(Customer at the counter of Cosmic Coffee)
Hey there Coffee Addicts and happy Sunday! This week has been packed for the team and we are really looking forward to this long weekend. We hope y’all have enjoyed a productive, fulfilling week yourselves.
Recently, as we’ve been visiting our favorite shops, chatting with baristas, and even as part of our team has been hard at work serving coffee working behind the counter, we’ve been thinking about all of the ways our interactions as customers can impact the environment of the shops we visit. The energy we bring and the respect we give to those around us, from fellow customers, baristas, and other service industry staff, everything matters.
This week, we’ve decided to tackle some of the best ways that we, as customers, can make our favorite shops a welcoming place and just be a polite customer overall. We did our research, brought our firsthand experiences as baristas, and even asked service industry workers around us what makes a difference.
(Front counter of Vitality Roasting)
Before you visit a shop, do your research! Check their website so you know their hours and get a general idea of what to expect. Is this going to a quiet shop? Will there be seating for you? All of these questions ensure that you, as a customer, are going into this experience with a clear image in mind and don’t end up frustrated, buying something you didn’t want in an environment you didn’t expect.
Once you’re at a shop, take time to look over the menu. If it’s busy, try to stay out of the way of incoming traffic. This will help the flow of the shop, ensuring that not only the baristas working are happy but also all of your fellow customers. No one wants to rush you, so simply step out of line and take time to decide on what you want.
(Customers ordering at the front counter of FRGMNT, North Loop)
It’s always a good rule to try to have an idea of what you want in mind before you approach the counter. Hot or iced, a milk alternative, a size, all of those details are important. However, along with that, baristas are happy to give you advice. They know their menu best and if you’re lost, don’t be afraid to ask! If the shop is quiet, lots of baristas love to give recommendations and make something for you that they think you’ll enjoy based on your preferences.
If a shop is quiet, many baristas love to chat with their customers. If you’re interested, feel free to strike up a conversation! As Grace, one of our team members told us, the best part of her job is getting to build relationships with customers. On the other hand, if a shop is busy and there’s a line, understand that your barista may not have time or the ability to chat with you in that manner.
When you’re ordering, make sure to use polite language. Be patient with the staff, not all drinks are the same at every shop. If you’re a usual starbucks go-er, there’s a good chance that your usual drink is called something else at a local shop. Make sure to be clear about what you would like, and be kind. These little interactions are remembered by baristas almost universally.
(Funny, and true, cafe tip jar)
This is where things get tricky. There’s a lot of debate on whether or not to tip your barista and if so, how much. An easy rule of thumb: tip. You don’t know how much any employee is making and how much their tips contribute to their well-being. As stated in an article by Food & Wine, one barista’s tips allowed her to smoothly make it through University. This just goes to show how big of an impact a single dollar in the jar can make.
While many baristas say tips aren’t expected, as written in an article by Food Network, a little tip can bring “infinite goodwill”. As one barista put it, this little token of appreciation from a customer can carry over to the rest of a worker’s day. This ensures not only above and beyond service for the customer who tips, but everyone following them as well.
If you’ve ever wondered if baristas notice whether you tip or not, they do. 100% of the time. In a piece by Food & Wine, this is clearly stated by one barista, saying “I always notice…If someone gets just a small coffee, I definitely still notice when they don’t tip…There are some regulars who never tip, and I’m just like, ‘Why?’”.
How Much to Tip
As to how much, that doesn’t seem to make as much of a difference. Even just your spare change counts. As one barista said in the same Food & Wine article, “I just turn all the change into dollars. It’s better than nothing”. Overall, baristas don’t only notice and appreciate when you tip, it directly affects their life and the kind of customer service they can provide.
If you’re still on the fence, consider it this way. If a barista doesn’t make anything in tips, and as a result barely makes enough money to pay their rent, how are they supposed to afford quality food to eat, or good shoes to wear while standing all day, or reliable transportation to get to work? All of these things impact the kind of service a worker is able to provide for you, the customer. Not to mention, baristas are also at higher risk for repetitive stress related injuries in their hands and elbows, as stated in an article by the Food Network. Your tip can impact all of these things and simply make everyone’s life a little easier.
(Cozy corner left perfectly clean at Ninas Coffee)
When it’s your time to leave a shop, make sure to check a couple things on your way out. Did you clean up your space? Is there an area for you to bus your dishes? If you’re confused about this, baristas always appreciate you simply asking. Do you have all of your belongings?
On your way out, baristas always notice if you say goodbye or thank you. Even these little interactions can truly go a long way. Being a polite customer always pays off. As said in an article by HYKEN, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
There you have it 16ozDays family, some super easy, actionable ways to be a better customer. Making sure you’re a polite patron will only create a kinder world, and a friendlier cafe. If you have any questions about these tips and tricks, feel free to reach out to us @ 16ozDays on instagram or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another great way to support your favorite local cafes and us is to join our Coffee Club! Not only does joining our membership provide you with 10% off all drinks at participating locations, you’re also helping to support some of the best cafes in the Twin Cities. We even wrote a post on the benefits of our program last week which you can read here: Inside the Coffee Club Membership. For more information, check out this page on the Coffee Club. As always, thanks for being here, have a great week, and don’t forget to tip your barista.