How can managers filter apathy from shops with an 8 hour admin limit per week? Why do college students stop giving a shit so easily or refuse to have any positivity whatsoever in their workplace? Any suggestions?

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How much do you pay them? That might have something to do with it. If you pay lousy wages and expect more than lousy effort from a worker, isn't that exploitation?

Do you talk to them to their faces the way that you talk about them online? That might have something to do with it.

Have you given the workers at your coffee shop any tangible incentive to care? Or do they have to do just enough that big bad boss doesn't storm in and fire their ass so they have to go find another barely-more-than-minimum-wage job with unrealistic expectations?
i believe this gets into a deeper issue of leadership and teamwork. If you support your team and make your employees happy, they will in turn support you in your vision. I know you probably think you are creating a happy place, but it might not hurt to give them a chance to make a contribution, say "what do you think we could do around here to make our cafe a better place?" or something along those lines.
Get excited. Moods are contagious. If you get really excited about your job and give your staff some incentives- they will respond. If you show enthusiasm and pride for your products, you will get people excited and that leads to questions- curiosity- initiative. The more I learn about coffee (history, techniques, new beans) the more pumped up I get.

I agree that dealing with different/ difficult personalities is a challenge. I have dealt with moody coworkers for the last 15 years and everyone has an excuse (not just students). They need to leave their personal life/ drama at the door. Bring this up early during interviews and later in staff meetings. You require your employees to be attentive, courteous, and to have a sense of urgency. Nothing less! or you will breaking down cardboard and cleaning bathrooms for the rest of your shift
I feel as if a lot of times the people who are apathetic are those who just don't care in general. It doesn't have anything to do with the shop. Attention to detail is something I've learned. I can't expect the same from everyone I work with. It's something that sets me apart and from others, but even I can be burned out every once in a while. A work environment that not only encourages people, but helps them get where they want is also helpful. Managers have a lot to do with it also. If you don't have a manager that's pushing their own goals and pushing themselves to improve in the cafe or in their personal lives, then how can you expect the employees to not follow? I had a good manager. I learned, watched, and did what I could to better myself just to keep up. If bars are raised, the cafe grows. I like to see new changes at the shop and new things coming around. Staff meetings are also a good thing. Making sure people are on the same page to make things better for everyone.
1) Make it FUN
2) Make it worth it
3) Be interested in them
4) Train them to have a passion for espresso
5) Be involved
6) Lead by example
No dissing college students but face it they are "tranisent". They are here for a short while looking for some extra spending money not investing themselves into your small-business. I have tried college and high school students with simular results.

The people who I have found to be the most loyal and who are desiring to learn and interact with my guests are moms! Many moms are looking for part-time work to fit school schedules and just to interact with aults for a spell and already have a sense of self and responsibility. I rely upon my mature employees rather than hope that an employee will not rely upon their looks to get them through or for forgiveness for a poorly pulled shot.

I do not agree with the thread that incentives and "high" pay come before they are earned. We can pay a poorly motivated worker wheelbarrow loads of money and all we get in return is a well paid poorly motivated worker who feels entitled to more.

I pay well above the prevailing wage and my employees see the satisifaction from our guests through an over flowing tip jar. You want an excited employee who really desires to work that is who you cast your net for.

Looking at my page you'll see I am an older guy - 50+ - I too face an over flowing tip jar because we all have the same philosophy: quality consistant shots, frothed milk not just "steamed", and 100% attention to our guests experience...nothing less is acceptable.
I ran a shop for about three years here's a few things that I picked up along the way,

1. Be hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighly selective when Interviewing and hiring, for every 150 aps i would get I would find maybe ten or so worth an interview usually out of those ten I could get 1 good employee. In my experience age doesn't matter, ( i know ...crazy right) If you're ultra selective in the hiring process then your more apt to find the diamond be they highschool age or semi retired.

2. What Michelle said was right, lead by example. If you want your employees to give 100% you prolly need to give 150%

3. Find out what your employees like and tailor their job to bring out that interest, Pretty much every shop has 1 "hot tea guy" or one barista borderline obsessed with latte art , french presses or what have you... give them personalized jobs that reflect their interest and gives them ownership.

4. Spend a lot of time at your cafe, if you cant wait to get out after your shift your employees will follow suit... conversely if you take pride in your shop, then so will they.

5. When you hire someone give them a 90 day trial period and don't be afraid to let someone go. Typically in three months you can tell whether or not they are gonna work out...i know that may sound callous but if they are "apathetic" to the job then they aren't challenged or just don't care and that's bad for the moral and typically puts more work on the rest of your baristas.
you're in auburn, al. i'm sure the pickings are as slim as they are in tuscaloosa, al (where i graduated).

i agree with the rest. better wages help, but you can pay anyone and they'll still make you crappy drinks. professional training and a work environment that's geared toward SPECIALTY coffee.

encourage your baristas to look at coffee as an art form and to constantly want to get better. you should also back that encouragement up with good clean, professional equipment and a good healthy cleaning regimen to keep everything in a condition that is conducive to creating a specialty coffee atmosphere.
I operate two cafes on a community college campus and am very fortunate to have passionate Baristas. I really believe apathy trickles from the top down.
what does you training program look like? do you demand consistency? do you offer room or suggestions for improvement or do you have the dreaded warm body syndrom? Demand perfection and settle for nothing less all the while nurturing and caring for your staff.

If that doesn't work, cut their hours and find replacements that give a damn.
During the interview process, seek out candidates that have a passion for something. Then once hired, help them to chanel that passion into coffee preparation.

just my two cents coming from two successful operations. i can't do it without my staff. and they can't do it without me.
we are a team.

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