Use the Hiring Process to Your advantage When Opening a Coffee Shop

Management

When starting a coffee shop, if you are an absentee owner or want to pass the management to a dedicated manager they will need to have the authority to hire, fire, purchase and possibly sign checks.  You will also have to pay them what most owners make in a year in order for them to take on the responsibility of the entire shop.  In order to get and retain an excellent and proven manager, the salary should be competitive and quite possibly include some perks.  Pay in the $35-50,000 per year range is not uncommon depending on your [anticipated] volume.  If you do not have the volume to have a dedicated manager then obviously the business may be something you should manage yourself unless you are focusing on other things.  However you will need a moderate to high volume shop to justify a dedicated and passionate manager. 

When you are interviewing for management for your coffee shop start-up, look at their previous employment and see any patterns, positive and negative.  Is their work history short and choppy without good reasons like moving out of the area or going back to school?  Contact their previous employers to confirm the accuracy of past jobs.  Ask for references and check them out. 

Is your manager going to also buy coffee beans for your store?  Are they going to buy food products and your other stock?  Decide what their responsibilities are going to be and plan accordingly.

They have to be worth their pay in every way but be careful not to mingle.  Let them manage, unless of course things are not progressing as they should, then intervene.  But, if you take any of the authority away or override their authority, they will quit.  Well, at least the good ones will.  Of course you have to make them 100% accountable for your business and their mistakes, but you hired them to manage so let them manage.

Employees

As in management, you need to be sure you find the right employee each time you hire someone when you are opening a coffee shop.  Be sure you know ‘who’ you want.  Are you looking for high school students?  What about a college student?  How about more mature employees?  Bottom line is you get what you pay for.  Sometimes you need to pay above the going rate in order to get good employees.  Try to make your place the most desirable place to work at and word will spread.

Bringing all candidates in twice is really the best option.  If at all possible have two people you’re your business meet and interview the candidate.

Only hire people that you want to keep working for you for the long term.  Make every expectation very clear up front.  All guidelines should be made clear and enforced adequately. 

Small perks to show gratitude for their service will be a plus.  Will you give them coffee beans?  Will they get a discount on other products?  Free products or an incentive program?  Be sure to have all these thoughts finalized before you start interviewing.

As we talked about earlier, check references and their prior employment to see if they worked a lot of jobs for a short time.  Starting a coffee shop is not the easiest task however implementing a hiring and employee retention strategy will make things easier in the long run.

My name is Tony DiCorpo, and I am a coffee roaster, coffee shop business consultant and barista trainer.  I am a coffee shop business consultant and have an eBook on how to start a coffee shop.  I also own Troubadour Coffee Roasting Co. where I sell coffee and espresso equipment and where you can buy gourmet coffee beans online.


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