The concept of a "barista exchange" has been out there for a while, and now that Matt has created this site to facilitate the process, I have a question that I haven't seen addressed yet.

How do you pay a visiting barista? You can't put them on payroll for a week. Do you pay them cash? Do their own shops pay them for the time spent in someone else's shop? Do they work for free just for the experience in a new city and shop?

What's the SOP here?

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Hey Mike,

I have put a lot of thought into this topic, and I think that every exchange would be different. An exchange for say in NYC between Gimme! and Grumpy would be obviously more simple than an exchange between Gimme! and Stumptown, and of course let's say between Gimme! and a shop in Iceland.

There are certain legal things, beyond pay, that will need to be considered in any exchange. Work permits, insurance, liability, etc. should be thought thru before an exchange happens. If a barista wants to travel abroad, it will be much more difficult to obtain a "work" visa, than it will a holiday visa.

To get back to your question, you may be able to 1099 someone for a weeks worth of work, or it may be more simple, as a shop owner to pay your barista when they are out, and help them with their experience. There is always some under the table arrangements that can be made as well.

Initially I was planning on developing a "Barista Exchange Legal Kit" and it is still in the process. This would be a packet of forms to be filled out and considered by a barista and a shop owner to make sure everything is legit. Maybe someone with some labor law or immigration law experience can shine some light on this subject.

Ultimately, we would all want an exchange to be fairly seamless, to encourage them to happen more often. I think once we get a few people actually doing exchanges, they can write about them and we can learn from others.

- Matt
i would pay them in cash or not at all. the times that i have guest bearistaed it was either cash or goodwill. but if you didn't want to pay im sure you could work out some other sort of deal. things such as room and board. beer, you could give them lethal amounts of beer.

but when it comes down to it, to make this really really work, money will probably need to be involved. your average barista doesn't make enough to run off and make coffee just for the hell of it.
it makes sense for each shop to just pay their own barista really. but that doesnt change the fact that it's nice to get cold hard cash while on a working holiday.
As an owner, I'd think the simplest thing to do is for the employing shop would pay for their own baristas wherever they may land. But that doesn't take into account that a six-hour $9/hour shift would pay for a weekend of three squares and a few rakia in Sofia, yet probably doesn't get much more than a bubble tea and ramen bowl in Tokyo. Nor does it take into account that not every country tips.

We haven't figured this out yet... thankfully nobody here has brought up going to Tokyo yet.
Also baristas may arrive from one shop to yours, but you don't necessarily send a barista to theirs. In other words, not an actual "exchange", but a "guest" barista.
payment would be great, but the payment is extremely divided in the world.
I see on this site and others that 15$ an hour is alot and that 9$ an hour isn't bad.
in Norway a school kid working weekends and late makes 100 Norwegian kroner. to get Dollar you have to divide by 5.5
approximately 18$ an hour.
i make roughly 22$ an hour, and this is a low wage job in Norway. the pay in scandinavia is much higher than the states.
it's more expensive to live here, but at the end of the day we make more money per hour.

this would make it possible for us to come to the US and work for free for a week, but I think that if you came here, you would find that hard.
but the problem is tax reports and working permits, this is the hard thing to do, especially for just a week, you will get a work permit in Norway quite easy if you were to stay here for more than a month.
Lethal amounts of beer?!?! Where's your shop at Dan? I'm in :-)
Yo Mike

I have faced this problem as well. The biggest concern is liability. Also, if the guest is not on your payroll and covered by your workers comp and disability then you are taking another big chance. If the are legally "freelancing" or an "independent contractor", then they must provide you with proof of insurance. If they don't have legal status to work here then you are taking another big chance. (A friend of mine in the E.V. was caught doing this at his restaurant and was fined $10k per illegal worker).

I know that all this sounds pretty stiff, but all you have to do is get sued once...
free coffee isn't enough?

just kiddin :)
I popped into Gimme! one day, chatted it up about the thrill of it all (coffee/being there), came back later that night, continued, and was thrilled to have been considered to work a few hours in the morning.
When I got included in the tips, that was enough for me!
If I did a preplanned exchange, room/board and tips would float my boat.
Scott we couldn't have afforded to pay you what you're worth anyway. I considered it a charitable contribution on your part. But it sure was awesome having you there!
we'll just have to do it again then Mister White... but I think what I did was a good example of an impromptu exchange, leaving the decision up to the cafe manager. It's pretty easy to read the mind of a barista who'd like to be working behind your counter. Anything longer than a day should best be planned accordingly.

Can't wait to do it again, twas valuable, twas...

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