Why Training is Important
The purpose of this piece is to highlight the importance of training: How it can improve standards, retain staff and ultimately help towards increased profit margins.
It’s geared towards current business owners looking to improve their coffee offering and entrepreneurs looking to start a coffee focussed business. It is also for the individual; staff, baristas and their professional progress within the workplace.
‘Quality’ is the perfect starting point: the quality of the place, it’s product(s) and the level of service. It all starts with setting quality standards and sticking to them!
Businesses have different set ups, concepts, products and target audiences. But regardless of the model, setting standards and maintaining them is key.
This is perhaps an obvious thing to say, but putting this into practice doesn’t come easy. It requires meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of the vision, ethics, products and the customers of that particular business… And all of these need managing!
Cafe’s, restaurants and bars are often busy places. It’s fast paced. Workflow and efficiency must be tight to maintain customer expectations.
However, in my experience, the first thing to suffer in a busy environment is ‘consistency’. Standards slip for the sake of speed.
This is a big problem. Compromising your product(s), your craft and expertise compromises how you are perceived. If the customer has mixed, inconsistent experiences, it can breed passive negativity and doubt. This sounds a little melodramatic, but it’s true. In general, people want consistency, especially when they are paying for it.
Training is Key
So, this brings us back to training. My journey as a coffee professional started as a barista, then coffee roaster, account manager and finally coffee trainer.
Having worked in many areas with the industry, I wanted to share my knowledge and help iron out some of the common issues that I have experienced over the years. For me, training is key!
Training can cover many aspects. Firstly I focus on barista skills. This involves a core understanding of the coffee used, the roastery/ supplier, equipment, how to dial in to a basic recipe, milk texturing/ basic latte art and cleaning.
Core skills are a baseline requirement!
From there you can focus on the finer details, such as workflow, efficiency, tailored recipes, advanced latte art, coffee knowledge, customer service...the list goes on.
There are a few ways to seek professional training.
My advice, first of all, is to work with a reputable specialty roastery. For the quality of coffee, of course, but also for additional services they may offer.
For example, Stooker offers complimentary barista training and account management for all wholesale partners.
This is beneficial for both the client and Stooker: Our partners are equipped with the core skills and support needed and Stooker is represented in the best possible light. It’s a win win!!! In our eyes, this makes for a healthy partnership. Hence why we are so passionate and committed to offering the best training possible.
Specialty Coffee Association
So, training from a supplier is one way. Another way is to enrol on an accredited course.
SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) is a trade association that offers world-wide recognised qualifications in coffee.
They have a multitude of courses and modules to choose from, ranging from half a day to three days, depending on the level.
SCA courses are for businesses and individuals who take (or want to take) coffee seriously.
Not only does it raise the profile of a business, it’s a fantastic way to invest in and retain valuable staff. In my opinion, progress within the workplace is beneficial for all!
SCA certified courses are some of the few recognised qualifications within coffee, so perfect for anyone wanting a career in the industry.
SCA experience, qualifications and the association really raises the bar! It gives you insight to the wider industry, keeps you up to date with the latest trends, equipment, science and culture of specialty coffee
Stooker's Training Academy
There are SCA certified training schools throughout the world, depending on where you are. Here in the Netherlands, you can take SCA courses right here at the Stooker’s certified training academy.
So, we’ve looked at some ways to access professional training. We now need to turn our attention to maintaining standards.
In hospitality staff turnover is often high. This can be very problematic for a business. With this in mind, it’s best to be as prepared as possible. Think ahead!
Firstly, my advice would be to have someone oversee staff and standards; a Head Barista or Manager for example. Someone to implement and maintain standards on a daily basis after receiving training.
Ongoing inhouse training is also useful. Have set dates in the calendar to go over standards, techniques and efficiency. This is useful for new staff and also a good refresher for current staff.
This may feel like you’re creating more work, but in the long term it will save you time, prevent potential issues and give you an overall better service.
At Stooker, we offer ‘train the trainer’ consultation to help with this.
Stand out from the Competition
Although we might prefer not to think this way, running a business is competitive. There are so many options for consumers. And as specialty coffee grows in popularity, competition will only increase.
But that shouldn’t be a worry. It’s a good thing! It suggests the demand is high, which is encouraging. But don’t rest on one’s laurels.
Invest in training. Keep standards high and consistent. Stand out from the crowd and keep customers coming back and your business growing.
Keep Keeping On
Times are undoubtedly tough at the moment during Covid. Most places are heavily disrupted, which understandably makes training more difficult.
Stooker are now hosting ‘online’ training for wholesale partners, SCA courses and home brewing. So, if you need support and/or training, you know where to find us :)
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for all your coffee education queries and needs.
Keep safe coffee lovers!
Dan Dunne - Head of Education at Stooker Specialty Coffee