When Business is crazy busy, I'll steam in a bigger pitcher, then pour the appropriate amount of steamed milk into a preheated 20 ounce pitcher to do my art. I am self taught and never received any tips on what to do. What does everyone else do when the line is out the door and up to 18 drinks on an order?

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Well, we are lucky enough to be very "sit-in." Probably 90% of our product goes into a ceramic mug, but at the same time we are a restaurant and will have a 12-top walk in sometimes (similar to Deferio's situation sounds like...). Even worse/better (depends on how you look at it) is that we also are a live music venue (every night) and 15 minutes before the show starts we'll have 75 people walk through the door. There is no way to "handle" 75 people in line at once except to move as quickly as possible without getting flustered and do it right the first time. Yeah it's annoying (and yet fun at the same time) to have to fling drinks out in 40-50 second intervals, but it's SO much more annoying to have a drink that you know was sub par come back. In our shop, without art (or at least a valid attempt) doesn't happen. We always, ALWAYS, stick by one rule: If that drink could have been made better, don't put it on the window. Period. I don't care if I have 35 people in line... sub par is sub par. If there are 35 people in line it would be stupid for them to think they are going to have a drink in their hands in under 4 minutes. They know there is going to be a wait and as long as they see drinks are going out at a pretty fast pace then they can just relax for a second. We can only do so much, they should know that (yeah, we all know "that" customer doesn't, but whatever...)

But yeah... getting back on track a little: Pouring should be done into a cup, otherwise you are just pouring twice, which takes twice as long (weird to think like that, but it's true, time it). You shouldn't let a shot sit while a giant pitcher of milk is steaming up, so steaming big shouldn't help you get ahead. Have the person running register drain the line and get your "system" for lining up drinks going and then have them jump on bar and crank out some milk (or shots... or something). One person should be prepping cups (sauce, syrup, etc) and milk pitchers, one person "on portafilter", one person "on wand" and serving/shouting out the drinks.

HTH
-bry
Amen!
You know...we all should take a page from the restaurant play book...specifically the concept of Kitchen Brigade system...basically...a line of ranked chefs on the line cooking different or prepping different parts of one plate...with a crew of four you can feed a full restaurant and turn over tables to boot.
Baristas are VERY bad at being prepared...I would like to see Gordon Ramsey style inspections on some of these bars!
Bryan, good on you for high standards...our severs were trained that if they even saw a spot on the side of the cup we missed they would return it to us to wipe it off before serving....perfect.
I would hire a well trained line cook with zero coffee experience over a highly experienced barista who shuns efficiency and preparedness.


Bryan Wray said:
Well, we are lucky enough to be very "sit-in." Probably 90% of our product goes into a ceramic mug, but at the same time we are a restaurant and will have a 12-top walk in sometimes (similar to Deferio's situation sounds like...). Even worse/better (depends on how you look at it) is that we also are a live music venue (every night) and 15 minutes before the show starts we'll have 75 people walk through the door. There is no way to "handle" 75 people in line at once except to move as quickly as possible without getting flustered and do it right the first time. Yeah it's annoying (and yet fun at the same time) to have to fling drinks out in 40-50 second intervals, but it's SO much more annoying to have a drink that you know was sub par come back. In our shop, without art (or at least a valid attempt) doesn't happen. We always, ALWAYS, stick by one rule: If that drink could have been made better, don't put it on the window. Period. I don't care if I have 35 people in line... sub par is sub par. If there are 35 people in line it would be stupid for them to think they are going to have a drink in their hands in under 4 minutes. They know there is going to be a wait and as long as they see drinks are going out at a pretty fast pace then they can just relax for a second. We can only do so much, they should know that (yeah, we all know "that" customer doesn't, but whatever...)

But yeah... getting back on track a little: Pouring should be done into a cup, otherwise you are just pouring twice, which takes twice as long (weird to think like that, but it's true, time it). You shouldn't let a shot sit while a giant pitcher of milk is steaming up, so steaming big shouldn't help you get ahead. Have the person running register drain the line and get your "system" for lining up drinks going and then have them jump on bar and crank out some milk (or shots... or something). One person should be prepping cups (sauce, syrup, etc) and milk pitchers, one person "on portafilter", one person "on wand" and serving/shouting out the drinks.

HTH
-bry

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