Working for free, opening coffee shop
I'm new here and planning on opening up my own coffee shop this year. I just signed up for coffee training in 2 weeks and after that I would like to work at a coffee shop without pay in order to learn what all needed to run a successful coffee shop for a month. Wondering if anyone is interested in helping me out and in return helping yourself out too. I'm located in Charlotte, NC and willing to travel to anywhere necessary to work in order to gain knowledge. Please let me know if anyone is interested and I will not disappoint you because I'm very motivated and extremely hardworking and your good deeds will not go unnoticed. Please send me your contact information and I will contact you right away.
02-04-2013 10:25 PM
Interesting approach to gain knowledge. Definitely will learn a lot.
If you are ever in Hawaii would be happy to show you what we do.
Best of luck,
Most employment and insurance laws won't allow you to work without compensation. Primarily accident/liability insurance of the business. We've been asked several times about "apprenticing" for free. As an owner, I can tell you there is zero benefit for a coffee shop for this arrangement.
If you are not worth paying, then you're not worth having on board. Reputable coffee shops who are hiring want someone who is worth paying. It's a negative investment in time if you are not willing to compete for the job.
Be passionate. Earn a position. Work hard. Do well.
Salt Lake City, UT
I agree with John P. It takes time to train employees. Once you are completely trained you will leave...just wasted my time to training.
"Wine is for aging, not coffee."
Ken Hutchinson, Starsky and Hutch
all and all they are all correct. but then how can you earn experiences? there are few things you can do. First, you can call the local coffee supplier who will be supplying your coffee beans and ask if you can get trained at one of their shops. They are more willing to train you since you will be their customers. Second, wait until March since right now is not very busy time so look to work at one of the starbucks stores. They are always hiring.
Third, instead of starting a new business, maybe you can purchase an existing business. Ask the seller to work with you. They are willing to do that since they have chance to sell the business to you.....
Not to overly punish you, but this is so others don't ask the same question without thinking.
Look at it this way:
If you are not a hired, invested employee and you want to learn barista, coffee, customer service, and maybe even a bit of management skills ... then what you have done is hired a consultant. Unless you are willing to pay the $500-$750 per day that a coffee consultant will charge, then you're really not very serious. That's literally how much value you can add by being an employee and how much you cost the business if you are just "working for free".
Also, in most good shops, you'd spend at least 2-3 months as a bar back. Wash dishes, clean floors, clean bathrooms, etc, before you even thought about eyeballing any coffee making. I think the best place for a new employee is bathroom detailing! It reminds them that everyone starts at the same place, and they have to earn their time behind the machine.
But seriously, until you are ready to learn, and fail or succeed on your own dime, you're not ready to be an owner. And as I caution at least one prospective owner every year. Don't rush! Preparation and patience will reward you well.
And CoffeeJunky's suggestion of Starbucks is a good one. You won't learn much about coffee, but you will learn customer service, order management, timeliness, and work flow. And they offer benefits which only a tiny number of independents can offer. A good place to bone up on some basic skills until you can get hired at a somewhere more desirable.
Last edited by John P; 02-05-2013 at 04:28 PM.
Salt Lake City, UT
Hello "newjourneys" (Tony)
Do you have any non-profit groups in your local area that run coffee shops? Some churches and organizations have coffee shops as part of their training/vocational rehab programs. Some use volunteers . . . it may be worth exploring if you're looking for training that you otherwise wouldn't find without getting a job in a local coffee chop.
Originally Posted by John P
First off, I would like to say "Thank You!" everyone for your inputs. I know that opening up a business is a lot of work because I'm currently a business owner and also working full-time at another job. I earned everything I got to this point in my life by putting myself through school and without any help from anyone. I moved to the US when I was just a kid without my parent so I know what handwork is. I'm not here looking for a handout but an opportunity to learn from someone what it takes to run a successful coffee shop. I know that after a couple weeks I would no longer be there, but by helping, I will remember the good deeds and will return the favor in the future ten folds. As for it's against the law to have someone working for free. I'm respectfully disagree because I'm actually not an employee at the shop but a trainee so you don't have to pay. The benefit from doing this may not seem so clear to you but I'm willing to work very hard and give it my all for the next couple of weeks so you can give your employee a day or two days off etc. As for costing the business $500-$700 a day by me working for free. I'm completely disagree again, because I'm actually reducing the business overhead not costing $500-750 per day. Furthermore, some coffee shop don't even makes $500-750 a day.
Overall, I'm here because I'm looking for an opportunity to learns and gain knowledge from a successful coffee shop owner and to apply that knowledge to my future business and to make new friend(s) for life. The thing that I value most in life are family and friendship. If someone willing to go out of their way to help me, I will never forget that and forever grateful.
P.S. This is to John regarding the quote-"you'd spend at least 2-3 months as a bar back. Wash dishes, clean floors, clean bathrooms, etc, before you even thought about eyeballing any coffee making..." I'm pretty sure if you're hiring a barista you will not make him/her washing dishes for two months. If you do that you will not have any employee because he signs up for a barista job not a dish washer job. Furthermore, this is not about punishing somebody or testing their will power so that they can take over your business. This is about helping someone understanding the concept of running a successful business and gaining friendship that lasted a lifetime. We both are business owners and we already know the hard work that's involved in running a successful business. As for washing dishes trust me I had suffer a lot of worst things than that in my short lifetime. With that being said, I don't mind cleaning up the place, wash dishes, clean bathrooms etc. everyday after my training.
Thank you everyone again for your valuable inputs!
Last edited by newjourneys; 02-05-2013 at 07:02 PM.
None of us here can tell you how to run your business or how you can go by it. Some of us are little more opinionated about our business and mostly we are worried for your business venture.
There are many have failed running coffee business because they think it is easy business to own and run. However, like any business, it take hard work, many sleepless hours and all your life saving to find out you weren't prepared to own it. I always tell people to search ebay for used Espresso machine for sale. That's how many have failed in just last 12 months....
We do not want to discourage you to dream and work hard toward your goal... We want to you to explore all your options and home work before you fork out any money.... after you sign the lease, there is no turning back. You signed your life away... so do your home work and bring us specific questions. We will answer that questions for you honestly with best of our knowledge.
Lets talk about other things after your initial training you signed up for.... After the training, you will know more specifics on your needs....
Hi Tony, I just quickly read your last response and I can guarantee you that 2-3 months of not making a single espresso in a shop is nothing many times it is much longer ten that. There is SO much to running these shops, I can probably guarantee that most of us didn't know how much it truly takes. I always have to kind of giggle a little because whenever we announce we are hiring I will always get " that would be perfect for me, to work an early morning shift, I LOVE getting up early" however.....when we hire you get nights and weekends and holidays....you have to earn and prove yourself for the premium shifts, the shifts I trust my business to someone else for.........but people always think "it must be so fun"..... I would urge you (as stated Above) to seek training from your coffee roaster, they have tons of resources, and if they don't, choose a different roaster!
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