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I don't want to become just another Starbucks or Coffee Club!

Hi there all!

I am a Barista working in a fairly popular cafe in Rockhampton Queensland, we serve Toby's Estate coffee and are known as one of the best coffee shops in town.  I have done my accreditation at Toby's in Sydney and am very passionate about my coffee, I am definitely becoming a Coffee Geek!  Unfortunately we have had a lot of drama over the past few months, with new owners coming on board in the next few weeks.
I'm feeling worried that a new staff member has come along with many more years experience than I have, however thought it was ok to tell me that it takes a number of hours for oxygen to effect ground coffee, and had never heard of a gasket brush!  He seems to think he will fix the way we do things, to make it more like starbucks (where he has managed in London). I'm worried that I won't get taken seriously next to someone with many more years on me. 

I don't have 10 years experience behind me, but I have passion and that should count for something right!?

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Hi Alison,

The arrival of new owners and staff members always brings hesitation amongst existing staff members. I was on the other end of the stick when I came in as a new owner with my brother Dave, into cafes that had been running for a year or so with the same staff. Those staff members had put up a barrier before we arrived and it took a few weeks to whittle that barrier down when the staff realised that we were nice guys and also passionate about our coffee. Sure we wanted to change some things, but we did not propose to do this overnight. A new owner has often purchased the business seeing an opportunity to improve it, to realise a "hidden value" that the previous owner did not exploit. There will be things that are changed and this is to be expected.

A cunning new owner though, will tread carefully so as not to alienate staff and as importantly - existing clients - who might have liked the way things were.

My humble advice to you with the new staff member is to take it all on board but let the new owners direct the way in which the coffee is made. A new staff member with such firm views may well self-destruct. Unfortunately, often the best bet is to grin and bear it but ultimately take your direction from the owners, not a renegade barista who may (or probably not) know it all.

Hope this helps, Matt
Thanks Matt,

I completely agree about what you said on exploiting "hidden value" when new owners walk in to a business, and I can see an awful lot that I would love to see happen as well. I think of the business as my own and I want to see it come to its full potential. Hopefully the new owners are going to take on board what we can see happening with the place, and ask what has and hasn't worked in the past.

I guess I'm just a little worried, I don't want to see everything that we have done go to waste. We know what works and what doesn't, and do things for a certain reason, I hope they don't try to change too much too soon.

Its just going to be a wait and see game I guess. Will all be worth while though I'm sure, all a learning experience = )

Thanks again,


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