want to feel that they can have a future with your coffee shop—and that means having real potential to increase their earnings.

  • Assure your baristas have scheduling flexibility: Your coffee shop is up and running with the sun, which can translate into weekends, early mornings, and depending on your hours, some late nights, too. And your team members have lives, passions, and interests outside of working in your shop. Providing schedule flexibility is a great way to boost employee retention and show that you value them not just as part of your team, but as whole people, too.

  • Opportunities for career progression: Make it easy for your team to see that they can advance within your company to more senior positions—like head barista or even a management position—and that you hire from within. If there is a real, tangible—and appealing—opportunity, your baristas will feel encouraged to stay with your company longer.

Another consideration is showing a vested interest in your team. Meet with them and learn about their long-term career plans. You may find that in these discussions, you can discover ways to grow together while also establishing lasting and meaningful relationships with your staff.

Eager to discover more employee retention strategies? Here are a few ideas to jump-start your thinking and keep your coffee shop crew on staff:

  • Foster a positive work culture and hire positive-minded people to help support a respectful and welcoming environment.
  • Demonstrate your value in a healthy work-life balance and nurture the human side of your working relationships with your team.
  • Cultivate a sense of ownership among your team members by asking for their ideas, opinions, and input on your operations.
  • Treat all your employees with respect no matter their position or length of tenure within your coffee shop.
  • Keep open channels of communication so your baristas know their voices will be heard, and establish clear channels of communication so it’s easy for them to come to you.
  • Recognize and celebrate your team members for their contributions within your coffee shop, but also for the successes and achievements they enjoy outside of work.
  • Offer exciting or unique benefits like gym memberships or transit stipends, and other perks that feel meaningful to them so they feel appreciated as part of your team.
  • Provide routine pay increases and pay your employees what they are worth.

Training and Coaching with Dilworth to Keep Your Shop Competitive

At Dilworth, we’re all about supporting the shops we serve. That’s why we serve up all kinds of insights, plus tasty roasted blends and great deals on the ingredients and materials you need to keep your shop running as smoothly as our coffees.

But supporting your shop isn’t just about coffee beans, cups, and caramel syrups. We want to ensure your shop is truly thriving; and that you can stay competitive, even in a competitive market. Our services include a whole host of training opportunities to strengthen your team and keep your coffee shop team ticking, whether you run an independent coffee shop or you fit somewhere else in our coffee-colored world, including:

  • Foodservice
  • Hospitality
  • Distributors
  • Office coffee
  • Educational institutions
  • And more
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