Monday, June 8, 2009

a reason people quit

Well I am a certified learning coach... I have been for three years and I have lost count of how many partners I have trained since last year my store was the trainee mecca. Every new partner in the district came to my store to be trained by me.

Since the economy has put us in "a time of uncertainty" as Howard Shultz likes to say there have been no new hires really since well last summer. But today I oiled those rusty training gears and got back into coach mode to train a girl who goes to my school, majors in one of my minors and is the same age as me... only a few months older.

I am the youngest person in my store, as a side note. And yet I feel like I am the mother bear when it comes to certain things because well i'm the shift and ill be damned if i let anyone talk disrespectfully to my coworkers.

Today was N's first say on the bar. Lets call her N, for newbie (lame abbreviations, I know ill work on being clever). So after she finished the book work we started touring the bar. I showed her where we pour the beans, how to adjust the grind, how to taste the shots, how to calibrate the thermometers, how to empty the drawer with used espresso pucks, etc etc.

Just as the grand tour of where everything is... I was about to show her how to steam milk when a customer walked in and ordered a latte. perfect. so the milk wouldn't be wasted at least.

And this is what went down.

I = impatient bitch
N = newbie barista girl
V = val, in learning coach mode


So she has already placed her order at the register. mind you she did not wait in a line. so by starbucks standards i have 3 minutes to give her a drink. this drink will take one minute to make.

5 seconds to grab cup and mark
20 seconds to pull shot
20-30 seconds to steam milk
5 seconds to put on a lid and hand it off

now most of the time when the shot is pouring (we call it pulling), and steaming is done at the same time. so I can make this drink in 30-45 seconds actually. But it will take an extra 15, and you will see why.

V = ok N what is our first step?

N = I take the cup and mark it.

V = right and what is the marking

N = (5 second pause) L right?

V = yes but put that iced cup back and get a hot cup, if they dont say iced its automatically our default for hot. although in hot weather sometimes they forget. and sometimes we forget. *smiles*

(my style is to coach as someone who has been there, which all coaching styles should be, some coaches act like know it alls, like the girl who was supposed to coach me but didnt because she said i should know everything already since it was all covered in the book, those coaches should not be coaches since being behind the bar is a totally different experience than looking at a book with the answers in it)

N = ok and now I pull the shot

V = well first lets start steaming the milk.


V = ok we pour the milk up to here because that is 16oz for the grande cup. And this is how we steam, pull the lever down and this is how we aerate the mik (makes foam) ok now you hold the pitcher and aerate it a bit.

N = (goes around me to do that)

V = and now when we notice the thermometer is around 100 degrees i would press the button to pull the shot. and we press the double shot button because grandes get two.

N = Ok.. and...

I = (interrupting) how long is this going to take?

V = no longer than it usually does. Im just training her.

I = great so I am the guinnea pig

V = I assure you this will be one of the best lattes you have ever had ma'am N your barista here is doing an excellent job making some nice velvety foam to top your latte off with.

I = yes but she is taking a long time to steam the milk.

V = uh maam it takes the same amount of time to steam milk, it does not matter on the person.

I = whatever.

V = (turning to V) ok well now you are going to hold the foam back with this spoon and pour. and then put just a scoopful of foam on top.

N = (does that)

V = ok now call it out as a grande latte, thank the customer and say have a nice day.

N = (does that)

I = (rolls her eyes and takes her drink)

As she leaves the store explain to N

V = keep your expectations low with customers. assume they will never say have a nice day back to you, or smile, or anything actually. even if you try talking to them to strike up conversation. This way when you assume the worst, its actually uplifting to you when you have a genuine person come in here ask about our days as well after we ask about theirs. we do have customers like that.


I hope that lady noticed the sarcasm in my voice when I told N to thank her and tell her to have a nice day. because yes we are supposed to do that but if you are being bitchy you dont deserve that. Its not like I was gossiping with the new girl telling her about all the store drama. I was showing her how to make a latte as WE made the latte together.

And the audacity of that woman to say she is a guinnea pig? and make N feel inferior by suggesting she takes longer to steam milk or she is holding me back from making a better latte.

This is why some people quit after they have completed the book work, because they see how shitty customers can be. How they can make us feel inferior.

And I dont blame them, I would quit too, but the paycheck is nice as a shift supervisor, with the perks of free coffee.

xoxo val

1 comment:

  1. That's a dang shame, there, Val. C'mon, steamin' milk -- that's straight-up physics! Ya can't heat up a liquid any faster unless ya had some sorta special heater that only more experienced folks have access to.

    Yer trainee N sounds nice, I'm sure she'll do fine, especially with a great coach!