I have been a barista for almost a year now and I have worked in two different coffee shops each with a very different group of customers. Over the past year, I have seen a couple of customer behaviors that seem to get on the nerves of everyone I have worked with. I have also seen some behaviors that we really appreciate. Here are my top five of each.
Barista's usually hate it when...
#1 A Customer is on Their Phone While Ordering:
Now we don't mind if you excuse yourself from your phone conversation, put your phone down and order. But I have had people literally whisper their order to me so they wouldn't interrupt their phone conversation. If your phone conversation is that important please step out of line or wait until you are done on the phone before getting in line.
#2 Watch Them Make Your Drink:
I have had people watch my coworkers make their drinks and then tell them it is wrong as soon as it is handed to them. Standing at the end of the counter waiting for your drink is one thing but leaning on the counter staring at us as we make your drink is really distracting to us. Trust me we know what we are doing and how to make the drinks.
#3 You Order An Unfamiliar Drink and then Complain About It:
I cannot stand it when someone orders a drink they have never had before and then complains about how it tastes and then demand a refund or a replacement. I am more than happy to answer any questions about drinks that you may have and if you end up not liking it, politely ask for something else. So before you order something new, make sure you ask questions to see if it is going to be something you might like.
#4 Customers Try to Trick Us
I have had multiple instances where a customer has come back multiple times to complain about food that they have already half eaten, a drink that is half gone or told me something completely ridiculous, just to get a free replacement. Sometimes they will even come up to complain about the food or drink while still eating it. One woman came back with a banana that was 3/4 gone and told me that it was rotten, which it was not, and she wanted something else after she already taken a few bites out of a brownie that she felt was half-baked, again false. If there is something legitimately wrong with your order we are more than happy to do what we can to fix it.
#5 Customers Get Impatient:
Espresso drinks take a few minutes to make, coffee takes a few minutes to brew. We understand that you are in a rush and we are making your drink as fast as we can without making a mistake. We want to give you a good quality product for the money you paid and that may take a few minutes.
And now for the things baristas love
Baristas love it when customers:
#1 Are Friendly:
Chances are we have been standing in the same tiny bar for a few hours so when a customer is kind and polite to us it can really make our day.
#2 Get to Know Us:
We have a lot of regular customers that come in every day. After a while, you get to know them and their order. I love when a customer strikes up a conversation about something that's going on in the world or asks how my day has been. If you are nice to your barista, they are more likely to take extra care with your drink and make sure it is perfect.
#3 Are Understanding:
Sometimes mistakes happen, we use the wrong milk or hear the order wrong and make an entirely wrong drink. These mistakes usually happen during a rush when we are trying to make five drinks at once. When customers understand that sometimes the coffee bar gets a bit hectic and we are only human, that makes a stressful situation a lot easier to handle.
#4 Have Their Order Ready To Go:
Being prepared to order when it is your turn is courteous to everyone around you. It makes the barista's job easier, makes the line go faster, and causes less potential for an awkward situation. Trust me I am guilty of doing this too. There are times when I just stare at the menu while in line and still have no idea what I want by the time I get to the register. So this is a little more understandable.
#5 Are Just Generally Considerate to Those Around Them:
The number of rude people that come through a coffee shop, unfortunately, outnumbers the polite people. So when we do get a polite customer it brightens up our day a bit. Being a nice person doesn't cost you anything.
All in all being a barista is a pretty great job, especially when you love coffee as much as I do.