Trying to dole out lunch breaks and daily tasks isn’t always stressful. Between espresso shots pulling, sanitizer timers going off, and coffee expiring, it can be done. The crazy lady who orders the quad Venti iced Caramel Macchiato with three ice cubes is yelling into one ear while the phone is ringing off the hook. The woman on the phone insists on placing an order for her coffee because she is “on her way” and is running late to some appointment that is apparently so much more important than any of our other customers’. The phone rings again. This time, it’s one of the nighttime closers calling out of work because he took too many Advil and was feeling high in class. The barista knocks over a two-liter pitcher of bright pink passion tea, notorious for staining the tile floor and countertop, and proceeds to take a picture of it and then skid over it like a slip n’ slide.
“Oh hey, Ryan! ... clock out for your lunch break before you go into overtime”
Woman in the drive-thru pickup window rants and raves about how her order was wrong, and then orders five more Frappuccinos. The next two cars behind her complain relentlessly about how long they had to wait in line. For your information, it’s a drive thru (more like a sit-thru according to some). In the meantime, the customer at the cafe register refills her gift card with $300, and the lady behind her asks me if anyone has turned in her keys. She then (through rivers of tears of course) spills her life story on me and now I know way too much about this person I literally met not even three minutes ago.
It’s true I sell coffee. But, it’s so much more than that.
Not only do I prepare their beverage; I make them feel welcome and “at home.” I quickly learned that making a customer’s drink the “right” way didn’t mean ladening it with as much foam as I wanted to ... even if it was excellent foam. Making a drink the right way, means making the drink exactly the way the customer wants it. We pride ourself on legendary service, and as a barista, I therefore have learned to basically live and die by three little words: taste, speed and connect. Similar to FutureSense’s mantra “Thoughtful. Responsive. Authentic,” it’s all about the essence of the customer. It’s about being equipped to anticipate and upon observation, act quickly, precise, and with a truly genuine attitude. If a customer wants to talk, they linger. We know this. They take about a year to decide what they want to order. Their eyes pan the extensive menu of beverages behind me, as if they’ve never seen anything like it before in their lifetime. Making the decision between their usual Venti extra hot, extra foamy, extra caramelly Caramel Macchiato, and a Tall Café Latte, is a life-altering one. And when they finally leave their death stance in front of the register, their attention is completely on me, or so it feels. But it’s perfectly fine. I know I’ve done my job.