Sunday, March 9, 2008

Starbucks Watch

My adventures in re-trained Starbucks continued, yesterday. I went to two, count'em TWO, Starbucks. I hit the Warwick Rt. 2 location, in the big-ass plaza with Best Buy, and the Lincoln Mall location. The Warwick location gave me a decent cappuccino, but the Lincoln location, picture shown, was the only one to provide well-steamed milk. The espressi were good in both drinks, probably a result of now only pulling doubles and throwing away unnecessary shots. I'm still unimpressed with whatever training they gave since I'm still seeing spooning and have yet to get a cappuccino or latte free-poured with the silken foam indicative of a well-trained barista. As it stands, the best Starbucks drink I've had post-sessions was at a nested location which didn't receive the training. This is a problem for Starbucks. If I was in Starbucks position, I'd keep people an extra hour every day, or during slow hours, and just train like they've never trained before. Multiple hours every week, learning the fluid hand motions required to steam well and pour correctly. Purposely pull shit espresso and teach the employees to detect bad shots with their eyes and nose. Have them drink so much coffee that they don't sleep until New Years. I think the most important thing Starbucks can do is encourage their employees to become experts on coffee and its preparation. Produce a company newsletter dedicated to the gourmet aspect of coffee and espresso. Discuss preparation, review beans, review machines that Starbucks doesn't even sell. Integrate the employees with the world of coffee. And make sure to compensate those employees that do well with higher pay. Make it worth their while.

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