Should your baristas get tips?

Helena Echlin of food & drink blog Chow wrote about barista-tipping etiquette a few days ago. Here is the gist of her take:

When it comes to the person who makes your coffee, I say use the same rule of thumb you should use for any food-service counter worker (ice cream scooper, deli sandwich-maker, boulangerie attendant, taqueria employee): If you feel he or she has gone beyond the industry norms, made you laugh, given you something extra she needn’t have, in some way noticeably improved your life, if only for a moment, tip her.

Ms. Echlin makes some interesting points that reveal the customer’s perspective to us, but what does this mean to you as a retailer?

If tipping is part of your vision for your café, it’s worth paying attention to. Tipping is a good indicator of the level of service your staff provides as well as the level of service your customers expect. If your baristas aren’t getting tips, it may mean that your drinks aren’t to your customers’ tastes, that your customers perceive a lack of craft, or simply that your baristas haven’t engaged their customers like Ms. Echlin describes.

If your baristas are getting tips, you may want to check for big differences in the amounts they collect. Disparities in tips can reveal inconsistent drink preparation, lack of up-selling, and other problems that a little retraining could solve.

If you’re interested in getting high-quality training for your staff, drop us a line! Ask about our Barista Certification program at 800.835.5943.


“Certified!”: SGC’s Options for Training Your Staff

Before joining the Stockton Graham & Co. team, my knowledge and familiarity of coffee was slim. At first I was very concerned with my ability (or should I say inability) to meet expectations with no prior coffee experience. I had no idea how I was supposed to sell, recommended or even discuss coffee with customers, when I had no idea about any of that myself. But little did I know Stockton Graham had everything under control. Obviously it was important for me to gain a solid understanding on all of our products, so they invested the time and effort into giving me proper training in all areas of the industry with Stockton’s Coffee College and Barista Certification Program. Not only were these programs beneficial for me as a new employee, but they can also be extremely beneficial to you as a café owner, or for your new baristas.

Coffee College is a program that Stockton Graham & Co. has offered for the past 10 years and is still running strong! The class is taught by our head roastmaster Brandon Riggs, who has been roasting as well as studying coffee for 12 years. Students are introduced to the history of coffee, the two main types of beans, where coffee is grown around the world and what makes one cup of coffee better than the next. They will also experience a hands-on portion which is a coffee cupping of several different single origins, and they will learn to evaluate the five different sensory areas which include fragrance & aroma, acidity, body, flavor and aftertaste.

Our other educational program is a Barista Certification program, and in my opinion it is a blast! This class allows its students to work in our demo room and learn exactly how to make common coffee drinks that are typically served in cafes. First of all, learning how to brew espresso is the most critical step. Then we move to proper milk steaming techniques to make the best possible lattes and cappuccinos. Students are taught to prepare these beverages using our professional barista equipment and top of the line products and held to the highest standards in the industry.

It is very important know that all of your baristas know the proper way to make drinks and with a certified barista, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you customers will always be satisfied.

The programs offered at Stockton Graham & Co. provide new coffee comers and seasoned pros with so much beneficial insight. After having gone through both programs myself, I am so much more educated on this industry and am comfortable making or recommending drinks for all of our customers. Thanks to Coffee College and our Barista Certification program, I am much more experienced in the world of coffee, and now you and your employees can be too! Give me a call at (800) 835-5943 if I can provide additional info on the benefits of these programs.

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.