Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2017

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 88 of 115

89 passions like this, when properly harnessed, bring life to café spaces, and the more baristas are invested in doing what they love while at work, the more connected they'll be to their shop's long-term success. One of the biggest reasons that dedicated baristas leave small cafés is that there are so few growth opportunities, so rather than employing a single manager or lead barista to manage the entire in-house coffee program and café culture, delegate titles and responsibilities based on skills and passions. A manager or lead baris- ta job can encompass so many different responsibilities that, when shared around, provide a wealth of small growth opportu- nities that give baristas something to focus on and grow into. At Amethyst Coffee, Elle works within a "horizontal leadership system, rather than a vertical one, where everyone has their job, which also comes with a pay raise," she says. "One of our baristas is our tech, one is our social media manager, one manages our merch, and one is our manager. They all work bar shifts, but they all get to do something that they are passionate about that contributes to the company." In this way, they all get to play to their strengths rather than competing for limited growth opportunities. Help baristas partner with local businesses and other sources to host latte art throw- downs, potlucks, record-release parties, panel discussions, book clubs, and more. At Ritual, semiregular latte art throw- downs, theme days, and art openings bring regular fun to the cafés, and based on staff demand, Ellan wants to create more events around palate and sensory development. "It's helpful to listen and see what staff are inter- ested in," she says. "They love to have fun but a lot of them are interested in continuing education, as well." If you're a café veteran who's often the center of events, remember to make room for others with less experience, says Steve, "Even though I love going to every event, I'm pushing for in-house contests to pick and send other baristas. I want them to know Black Oak believes in them, not just me," he says. No matter how beautiful of a workplace you create, the most driven workers will eventual- ly outgrow it and move on to the next stage of their careers. "Don't force people to burn bridges," says Ellan. "Baristas need to keep grow- ing, and sometimes they just can't stay in the same place even though they've loved it and have gotten a lot out of it. Be happy for them and help them leave on good terms, and they'll always speak positively about you." When the time comes for your baby baris- tas to leave the nest, be excited for them, support them, and give them an excellent reference.

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