You have a very ambitious employee. But, he's arrogant. Ok, you say he's a sweet boy, right? Sweet boy's don't go over their superiors. He's probably nice about it to you, feigning sovereignty, but in his mind, he is taking you back to school. He's disrespecting you. So you. You gotta take it back to him, but more in a "if you don't chill out, you're getting the back-door treatment." He's acting childish. So, he needs a spanking. If he takes the discipline well, then that will open up an opportunity for you influence him in kindness, and then you can set up goals for him to follow to be a better team player.
He may be good leadership down the road. So, he's definitely worth keeping. But, in my experience, the best kind of leaders will always be patient enough to serve underneath someone else. I'm the boss at my store, but I answer to a higher authority.
There seems to be a lot of variables in play with this situation. He's super ambitious which is good. But he's moving in the worst direction he could point that ambition, which is insubordination. It will kill him. Disciplining him harshly will be doing him a favor.
You also seem to be more in tune with the owners vision. He hired you because he trusts that you can follow through with what he wants and see's for the store. But this boy that you hired, it doesn't seem that he see's the same vision as the owner, at least not in the right order or detail. Help the kid see the progression that the store needs to take. If he can't cool his jets, then let him go on his way and be a lone wolf.
I took over the store from another owner, but I made the mistake of keeping on a lot of the old staff. They where constantly going against things that I wanted them to do. In their minds, I was wrong, and they where right. This is how people "want" it for them. But, it wasn't my vision they where following. They where chasing another former owners dream. An owner, mind you, that was not successful in the business. I sat them down at some point for each of them, and explained why their drink making wasn't profitable for the business. But they where so set in their old ways, that even after I attempted to pound the truth into their brains, they still where convinced that they where right. One of them got so bad, that after I told them no on some changes they asked for, they went around me, an owner, to another owner and asked the same question. In which case, we fired her. Because that's manipulative, and selfish, and not conducive to the team.
I hope you can figure out a way to salvage this person. But based on my personal experience, the least difficult option is to kick him out and get someone who is way easier to work with. My rule of hiring is, if I want a respectful, punctual, content, and hard-working individual at my store, then I need to find people that have all of those characteristics before I hire them.
I hope I was helpful
I have definitely run into similar situations. My advice, take it with a grain of salt:
-Be up front with him about the situation and your expectations. Everything after that is his decision.
-Be clear that you're open to examining techniques, but that there is a company standard that all baristas should be following on the floor. I have found that the majority of these kinds of problems can be solved by showing very firmly that there ARE standards and a chain of command, and there is a way to work within that system to improve it. He may just feel like he's flailing at a broken or nonexistent system, and will chill out if he sees the outlines better.
-While people with coffee knowledge/passion are fantastic, particularly when you're in an area with a very low specialty quotient, coffee-making skills are the LEAST important prerequisite for a floor employee IMHO. You can teach any bright interested person to make good coffee. If this person can't follow directions and work well with you, serve your customers the way you want, it doesn't matter how into coffee he is. The last thing you need is someone undermining you, possibly spreading negative vibes and their own standards to other employees or your customers.
Remind him that maybe his training and expertise in "Bathroom Cleaning 101" is faulty... and he needs a two week reminder.
Personally, I'd have fired him. Trust your skills. YOU can always train someone to be a good barista...getting a headstrong barista to un-learn his method is not worth the headache. And, I've gotta say, sixteen months? He needs to get real.
Welcome to the world of management. First it is your responsibility to make it clear to Jon, or any employee under your supervision, what your and the companies expectations and guideliness are not just in beverage preparation but also information and decision making flow. Sit down one on one and let him know it is not appropriate for him to be correcting something you say or do with another employee. Approaching you in private is one thing, in public quite another. Make it a verbal warning and document it for your records. Let him know the next warning will be in writing. Make it very clear you are his supervisor and he is the subordinate.
We hire all new employees on a 60 day probation basis. I just had to let a similar sounding barista go after 3 weeks. Yes he had very good beverage skills but he was unteachable and did not work well as a team player with our other baristas. Contrast him with another new hire that had zero previous barista experience but seemed to have the "person" qualities we were looking for. One week left on her 60 day probation. She works well with others, has learned manual pour bar quickly, in general fast learner, great with customers, rest of staff enjoy working with her, is getting there learning fast on espresso machine already pulling very good shots and even steaming for very acceptable cappuccinos. It'll still be a goodly spell before she ready to "solo" but we have high standards! We're pretty sure she's a keeper.
Just think of you when you were younger and starting out in the coffee industry. How would you like to be treated and what way would you take it best?
Ah, to be young, barely with a scrap of knowledge and arrogant in the business once again...
Lots of great advice given already. The truth is: I can train any monkey to make decent coffee. What I cannot train is a sense of responsibility, reliability, ownership and empathy for others. Those are the qualities I'm interested when hiring.
The simplest route is to fire the guy. Cut him loose. The last thing you need in your operations at this early stage is someone mucking up the works. He's young in the business, which is why he's lured by the flash of a "new" espresso grinder. Doesn't understand the dynamics of expense v. revenue. People with experience can be a boon, but they can also be a burden - especially when they want to bring their own standards to your operations.