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Training to Improve Financial Stability

By: Heather Perry, Director of Training and Consulting
For: Coffee Talk - 2012 State of the Industry Issue

1: capable of being sustained
2 : of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged

This day in age, everyone is looking for ways to be more sustainable, but sustainability is more than protecting the earth’s resources. Sustainability as defined by Webster’s is a method of using a resource (your finances), so that the resource (your money) is not depleted or damaged. Now there are a lot of ways to do this that we all know about. We can change our light bulbs, change the temperature on our thermostats, and start recycling. But there are many opportunities for financial stability through training, and barista training is just the beginning, making drinks is one aspect of working in a café. Baristas are also your sales people. They determine your ticket average through everything from muffin sales to bean sales. This is an area that is very often overlooked, very rarely is a barista given the skills necessary to be a successful sales person. But at the end of the day, if your barista can’t sell, you may have trouble staying in business.

Sales Training

Before you can successfully begin training your staff, you need to have the right resources and training tools. This should be something you provide your staff on day 1, so they know their purpose everyday when they come to work. You also need to have sales tools for your baristas to implement. Almost everywhere you go in life, the people you deal with are trained to ask for the up sale. At the office store they ask if you want the extended warranty, at the drive thru if you want fries with that, and when car buying you need the DVD’s, tow package and sunroof. What do you train your for? We teach the 5 Parts of a Sale.

Something for you to consider is what Add-ons you might offer; it could be a selection of pastries, home brewing equipment, or bean coffee. Almost every home has coffee in it, what coffee is in your customer’s home? If it is not your coffee, is it because people do not know they can buy coffee from you, or maybe your staff struggles to show your customers the value in your coffee? Having bags of coffee for people to immediately pick up and a knowledgeable staff to answer questions about the coffee will immediately increase your bean coffee sales, and therefore your overall sales. Selling as few as 3 bags of coffee a day at $12.95 per bag will result in over $23,000 annually in additional sales. You don’t have to implement the 5 Parts of the Sale to be successful, but find a sales technique that you can get behind and that you can successfully train your staff on.

Barista Training

Once we have a staff that can sell, we know espresso drinks and drip coffee are going to be a big seller, so it can also be where you lose the most money because of drink inconsistency and high waste. If I walked into your café right now and asked your baristas what their dose was, would they know? How much milk would they use for a 12oz latte and what would they do with the leftover? These basic questions that will help you set up a solid recipe for all your drinks, and help you to make sure you are charging accordingly. For instance, if you built your costs for a shot of espresso with 7 grams, but your staff is using 11 grams, there is over a 30% discrepancy. If your barista has an average of 3oz of milk waste per drink, and they steam for 200 drinks per day, that is over 4 gallons of milk that you are throwing away every day. At $3.5 per gallon, that is $98 per week, and over $5000 per year. Can you afford not to have a training program in place?

A thorough training program will also ensure your customers don’t have a “favorite” barista, because everyone will now be making the same quality drinks. It is also where more advanced techniques such as latte art come in. While latte art itself may not save you money, it can help to create money through increased sales from people who tell their friends about the amazing place down the block that has the sweetest foam with the greatest designs. All of the sudden, you are not interchangeable with the other coffee house in the city; customers have to go to you every day because no one else does it the same.

Implementing a training program can be costly initially, but the cost to not invest is much higher. If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your roaster, they should be your ultimate partner. There are also consultants, schools, websites and so much more. Do your research ahead of time, and have specific goals that you want to achieve. Lastly, make sure you get your staff on board and excited. Ultimately, they will determine the success of any new programs.

To view Coffee Talk's 2012 State of the Industry Issue, click here.

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