Owning a coffee shop can be a lot of fun for you and your team. However, if you have never had training as a barista, it is important to learn how to make the drinks correctly and fast. This will ensure that every customer is helped quickly and as fast as the machines can go.
The average barista can make one latte or other drink in 1.5-2.0 minutes. The entire process from ordering, to making the drink, to serving the drink should take four minutes at most. This ensures customer happiness and loyalty.
Now, when anyone first tries out at a new job, they will be much longer than average. That is because they are new. You will want to be sure that your new employees start during the slow times to fully understand and learn how to make the drinks. This is a crucial step to going fast and being unstoppable during service.
How Fast Does the Average Barista Move?
Baristas are trained to be incredibly fast, but they never start that way. It takes time to learn where everything is and the recipes. This can be the most challenging thing to start with. There is a chance your coffee shop will have many different sizes to choose from, all requiring different size shots and syrup pumps, and it is a lot to learn. When a barista is first starting, it can take as long as 5 minutes to push out an order, which is okay. It is essential to be patient.
As baristas gain experience, they will learn to time things out naturally. If someone orders a sandwich, heat it before the drink. They will learn the shots take 20-30 seconds to pour, and the milk takes 45 seconds to steam, and they can do this as the sandwich heats. This will help it all go out at once. As your baristas get faster, you will see them push out an order in two to three minutes. That is impressive!
How Long Is Too Long?
Anything above a few minutes will end with bad results. If you are continually having people wait in line for over nine minutes, that is too long for a fast-paced coffee shop. This also means that you need to put a faster barista on the bar to push out drinks. During rushes, it is not a good idea to have the newest hire for making drinks.
If the wait time is too long, this could have dire consequences. You may end up getting several bad reviews that will affect your rating on search engines. There is a high chance of customer complaints that take you away from helping the line. The worst is when a barista is jammed and trying to go faster, they end up making more mistakes. It is essential to have your most experienced barista on the line during a rush. This will ensure speed and quality drinks.
How Fast Should Service Be At Your Coffee Shop?
It is okay to have a slower-paced coffee shop. However, the general rule for coffee shops is that it takes more than a few minutes to serve one latte that is too long. Your customers may want their cappuccino in a ceramic mug at their favorite table or bean bag chair. That does not mean you can keep them waiting.
If your customers decide to sit down and stay. Get them their drinks first and then the food as it is done. It is never okay to keep anyone waiting, even if there is a massive rush. Be sure to keep everything organized and get drinks out in a first-come, first-serve manner.
Learn more about training your employees HERE!
Tips to Help Wait Times
Customers will understand when there is a rush, but you can do things to help speed up customer wait times. When you have over twenty drinks, the wait times will be longer. However, there is no excuse for one drink to take five minutes. Here are some tips to help during wait times.
- Communicate with your customers that there are people in front of them and give them an accurate wait time before purchasing anything. This should only be done if you have two people on duty and more than 8 hot drinks.
- Be sure to set clear expectations with your other baristas. Ensure that the correct drinks go to the right person for delicious results. If anyone rushes, gets the recipe wrong, there is a higher chance the drink will come back. That will not help the rush.
- Allow your customers to order beforehand. This can be done online or through a mobile app. They can order it, set a time to pick it up, and pay for it in advance. This will help wait times drastically.
Effective Training Methods to Help Speed Up Baristas
Everyone will have their own routine, and it is important to allow them to have those routines because it will help with their speed. You will want to determine how your team is run and how many people will be working. Will there be two or more people on a shift?
You will need to decide if you would like your cafe to have a cashier, a barista on the bar, one barista on cold drinks, and one for food. However, if you do not have a huge team like that, you can do one cashier who also does food and one person on all drinks. This will help limit labor costs but might involve more wait time in foods. Here are some more tips to keep in mind.
Keep syrups in the same order always. It doesn’t matter if it is by fruit flavors, nut flavors, alphabetical, or most popular. This will help your baristas learn where all of the flavors are and help them understand where everything is. This can be a huge help.
There should be several pitchers labeled with milk types on the counter. This should be next to the hot bar for all lattes and hot drinks, making them easy to grab and go.
There are tools, stirrers, and more than every barista should know how to use. Teach them how to scoop foam quickly for cappuccinos and other drinks.
Understand how to teach your baristas about foam. If someone asks for no foam, they can steam the milk to have less foam. Whereas if someone wants an extra dry cappuccino, they will need to steam the milk differently. Steaming milk is just as important as pouring shots.
Teach them to steam milk, cue shots, pump syrups, and pour it together. Teach them the steps to make the drinks first. Have every barista perfect their routine of making drinks, and then you can add in the food during the next training step.
Have the most common recipes somewhere easy to read. It will help them learn what the most popular item is at the store and will allow them to see it easily.
Though many times, only one person will be on the bar, training them to work in two’s when it is too busy, having double the baristas are better. This will allow a slower person to watch the faster person and understand what they can do better.
As you become a better owner and a better barista, you will find your own tips about helping your baristas speed up. In return, all of these tips and tricks you teach your team will help provide faster customer service.
Your customers should never wait for more than a few minutes. If you are planning on serving full meals like a cafe, you will want to let your customers know how long it takes to make and serve. It is important to be honest about wait times if there are any because most customers are understanding. Fast service is admired in the coffee shop industry, and you should strive for that as a business owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
A person with no experience in the food industry will take longer to train. Generally, it takes up to three months to prepare a barista. The training period will be dependent on the menu size and learning style of the trainee.
The hardest part of being a barista is learning routines and recipes. It is not overly difficult to be a barista, but it does take work. As a barista, you will be working with people in a fast-paced environment and on your feet for several hours.
As an owner, you will hire baristas that fit with the environment you have. The qualities of a good barista are:
● Fast Acting
● Good Communication
Many personality traits will be suited for this type of job. Depending on your cafe will determine the type of team you want.
To learn more on how to start your own coffee shop checkout my startup documents here
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!