Dear Joe,

When school is out for the summer, there are tons of kids hanging around the cafe buying smoothies. This is great for business, but it also requires that I hire extra help. I have employed high school students in the past, but the quality of help is hit or miss. I also don’t want to spend a ton of time training someone who isn’t going to stick around all year. Do you have any tips for hiring that can improve my luck?


Ray Jardine


High school kids can be a great addition to your staff if you hire properly. There are plenty of young adults who are attentive learners and dedicated workers. For many students, your cafe will be their first job and there is an incentive to prove themselves, but for many high school kids a job is not essential. To find the best employees, look for people who may be interested in a career in the culinary arts. This may be hard to find, but the interest in the field will turn your cafe into a learning environment as opposed to just a job.

This attribute will also mean that your potential employee will seek reccomendations in the future. Students who get along well with your other employees will also contribute to the environment of your cafe and can help you appeal to a larger audience.

The advantage to summer help is that you can gain experience with the hiring process. Even the worst summer employee will not be around for more than three or four months, so experiment and use what you learn for future interviews. You may find that your intuition could use some polishing, and you can learn a bit about your current employees as well.

Yours in coffee,

Josephius A. Graham