Mike was sitting in the drive thru at a coffee kiosk recently. You know the kind with drive up windows on both sides of what is, basically, a small hut. There’s no place to sit inside, just a bench outside and no window for walk-up customers. It’s designed for speed and efficiency. Well, in theory at least.
The barista should never have to leave the area to fix a drink, having everything within arm’s reach. And it’s manned, ideally, by two baristas- one for each side. Mike sat for seven minutes at one of the windows. Three other cars came and left on the other side while he was there.
He did all the usual tricks you could think of- wave, move the car forward and back, and try to call out through the crack in the window. All to no avail. An employee even came out the back door to dump some trash, look at him in his car, and go back inside. The same employee looked around the barista area, didn’t mention Mike, and went to the back.
And sure, in his defense, he probably thought Mike was already being served. But if this was your shop, that you owned, that you had to borrow, beg and steal start up cash for to open- would you just walk by the window? Would you check in and say hello? Would you ask him if he’s been helped and thank him for coming by?
I think you probably would. I think if you were invested in the company, the process, and the success of the brand, you would check. You wouldn’t ignore someone for that long. It wouldn’t take you 15 minutes to get someone a drink. It wouldn’t. You have too much tied up in your investment.
So, when it comes to employees, why do we give mediocre service? Why do we not fight tooth and nail for each-and-every sale? Because it’s not our business. Really good employees reach down into the hidden depths of their motivational hearts and take ownership of a business that is not their own. They’re hard to find, and even harder to keep.
What alienates these employees? When their opinions are not valued, their input is not received, and their knowledge is not taken into consideration. When they’re told, in effect, to “sit down, shut up, and just do your job,” they quit with their hearts. They might still show up, but they stopped caring.
It’s more than just pay. You’ve been paid more at a job you hated than the one you’re at now. I’m almost willing to guarantee it. You’re looking for meaning, for value, and for influence.
They don’t care anymore because they’ve been ignored for too long. Maybe you just needed “somebody” to work as a barista. But many of the shops I visit are hiring. Dutch Bros, with their eccentric demeanor and loud music is working it. They’re employees are passionate. They have a future with the company- a plan to own their own franchise if they so choose. Put in the work, and you’ll be rewarded- with responsibility and the ability to make your own way. That’s powerful.
Some of the baristas out there aren’t trustworthy enough with their current job to be entrusted with leadership or ownership of something valuable. And if that’s the case, why are you hiring them?