New Shop - Expertise/Training?


New member
Jun 23, 2005
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This is for seasoned shop owners:

We are opening our shop 7/15 and have hired, what we believe, to be a good staff. Our shop mix is 60% coffee and 40% grocery/convenience. (ice cream, pastries, candy, pop, water, etc.)

We have an Astoria 2-Group. We will be trained on this next week, with a week to play and perfect. Neither the owners nor staff have any experience with such a machine, yet we are all pretty bright and I *think* (lol!) trainable. Our morning person with the most daily hours per week is married to a pastry chef and has familiarity with an espresso machine, but not real hands on experience.

Yesterday, while we were painting, someone walked in who works for Starbucks and asked for a job at $10/hour and convinced two of the four partners that we should hire her. She had this air about her like she was some sort of grand savior and that if we didn't hire her, well, good luck. I told her we could not afford $10/hr (we have NO CLUE how we will do) and she said, 'Fine' and walked there was no negotiation.

So this is the dilemma - 2 of us feel confident our "main" employee will be up and running quickly and *do well* while the rest of the employees will catch on pretty quickly. Not to mention that the same 2 of us will be right there 'hands on' as well.

The other two partners think, now that the Starbucks Lady has convinced them she is an Espresso-Drink Goddess, that we will crash and burn without her there.

I am afraid of $10/hr and NOT afraid about our employess learning and perfecting it. We are fully staffed, anyway...I don't know where we would put her. (Oh, and she currently makes $8.50 at SB).

Am I being naive? Should we bite the bullet and cut others' hours to employ this woman at $10 hr? I can see putting her on as a temporary consultant, but other than that, am I missing something?



New member
It all depends on what you want your espresso drinks to be like. If you are aiming to serve similar drinks like Starbucks, then you might want to bite the bullet, but knowing you will have a primadonna on your hand. If you want to have a serious espresso shop, which Starbucks is not, then you need to have proper training. You can ask the people who sold you the Astoria to train you, or you can fine the best local coffee roaster in your area and ask them to work with you. Whatever you do, do it fast, you only have two weeks.

Here are some reading materials for you


Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
Boca Raton
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where are you located? If you are near me...I might be able to help you out.....drop me a line and lets see what we can do.
Topher :wink:
as the the girl that came should pass on is better to do it your way(the right way) and not hire people that are so set in there ways. And what the hell is this, "I make $8.50 but you need to pay me $10" B.S. that is what that is!!!!


New member
Jul 1, 2005
Santa Cruz, CA
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Starbucks barista goddess

Hey -- Having survived the first year of our shop. We don't pay our barista's 10/hour... When I read your post -- I started to think, gee and starbucks uses TOTALLY automatic machines that require LESS skill... I think this woman was just good at marketing herself (power to her for that!) We DO pay our managers more than 10. But they can open and close the shop, lockup/alarm, count the money, close the register etc...

Just my $00.02 worth!

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
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Oh don't even get me started on MISS STARBUCKS :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Getting to the subject at hand...I agree ask the person that sold you the machine for some basic training on drink prep. Pay special attention on milk steaming technique, that is very important. Use this next week and a half working on everyones consistency in making drinks so everyone is on the same page and making all drinks identical.

As for pay??? Minimum wage in our state is $7.35 per hour. That's what we start everyone with. I was advise you to do the same. Start people at minimum wage. Once they've picked up a customer following, their tips will begin to kick in. You or one of your partners are the manager for the first 6 months or so. Because you are responsible for all operations and you need to learn everything first before turning anything over to someone else.

I don't know where you are located, but your shop sounds more like a convenience store selling espresso rather than the other way around. If your target is to sell espresso drinks, then why have grocery instead of just small bakery items? Just wondering?

Well I hope I may have passed something useful to you :wink:

Good luck. :D


New member
Apr 17, 2005
Modesto, CA
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I don't know where you are, but for instance in San Francisco $10 an hour would probably be under their city's minimu wage...not sure anymore but I know its up there.

We recently hired a new barista that had 15 months experience including 9 months as a manager for a competitor at 7.50 hr. A starbucks had offered her the same and she said that was her minimum as our minimum wage and my starting wage is typically 6.75. She did catch on super quick and has great people skills. We're jazzed at having paid her more and brought her on.

I had done a lot of research into coffee, espresso, products, cups, pricing, etc etc....but when we closed escrow on the shop we bought on Friday after it closed I had never shot a shot of espresso before in my life. We were closed that S/S and our coffee provider taught us all we needed to know to open on Monday and do a good job....

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