Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly
because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we
have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an
act but a habit.”
Starbucks has been very successful. The Starbucks Training Program is one
of the key reasons why. Below are a few facts:
Starbucks has grown by an average of two stores per day for the last 27
Starbucks plans to add 1,000 stores in China alone next year,
Starbucks spends more on employee healthcare than coffee beans,
Starbucks’ stock is worth over 23x what it sold for in 1992.
They’ve done good, real good!
Why? Great people and the amazing Starbucks Training Program!
(Starbucks also helps their baristas respond well to angry customers by
training them in Emotional Intelligence. Learn more about how they do it here.)
Keep reading to find out how Starbucks trains its partners to deliver an
amazing experience every time.
From the beginning, Starbucks recognized the value of the customer
Without a great experience, why would anyone pay that much for coffee?
That experience is provided every day by its more than 200,000 employees
(Starbucks calls them partners).
How does Starbucks ensure an excellent experience every time a customer
interacts with one of their partners?
Great people & an incredible training program!
Below are some of the highlights of the Starbucks training program that occur
within the first 4 weeks of a new employee’s tenure. Know that their training is
always changing, always evolving and always improving.
First Shift with a Store Manager or Learning Coach
New partners are never given the opportunity to make mistakes when they are
new to their job. They are always with a store manager or a learning coach as
they learn the ropes.
Starbucks follows a Tell, Show, Do process. Tell is what baristas learn in the
training. Show is when the Learning Coach shows them exactly how to do
something and Do is when the barista did the action with the coach watching
to assist, train and praise.
Are all your new employees given a coach?
24 Hours of Classroom Learning
Known as the “Starbucks Experience” class this training includes an overview
of the company’s history and culture and Starbucks’ strong social
responsibility programs. Then new partners are introduced to the coffee itself,
where it is grown, how it is harvested and roasted and how Starbucks treats
Starbucks new partners know from the beginning that they are not just
working for another corporate giant focused solely on the bottom line. They
know they are working for something bigger, an organization that gives back.
This training includes self-guided booklets (like we all use), but the Learning
Coach always checks in with the new partner at the end of each module.
Training Program Tools to Keep it Fun
Starbucks uses tools like “Drink Dice” that trainees roll and the dice come up
with a size, iced or hot, a beverage, a syrup, decaf or regular and the new
barista would have to figure out how to write, say (Starbucks has their own
language) and make that particular combination.
Cappuccino Training Cups are used to help baristas learn how to pour the
perfect cappuccino and latte. By putting a shot of raspberry syrup in the
bottom of the milk tumbler (used for steaming the milk), the milk is tinted pink
when poured. The perfect cappuccino is fifty/fifty milk and foam. This tool
allowed baristas to practice their pours to perfection with visual reinforcement.
Green Apron Book – a small booklet meant to fit in the pocket of a barista’s
apron. It outlines the Five Ways of Being (Be Genuine, Be Considerate, Be
Welcoming, Be Knowledgeable and Be Involved). The outline for Customer
Service is Connect, Discover and Respond.
At the end of all the training, the new baristas must pass a certification exam
on what they learned. Training continues throughout a partner’s career for
each step up the ladder in the organization.
One of the coolest things I’ve learned about Starbucks training is how they
teach Emotional Intelligence. We’ve covered that in another blog.
How can you take these lessons and implement them in your organization, in
how you onboard new partners and how you train?
What great tips/tools do you use now that others could learn from? Please put
those tips in the comment box below.
Thank you for being a part of our values driven community!
“Fowler & Company is not affiliated with, authorized, endorsed or sponsored
by the Starbucks Corporation or any of its affiliates. All views expressed are
solely those of Fowler & Company.”