Training is Key

sevenmiles---Training-is-Key

As a manager or owner of a business, one of the most important things to ensure your cafe runs smoothly and efficiently is having well-trained, knowledgeable staff. There are a plethora of jobs that any front line staff member needs to complete on a daily (if not hourly) basis. Only when all of these jobs are completed consistently and efficiently can your business run smoothly.

That’s where training comes in.

Now, you probably don’t need to spend an hour training someone how to mop a floor or clean some dishes, but what about the more complex stuff?

The trouble with training baristas

Being a barista is arguably the most complex, demanding job in a cafe. If you want a top quality barista (rather than just a warm body making lukewarm coffee) you need to invest time in their training. So where do you find the time to do this? You could take time away from rostering, stock control, ordering, conflict resolution, banking, paying invoices and running busy service periods – but when these very important tasks get pushed to the side, your business will suffer.

Sending your baristas to external training is one option. You’ll end up with staff that have been trained according to industry standards… hopefully. But how are they going to go once they step out of that controlled, stable environment and into the chaos of a heaving breakfast service? That’s where the Seven Miles Perfect Pour Program can help – but more on that later.

Why consistency is so important

“Can Steve make my coffee?”

We’ve all heard it. You’re in the middle of the 8.30am rush and a customer is asking for a specific barista. If you’re not Steve, you get a bruised ego. If you are Steve, you can’t help but beam with pride. From a business perspective, this is one of the worst things that can happen. Here’s why…

Consistency is the ultimate key to your return customers doing exactly that – returning. If they need to stop for a second to see who is making the coffee before they make the decision to order, you have created doubt in their mind. They need to have decided to order from your business before they even leave their house and you can only achieve that through consistency across all staff. Steve’s milk technique might be the thing that sets him apart, but without structured training, he probably doesn’t even know how he does it. By this point, there are probably 10-15 differences in how your baristas are approaching coffee making. Some discrepancies in technique are small, with little bearing on the quality, yet some will be important enough to massively affect your customer’s experience.

The Perfect Pour Program (PPP) captures nearly every stage of, and process for, coffee in your establishment. From storage of coffee bags, all the way to latte art, we will assess ‘Steve’ and his colleagues to create a consistent, quality focussed team. The program was designed to ensure cafe owners and baristas deliver consistently great coffee, cup after cup.

How the Perfect Pour Program works

  • Analysis: One of our Coffee Support Managers (CSMs) will come to your site, unannounced. They will jump behind the machine with the barista while they’re pumping out coffees (whilst staying out of the way, of course). They will be able to see all of the baristas’ coffee making techniques in close detail (and even sneak in a taste, if they’re lucky).
  • Feedback: Once they have seen a few coffees being made, the CSM will be able to give the barista some feedback; high fives where they’re excelling, words of wisdom where they’re not. This includes all aspects of coffee; from espresso quality and milk skills to wastage and cleanliness.
  • On the spot training: In a perfect world, the cafe is now quiet enough for the CSM to give the barista some one-on-one training on the spot. As experienced business owners ourselves, we understand this isn’t always possible. If your team is run off their feet and there’s no sign of it slowing down, we’re more than happy to reschedule an on-site training time so we can continue giving our feedback to you and your team at a time that suits you.
  • The flow-on effect: After a couple of cracks at the PPP, something interesting starts to happen. All of a sudden, it isn’t just Steve who makes amazing milk! Now Jordan’s milk is nipping at his heels and people are less concerned with who is making the coffee and more concerned about how [insert local sports team] is going to go on the weekend. Dave, the new guy, hasn’t had any formal training yet, but y’know what? By watching Steve and Jordan, who by now are working to the same process (via the PPP), he’s actually been making a coffee or two for you and the chef in the mornings and it’s drinkable! With a little more training he’ll be ready to go!

Win/Win

When I first had a PPP visit from my old Belaroma CSM, I was offended. Who the hell was this guy? Why is he telling me what to do? When I conducted my first PPP visit as a Belaroma CSM, I copped the same attitude. Try breathing in, holding for two seconds, and slowly exhaling. At the end of the day, we’re all here for the same reason – we want to produce the best coffee. Better quality coffee = more coffee sold. More coffee sold = more hours for baristas, more money for the boss, more coffee bought from your supply partner. Not to mention happier customers, better reviews and increased word of mouth. It’s a win/win situation if i’ve ever seen one.

Still not convinced?

Consistency is key and the Perfect Pour Program is all about consistency. Having us look at the systems and workflow occurring behind your espresso machine will take the pressure off you and allow more time for you to focus on all the other elements of running a successful business. We use a standardised system to analyse your baristas to ensure that, with practice, they are all using the same techniques so your loyal customers will get the same product, cup after cup.

The Seven Miles Coffee Academy

The Seven Miles Perfect Pour Program is designed to work in conjunction with the Seven Miles Coffee Roasters tiered training schedule, available through our Coffee Academies. These courses are designed and written for baristas of all skill levels, from green beginners to seasoned professionals.

Dom Chicoteau
Having notched up 20 years in the hospitality industry and 8 years dedicated exclusively to coffee, Dom has a great understanding of the realities faced by our café customers. Energised by being part of the quality coffee evolution, Dom is compelled by the melting pot of ideas, theories and perspectives that are currently contributing to the vibrancy of the industry. Dom’s love of coffee is matched by his love of training and watching people grow. When he’s not examining extractions, Dom can be found slowly smoking meat, growing bonsai, playing with his dog and spinning records like a self-professed demon.
Dom Chicoteau

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