How to get your Baristas to Like You

So, I have long been opposed to the idea of this blog being a place where I only ever rant and complain about creepy/annoying/stupid people. That’s why I’m writing this today.

Inspired by some awesome regulars at the coffee shops I’ve worked at, here is a list of Dos and Don’ts in your coffee shop of choice to earn the respect and appreciation of your baristas.

A dollar in the tip jar goes a long way. You don’t even have to tip every time– it’s not something I absolutely expect. But if s/he does particularly well on your drink, is dealing with a rush, or did a good job in any other way, a tip is a great start.

When you come up to the counter and say “the usual,” it doesn’t make me think you’re cool. It just makes an awkward moment if/when I don’t know your drink. However, if you come up to the front and say, “How’s your day going?” even if you only partially mean it, that makes me think you’re cool.

If I’m not too busy, engaging me in conversation whilst I craft your drink also goes a very long way toward getting me to like you, but don’t be too offended or surprised when I can’t hear you over the grinder or the milk. It’s the effort that counts! Unless you’re being creepy. Don’t be creepy.

Remembering your baristas’ names also goes a long way. Think of it like this– I can often remember your name, and you’re one of several dozen regulars whose names AND drinks I know. I’m one of three or four baristas at this shop, so remembering our names isn’t really that big of a job. And honestly, I can forgive so many orders without a tip if you greet me by my name (which is Bethany, by the way. Not Beth.)

Treat your baristas like you’d like to be treated– a.k.a., not like I’m a coffee vending machine. This job takes more training, skill, and art than you know.

I get that you’re in a hurry, I really do, but hovering doesn’t speed me up. I’m fast, and I need at least a minute per drink– and that’s just for a latte. The more complicated your drink is, the longer it takes me. I really appreciate customers who order an americano or house coffee when they’re in a hurry, especially if that’s not their usual drink. If you really need your peppermint-white-mocha-with-whip in the morning though, please give yourself at least five to ten minutes to get it. We’ll both be less stressed. (And I hope you enjoy the sugar crash.)

If you notice that I’m closing up, please be courteous and leave at closing time. I don’t mind you staying right to the time I turn off the open sign, but it’s really nice when customers take that as a cue to bow out.

If you like or dislike the music I have on, let me know. I usually choose whatever I feel like listening to, but baristas like customers who give constructive feedback– so if you hate Louis Armstrong (which I think is impossible,) or Bob Dylan, (also nigh impossible, but whatever,) please let me know.

The best mood boosts I’ve ever had at work are when customers come back to the counter to put a tip in the jar before they leave. It indicates to me that I really did do well on your drink. Tips beforehand are really nice, don’t get me wrong, but they really don’t indicate whether or not I’ve done a good job. Again, lots of constructive feedback!

Hopefully, this little guide helps you understand why your baristas like or dislike you– and if you’re one of my darling regulars who inspired this blog, I like you a lot.

Oh, and please, for the love of Coffee, don’t come in and tell me how Starbucks does things.

So, fellow baristas, any other things that customers do that you love/hate?

  1. May 25th, 2012

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