Why training your staff can be the difference between a business boom and a business bust for your coffee shop

Picture this: a customer enters your café, browses the menu, and finds they have a question for your staff - but when asked, they don’t know the answer. Far from the great first impression you’d hoped for, your customers are left lacking confidence in their menu choice and your coffee shop – pushing them to find somewhere else for their morning cup of Joe. Because let’s face it - nobody wants to come to a coffee shop where the quality of produce and service is inconsistent. 

So how can you ensure your staff are making the right impression? 

Training your staff is imperative to the success of your business but it’s not always easy. We’ve complied some of the benefits of investing a bit more time in your team and how to best go about training them.

Neglecting training your coffee shop staff at the offset means suffering later on

It might seem obvious but so many businesses can fall at the first hurdle by not fully understanding the benefits of training their staff – expecting service of the highest quality while offering very little in the way of training. As a result, staff can become disillusioned, lacking in confidence and ultimately struggle to project the image you’d expect for your coffee shop.

So here are 6 benefits of investing your time in barista training:

  1. Better customer experience – Your customers are paying for an experience. If your staff are knowledgeable on your menu and know what products go hand in hand, they can make recommendations to customers and enhance their overall experience (plus increase your chances to upsell and make more profit).
  1. You don’t have to micro-manage – With well trained staff you won’t feel like you must constantly watch over them. This will not only reduce your stress levels and workload but will free up more time for you to invest in and develop other areas of your business.
  1. Improved productivity – Confident staff know what jobs need to be done and when. You’ll notice less standing around waiting for jobs to be delegated and see your team’s output significantly increase. This is a big tick when it comes to getting a better return on your investment with regards to wages.
  1. Increased efficiency – With increased productivity and confidence your staff will be able to complete jobs quicker, create systems to work resourcefully and take on more responsibility. If you can have 2 well trained staff on shift at once, rather than 4 who lack training, it’ll save you money. This will also make your coffee shop look better as your employees won’t be standing around looking lost, with frustrated customers frantically trying to get their attention.
  1. Better business reputation - If your customers know they are going to receive good service alongside a quality product, they are more than likely going to return, telling friends and family members about how they enjoyed their experience with you. For a lot of independent coffee shops, success relies on word-of-mouth reputation. Remember, consistently good > occasionally great.
  1. Provide value to customers – You’ll provide customers with quality service for the same price, thus increasing the perceived value. They’ll get higher quality coffees, meals, snacks, and service making them feel valued.

Top tips for training your staff

Now we’ve covered the benefits of training, here’s how you can ensure your staff training means employees can hit the ground running...

  1. Set employee standards – From the moment an employee joins your team, they need to be aware of the standard you expect. This will ensure they formulate work habits that meet your demands, rather than falling into poor habits that are hard to break later down the line.
  1. Allow new employees to shadow experienced colleagues – Watching someone more experienced in a role is a great way to train staff as they can emulate the successful habits that make them good at their job. It is also a quick way to train someone up.
  1. Provide regular feedback (Both positive and negative) – Letting your team know when they are doing things well will significantly boost their confidence and morale; while constructive feedback will make employees aware of how to develop their skillset to improve.
  1. Have new-starts do their first few shifts during quiet periods – Being chucked in at the deep end can be good for some, but it’s often better to ease your employees in gently, giving small amounts of responsibility during quiet periods so they can learn in a low stress environment. Quiet times are also easier for observing new starts, enabling you to work out their strengths and weaknesses and formulate a training plan to get them up to business standards.
  2. Provide them with product training and guest communication training – Staff that can build up a rapport with customers are extremely valuable, and this can be taught. By providing them with product training they can converse with customers about what they like about coffees (e.g., the beans used, brew type, how they affect the taste), as well as providing recommendations for upselling. You can even give staff a few conversation starters to get chatting with customers so they can leave your shop on a high note.

Training can feel like a time-suck at first, but doing it properly will pay dividends in the end. And if you want to ensure you’re bringing on staff with the most potential – check out our blog on the top interview questions you should be asking your baristas

Once you’ve got the best staff, you’ll want to equip them with professional tools to ace their job. Sign up for a Trade Account with us, and you’ll gain access to everything you need to run a successful coffee shop.