Hey guys!

Okay, so this one is might be a bit contraversial but we'll see where it goes.
I was talking to some of my staff & a couple of other friends of mine who are in the trade the other day and we got onto the topic of "which sex is best", the usual banter rolls around but then we did get into a fairly deep conversion throwing in various pro's and con's to have male or female baristas. (girls rock btw...hehe). 

Things like sex appeal, confidence and even work ethics came about and it was a nice thing to think about after the comedy value was fulfilled...lol

I'd just like to ask you guys what you think. I know that i'm good at what i do, and so are all the ladies i've worked with. But i hire and work with gents who are amazing at what they do too. Also, do you think its a guy trade or a girl trade - i notice on my FB account there are a huge amount of guy baristas???

Opinons guys & gals?...hehe
Kim xx

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any traits or qualitites you could assign to guys or girls could be easily debunked. I'm a guy with many traits that someone from a previous generation would consider "feminine," and my female wife has many that would have been called "masculine." These differences are social constructs and have no basis in our postmodern reality. We're all a little queer, and that's ok. Actually, it's great.

So, start thinking in terms of the qualities you want out of your Baristas and find People with those traits. My espresso is sexless, and as long as it tastes great, I don't care who made it (unless they had a bad attitude, but that's another trait i'd avoid when hiring).

a little personal opinion - if sex appeal even enters into the conversation, perhaps it's time to cup some new coffees or undergo some barista trainings to improve the quality of the product.
Will has it right, if the focus is on the "hot barista" or frankly, on the ugly barista... you're doing it wrong. The focus should be on the coffee. Qualities? Professional, passionate, humble, willing to continuously improve their craft. No wannabe hipsters who think a certain "look" makes them a cool hire. Hire someone who shares and follows your core values and represents the company best in a professional manner.
Yay! im liking the lack of sexism there guys, gone straight into the sensible stuff! :)
So here's another little question, because (although i dont condone it) sex sell (FACT). Do you think people hire certain staff because of the fact sex sells? its been done as we know, but is it done on a slightly lesser scale than bikini baristas
Also, what about the baristas persona, maybe a charismatic and charming (not saying they're a stunner) barista would be seen as more employable than a moody/ grumpy one with more barista skills?
Do you think coffee shop owners hire baristas/staff that may not necessarily have the best coffee preparing skills
but that are perhaps better sales people due to their personalities?

hehe, a few things to think about eh? i like a nice little debate.

Kim xx
p.s - please don't start barking at me, i'm asking the questions - it doesn't mean this is my opinion.
Being charismatic and charming is the minimum requirement. Barista skills can all be learnt while the personal characteristics are largely set in stone after a certain age. The last thing that industry (or I myself, having hard time separating these two) needs is another insecure barista trying boost his/her self confidence by making espresso look insanely hard where it actually isn't.



Kim Sammons said:
Also, what about the baristas persona, maybe a charismatic and charming (not saying they're a stunner) barista would be seen as more employable than a moody/ grumpy one with more barista skills?


Kim Sammons said:
Yay! im liking the lack of sexism there guys, gone straight into the sensible stuff! :)
So here's another little question, because (although i dont condone it) sex sell (FACT). Do you think people hire certain staff because of the fact sex sells? its been done as we know, but is it done on a slightly lesser scale than bikini baristas
Also, what about the baristas persona, maybe a charismatic and charming (not saying they're a stunner) barista would be seen as more employable than a moody/ grumpy one with more barista skills?
Do you think coffee shop owners hire baristas/staff that may not necessarily have the best coffee preparing skills
but that are perhaps better sales people due to their personalities?

hehe, a few things to think about eh? i like a nice little debate.

Kim xx
p.s - please don't start barking at me, i'm asking the questions - it doesn't mean this is my opinion.

I think they do for sure, I know my old boss did hire based on sex appeal, and she would take a major favor to girls over guys. But the people who do do this I think are just looking for other way to sell their product because very likely (and how it was where I worked) they're product isn't good enough to keep people coming back for that. So I guess I've seen it done, but have noticed it's only the low-to mediocre shops that do it and any of the ones that are about product quality hire passion instead.
I know this isn't answering your questions directly, but I just wanted to say that I appreciate working in coffee shops where there is a balance between male and female...it doesn't have to be an even ratio, just some sort of ratio to balance each other out.
I'm glad no one took my opinions as an attack...

So, yes, sex sells... an absolut (chuckle) fact. Even the hint at a sexy shape helps something to sell better. And at that point, a business owner or product manufacturer has to decide how many lines they're willing to cross to sell their product. An ethical decision more than anything else.

There are some chefs out there who believe ugly people should not serve food. To me, that's offensive, and to others it makes sense (different strokes, right?). What happens when this sort of thinking pervades, though, is that you're cutting out a large swath of your potential customers. I'd imagine that the majority of bikini espresso customers are swarthy working-class dudes and very few women. Since women make up about 52% of the population, that's half of your potential customers you're walling off, not to mention children's beverages (would you drive thru with a 10-year old?). Also, harassment suits go up in establishments that are more "sexy"-oriented, along with just overall creepiness in the customer base. I've even noticed more barista complaints about harassment when there are more "cute" baristas working the bar than usual.

Really, the choice is just about how comfortably one sits with their ethical decision. If it's no bother, and the "sex sells" approach makes the owner a millionaire, what's to stop them? Go for it. On the other hand, if it's dredging up feelings of uncertainty and ethical quandary-ing, perhaps a more wholesome, family-friendly model is up your alley.
I always try to make a parallel with food here. There's the thought, even though it may be modernly antiquated, that cooking is the woman's job; yet the majority of world class chefs are men. I see this kind of trend in coffee. I just think that this is one of the basic differences in the sexes. Men like to cultivate and try to perfect, we see something and try to make it better. This is not to say that a woman cannot exude this quality, it's just to say that men seem to exhibit it more often and at a greater intensity. I work and own a coffee kiosk, I can't tell you how many guys come up to the drive through and ask me where the pretty young girl is. I have no problem when these people don't come back as they aren't there for the quality of coffee. I know that if I hired a bunch of flirtatious girl baristas that I would probably triple my business easy, but this is not the road I want to go down. In hiring, one of the first things I look for is a passion for quality of coffee; obviously despite gender. But I do have to say that typically it's a guy who has this obsessive geeky coffee perfecting passion.
For a dude looking for a quick "pick-me-up" from a hot barista, a well pulled shot of SO Ethiopian Nekisse isn't gonna get his motor reving. Blueberries or not. ....and vise versa.

I will have to agree with the previous comments. Sexy and High Quality are different markets with different clientele. I'm not sure either have much currency in the other.


Gary T said:
I always try to make a parallel with food here. There's the thought, even though it may be modernly antiquated, that cooking is the woman's job; yet the majority of world class chefs are men. I see this kind of trend in coffee. I just think that this is one of the basic differences in the sexes. Men like to cultivate and try to perfect, we see something and try to make it better. This is not to say that a woman cannot exude this quality, it's just to say that men seem to exhibit it more often and at a greater intensity. I work and own a coffee kiosk, I can't tell you how many guys come up to the drive through and ask me where the pretty young girl is. I have no problem when these people don't come back as they aren't there for the quality of coffee. I know that if I hired a bunch of flirtatious girl baristas that I would probably triple my business easy, but this is not the road I want to go down. In hiring, one of the first things I look for is a passion for quality of coffee; obviously despite gender. But I do have to say that typically it's a guy who has this obsessive geeky coffee perfecting passion.

I see this more as a reflection of the industry than of that quality being masculine.
You're right, sex can sell just about anything. We've known that forever. That being said, visual appeal won't elevate the level of service or improve the quality of a product. Most likely, you'll only succeed in averting the attention of your customers away from these factors. To be frank, I'm disgusted with how openly suggestive some people believe they can speak to my female co-workers. I believe that stems from a lack of respect for our industry, where a barista is not seen as being a professional, but perhaps that's another area of discussion..
This may sound sexist, but here goes. As a manager I usually find female baristas more receptive to criticism. Often male baristas have more attitude when I tell them how I want something done. So since I get along better with the ladies I tend to hire more female baristas. Hmm could be that I have issues, but the important thing is that the shop runs well. Brendan

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