I went to participate in my friend’s work who is a Starbucks Barista at One-North. He has been working at Starbucks for close to 4 and a half years.
I wanted to see how the usual Starbucks barista works around the many professional tools behind the counter, facing crowds and rushes.
The space is quite spacious with about 3-4 staff working behind the counter each time. There is the oven section for heating food, the frappuccino area with the machine for frozen blend goodness, the sink area for washing, the cold brew area for their latest nitro coffee and of course the coffee machines area for brewing coffee.
To make coffee, he would pick up the cup for the right size then make the coffee by using the fancy coffee machine. The machine will then dispense the coffee into small glasses – shots.
While this is happening, my friend would pump syrup (if needed) from the syrup bottles into the cup.
After this, coffee would be poured into the cup and topped off with more syrup/milk/milk foam/whipped cream.
These are some of tools he usually use.
One really interesting “machine” or appliance the dispenser for the cold nitro brew coffee – it looks like a beer tap.
Also got to try it with the courtesy of my friend!
It tasted pretty sour and acidic to me – not a fan (hahah)
But the foam is pretty cool!
I think one main challenge was that tools and appliances were spread out over the counter.
If the space was contrainted or if there were too many people, it would be hard to get to the tools needed and may even cause an accident as the staff walk from the fridge/oven/food area to the cashier counter to the coffee area etc.
Another problem I observed is that there are extras of tools, such as extra chocolate/vanilla/caramel syrup in bottle and pump form and they can be all over the place at crowded times like the lunch or morning rush.
There is also 2 coffee machines although they only use one. Perhaps it is in the case where one might broken/spoilt/malfunctioning.
I think a Starbucks barista has to learn how to use a lot of tools and get comfortable and used to his/her space in order to work efficiently.
From the fridge, to the cashier machine, the oven, the coffee machine, the frappuccino machine, syrup bottles and pumps and cups, lids etc, it would be a challenge to come up with a wearable tool that can do the job of a Starbucks barista.
Perhaps it would be more worthwhile to think of a specific function that can benefit with a wearable tool and make him/her more efficient.
I was thinking a portable/movable coffee machine or even a cafe would be really cool too! (Imagine carrying chairs and open them up for your customers and you make coffee on your body)
A portable coffee grinder might work although the quality might not be machine grade and the person would have to stand near a drain/grass to get rid of excess hot water and coffee grinds.