my current barista setup looks like this: 14 shifts a week, 645a-2p and 2p-915p each day. my good friend dave and i handle the first half of the week, and my two newest employees (keith and amy, both great baristi) handle the last half, with me around to float in the mornings most days. today i wasn't available in the morning and keith got slammed. the friday/saturday/sunday block tends to be pretty busy in the morning, and since i work monday/wednesday and float for dave tuesday/thursday, i was considering hiring a non-barista to run the register, brew airpots, wash dishes, etc. from 8a-12p friday/saturday/sunday at a slightly lower pay rate. really all they'd need is the ability to be cheerful, intuitive, and follow instructions. the idea would also be that eventually they might get barista training. so a couple questions:

1) have other shops had luck hiring employees at a lower pay grade to do these jobs? high schoolers, etc?

2) do these employees run a good chance of turning into qualified baristi down the road, provided they're trained properly?

any thoughts would be appreciated!

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At our shop you are automatically hired on as Cashier/Barback only. When you are comfortable enough, you are then given Barista-Training. We haven't had any issues with the cashiers becoming upset over pay; they even ENJOY the fact that they aren't immediately thrown on machine. It gives them time to adapt to the store and the various duties.
for use at our shop!!! we limite the number of barista . we are about to make a 3/12 ship for barista juste so we limite the number of staff making coffee and control the quality event more. No mather how hard you try it is very hard to be consitent on shot betwen all you staff! so event when we are super busy only few staff can make the shot or steam the milk then if we need help we train our staff to stay the other side and pour there milk thenj deliver. i find out that is easyer to train staff to have a nice pour then try to have alway a nice shoot event when its busy.
quality and consitency is the key for us!!!
This is a great way to get a new employee learning the ropes in a shop. It takes care of an immediate staffing need for you, lets you train at a more relaxed pace, and gives you a good opportunity to further evaluate a new employee before investing lots of energy training them on bar.

This was the way my first manager hired me and every un-experienced employee. It is also kind of the way we've hired recently, though I believe we pay the same.

You'll want to make sure that you are very clear about the position, the potential for advancement, and the steps required for advancement. If you are hiring someone just to fill cashier role for a longer time period, communicate this clearly. You may well find that your candidates really want to work bar - they may focus on the "maybe move to bar down the road" part, and bug you about moving onto bar until that happens. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as you don't mind working another barista into the schedule at some point... but if you really just want a cashier, be very clear about this upfront.

Hope this helps.
After giving this some thought I believe that the person working the cash register/POS should be just as knowledgeable as the rest of the team simply because this is the person dealing directly with the customer. Maybe have an experience barista, or yourself for that matter, jump on the register to promote business and higer a "floater" or "prep" that cleans or helps the staff behind the bar prepare drinks (ice, cup label, syrups, pick up).
I think that it could actually slow or harm a store if you don't have the right person on register. Just throwing it out there to think about....
I think that sentiment makes sense. The cashier needs to understand the full lineup, know the menu, and be able to speak to the current offerings. However, they do not need the execution skills for bar work. That's why this is a great starting position - you have to work to be able to learn the job , demonstrate that you can be trained, and retain what you are taught. If you can't learn the lineup, you'll never make it on bar... especially since in many environments the barista must be both at least some of the time.

So, just as knowledgeable? Yes... Just as skilled on bar? Not necessarily.
I know that at our shop here in Atlanta Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, as well as over at Octane, you're not put on bar until you're certified, which means that you have to be that initial role at first, working to the barista position. Works out fine, and gives them initiative to get better and learn more.

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