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Chris LoCurto


February 22, 2012

Is Hiring A Happy Barista Important?

February 22, 2012 | By | 29 Comments">29 Comments

Yesterday I taught EntreLeadership principles to an amazing group at the Mississippi University for Women. the people I met were as beautiful as the campus where the event took place. Not only did they have incredible southern hospitality, but as leaders and business owners, they had some fantastic questions as well.

One of those came from the owner Cafe Aromas. She asked me how important it was to try and find someone who absolutely loves being a barista, instead of just someone who can do the job. You see, one of the things I teach is, don’t hire someone who can do the job. I dont wan’t that person. Many people can do the job and they bring absolutely no excitement whatsoever to the work environment. See exactly what I mean in Don’t Let Someone Ruin Your Already-Bad Day.

If you understand where she’s coming from, you understand why she asked the question. It’s difficult to find good people to come in to work that early in the morning and be cheery. Why is that so important? Because to those of us who are addicted to that silly little nectar that God created, the barista is the caffeine before our actual caffeine. Walking in when you’re trying to wake up, and seeing someone who seems to not care about you at all is frustrating.

I want to see that person who’s upbeat, happy, and doing what they can to help kickstart my day. That’s why it’s important to spend more time in the hiring process to find people who believe that serving coffee in the morning is considerably more important than it sounds. If you find a server with the heart of a servant, we all win.

Question: How important is it to you for one of the first people you see each day to be a happy person?

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  • LGWolf

    I stop in the same starbucks every day and no matter how neutral or nice I am, the barista is always misserable and won’t even say hi. So yesterday, I gave him a christmas card w/some cash in it, thinking, oh I don’t know, maybe he would at least say hi. Today I went in and nothing.

  • preferred stocks

    They are happy people! They greet everyone with a smile, always engage in good conversation and wish everyone a happy day at work. Everyone loves them! They excel in customer service and they make commute enjoyable.

  • Misty Gilbert

    Excellent nugget: If you find a server with the heart of a servant, we all win. I am going to add that to my quotes on my blog. Love it Chris!!!

  • epicenterlanguages

    This is a great reason why it’s so important to know what you’re looking for when you’re hiring. Knowing who the ‘right person’ is to have on your team is paramount. I’ve learned that from listening to you guys. Know who you want. Take your time to find them. (Take your time = inest in the creation of a recruitment process which helps you weed out the weirdos, and light up the keepers. ) Hire for what you want! If you need happy barristas, getting them starts at the job ad! Love this!

    • Chris LoCurto

      Preach it!

  • Bob

    I couldn’t agree more Chris!

    I experience this almost every single day. God has blessed me with a wife that arises every morning with a smile that she usually keeps all day long.

    Because we work in the same office too, I regularly get to see the affect her unusual happiness has on the people around her. It’s actually quite amazing!

    She inspires and reminds me to be joyful for every moment we are alive. Although her attitude is quite natural, some of us have to work at it a little more. I believe your point is very insightful for those of us that are smile challenged at our place of employment. If we can’t find a way to be happy, maybe it’s time to move on?

    Keep up the Good work!

    • Chris LoCurto

      Wow! You are truly blessed Bob!! Thanks for sharing!

  • @CabinetDoork

    Great thought Chris! “…find people who believe that _________ is considerably more important than it sounds.” Most of the people in our organization have no direct contact with the customer. But all of us have contact with those who do have direct contact with the customer. “In-house positivity” has a huge impacty on the external customer experience. Why would we want miserable people mucking up the good vibes just because they can do the job?

    • Chris LoCurto

      I know I don’t. I think so many leaders don’t realize they have a choice.

      • @CabinetDoork

        Some may not have that choice… What positive upbeat person wants to work for a negative leader? Sometimes the harsh reality is that we attract people like ourselves. The good news is that we attract people like ourselves. Can’t argue with the LAW of the LID.

        • Chris LoCurto

          Bringin’ a little JMax!!

  • Uma Maheswaran S

    It is of paramount importance. It will set the tone for the entire day. When we fail to concentrate on hiring the right person, we are really commiting a blunder.

    • Chris LoCurto

      True dat!

  • Jon Edlin

    This literally happened to me today at Starbucks! I said good morning to the barista (who was quite sluggish) and he responded “Man, I’m hardly awake”. Downer.

    Why can’t more people be like “Mr. Happy Man”?

    • Chris LoCurto

      HAHAHA…that was his response?!?! What a dork!!

    • epicenterlanguages

      Man, the guy needs to take advantage of his free coffee!

      • Chris LoCurto


  • Lily_Kreitinger

    I’ll do a shout out to the train conductors on the commuter rail I ride to work every day. They are happy people! They greet everyone with a smile, always engage in good conversation and wish everyone a happy day at work. Everyone loves them! They excel in customer service and they make commute enjoyable. If we all carry that same excitement into our own work, we will make a difference in the people that see US first thing in the morning.

    • Chris LoCurto

      Amen sister!

  • Loren Pinilis

    A few weeks ago, I would’ve told you it was no big deal. But the other day I ordered some coffee from a local place, and I’ve never seen a more sluggish, bored, and unhappy barista. It really changed my mood – which was surprising to me.

    • Chris LoCurto

      There ya go. It matters. Thanks Loren.

  • skottydog

    I think it is a very important element in starting your day. If the first person you deal with is miserable, you can brush it off, but it takes away (at least a little bit) from your positive energy. Not unlike someone cutting you off in traffic and making you spill your aforementioned java!

    As a supervisor in a busy hospital Cat Scan department, I always take into account that the CT technologist is often the first person that a patient sees. They want to go home. They’re worried about missing work. They’re worried about possibly having the “C” word. The last thing they need is a mopey button pusher that says nothing more than “hold your breath”.

    I am proud to say that my entire team treats every patient like a family member. We may be the patient’s only interaction with another person for the day, aside from their nurse, and the 3 minute doctor visit at 6am! We try to make it count!

    • Joel Fortner

      This is superb.

    • Chris LoCurto

      WOW!!!! Dude, this made me so happy!!! I am so proud of you and your team. It would be so easy to worry about not getting your favorite danish for breakfast, when the person coming to see you is begging God that they don’t have cancer. You guys rock!!!

  • ginasmom

    Critical or my day is ruined:).
    Unfortunantely my sometimes over active imagination takes over, goes something like this –
    why is that person so sad, so grumpy?,
    i wonder if they missed breakfast?
    i wonder if they a bad night?,
    maybe they had a fight with their spouse or
    maybe their kids had a fight and they took sides, and now nobody is talking in the house,
    or maybe their gold fish died, that so sad, reminds me of what happened to my first gold fish named goldie,
    i wonder if i was responsible for her demise?
    my husband says i was!

    but how could i have known that by filling her fish glass to the top and having a bowl of oranges next to her would make her want to jump out into the fruits…… what a miserable, sad day……..

    The only way out of it is to be the first happy person i see or avoid some people in the mornings.

    • Chris LoCurto

      The fish jumped out to spend time with some oranges?!?! That’s awesome!!! I mean…that sucks, I’m so sorry. :-(

    • Lily

      Love the way you care about people around you! Sad story about poor goldfish in the land of oranges! :(

  • Joel Fortner

    Yeah she needs to keep…..wait for it……grinding at it until she finds the right person. Pun intended! But yeah I do want to encounter happy people when the day starts. It’s uplifting.

    • Chris LoCurto

      BAH!!!!! Nice brother!