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The Secret of a Starbucks Barista


I stopped in to savor the moment – some reading, writing, and sipping at Starbucks while my kids are at art class.  I could have gone home - folded some clothes and wiped down the counters for the fourth time today.  I decided going home would be a distraction from what I really wanted to be right now.

They know me around here.  “Oh, it’s not Saturday.  Good to see you.”

Funny thing is, I am so distracted from my self right now because I am evesdropping on a staff meeting, and I find it so interesting.  I can’t concentrate on what I came to write about and certainly can’t read, so I am going to learn the secret of a Starbucks barista.

They have turned off the music for the meeting.  Six baristas, 4 female and 2 males, form a large circle in the front of the store.  I assume they are not planning to discuss disciplinary issues or give away trade secrets.  Then again, maybe they are.

On multiple orders, it is more efficient to read back each order as they give it.  Customers naturally break between orders.

“How can we handle ’Chuck’ in the mornings?”

Samples rate high with customers; increases waste ratio.

Customer surveys are beginning.  “When do we know if the customer has been invited to survey?”  “Is it okay to request a 5 on the survey?”  The tall guy with a scruffy beard and sunglasses on the top of his head suggested, “Be honest with your suggestions and authentic with your customer, that’s how you score a 5.”

The golden thread through tonight’s meeting is mindfulness.

  • Mindful of time.
  • Mindful of product.
  • Mindful of customer.
  • Mindful of store.

It really could have been a staff meeting for any proactive company.  Concern about customer satisfaction and quality control is an act of mindfulness on the part of the company, and the best company’s hire authentic people to deliver it.

They forgot to turn the music back on after he meeting.  I am overstimulated – the coffee, the conversations – it’s all a little too much tonight.  I didn’t really enjoy my coffee.  Too acidic.  “Why do I frequent Starbucks when I can make it better at home?”  I guess that’s the secret of a Starbucks barista.

“Have a good evening. See ya Saturday.” The barista’s voice follows me out.

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