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?

From,

Ray Jardine

Ray

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

Dear Joe,

Dear Joe,
I want to celebrate the holidays with decorations, but I don’t want to scare off customers who celebrate different holidays. How do I stay politically correct?

– Greg

Greg,

Decorating your café to celebrate the season is an important way to show your customers that you are a small business. The most important selling point for any café is a personal, non-corporate atmosphere, and the best way to show this around the holidays is with pictures of your customers. As your regulars go on vacation or decorate their homes, ask them to bring in a picture or two from their travels with a short description. Even offer a little discount to kick-start the campaign. The personal touch will also show new customers that real people are running the shop, not a distant investment group (It also doesn’t cost a lot).

Once you get a few pictures hanging around, look for ideas in the descriptions and in the pictures themselves. Your guests want to enjoy the holidays, but more importantly, their holiday. What better way to find out that your shop will need Rohatsu decorations, than by recognizing that many of your customer went to India to celebrate. The point here is that you need not worry about political correctness; you merely need to represent your customer base.

Yours in coffee,

Josephius A. Graham
Stockton Graham & Co.