Perspectives on “Why ‘Good Jobs’ Are Good for Retailers” for Specialty Coffee Bars

Behind the craziness of a coffee shop is always someone sitting behind a pile of bills wondering how to drive up the profits of the shop, while still keeping coffee prices at a competing level. Lets face it, business costs are increasing, customers are feeling financially pinched, and barista turnover remains a constant challenge. So what do you do? Zeynep Ton wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review called, ““Why ‘Good Jobs’ Are Good for Retailers” and her recommendation is simply to invest more in employee training.

You’re saying, “no way.” “If I invest more in employees and training, then customers will have to pay more, and coffee is expensive already.” Statistically, it is true. In order for a business to be successful, they need to have “a combination of investment in the workforce and operational practices that benefit employees, customers, and the company.” That is the overall goal, right? We all want to have a good workplace for our employees and a place for customers to feel satisfied, but why does that seem so hard to do?

Labor is the largest controllable expense for a business and many retailers see it as a cost driver rather than a sales driver. When we see sales decrease, then we need to decrease our staff, which makes sense for an immediate effect. Wrong. It actually hurts the overall goal of a successful business because that is what creates the vicious cycle of poor morale, operations, and sales.

The overall goal should be to focus on labor. Investing in employees by spending time/money on a full training will create excellent and efficient operations, which will boost sales and profits and allows for a larger budget to invest more in the employees. Also, Ton recommended cross training the employees so they are able to become more productive and knowledgeable about the product for the customers, and eventually they will be able to train the other employees.

To be able to do that in our industry, that would look like a few weeks of training on the bar to learn about coffee, the machines, ways to brew, and the goal of the business. Having a few weeks of training will help the employee to strive towards better customer service and serving a higher quality cup of coffee. Customers will notice the craft and will have a higher appreciation towards the shop and bring in more sales.

At Deeper Roots Coffee, we realize that it takes a lot of time to train employees on the bar. Sometimes, it is hard to do trainings when there are customers lined up and the other daily tasks are adding up. We want to help in this process by offering trainings at our roaster in Mount Healthy. Your employees will have the opportunity to learn about coffee origins, flavors and tastes, brewing methods, and much more. These sessions are offered every Wednesday night during the summer as a group, or we are happy to schedule a different time. If you would like more information on our trainings or would like to sign up, email us at info@deeperrootscoffee.com.

The full article is available for purchase at the Harvard Business Review website at www.hbr.orgImage

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