Aside from using the same ingredients and machinery, the similar experiences are the direct result of Starbucks’s comprehensive training and employee onboarding program, which is explained in full detail in this Quora thread. Here are some of the highlights:
Starting a new job can be overwhelming, particularly when you’re (eventually) expected to be able to explain the differences between a slew of different coffees and teas.
Starbucks lets its new hires dip their toes into the experience on the first day. There’s a store tour and some coffee tastings that are facilitated by the store manager. Baristas get exposed to training materials too.
Starbucks isn’t just a coffee shop. It’s a coffee shop that’s committed to doing good by its employees, the communities it serves, and the farmers it works with.
So on the second day, baristas learn about the company’s history and its culture. They learn about how the company gets coffee beans, the deals it makes with farmers, and the importance of corporate social responsibility.
The booklets feature self-guided modules that give new baristas insight into customer service expectations, company practices, and coffee history.
A learning coach — who’s generally a motivated, helpful, and experienced employee — checks in with new baristas to see how they’re progressing through the training booklet. They answer any questions new hires might have.
There are literally infinite drink combinations at Starbucks. Aside from the different sizes, customers can choose whether they want decaf, half-caff, or regular. Then there’s milk. There are syrups. With or without whipped cream? The list goes on and on.
New hires are given access to training tools that help them get up to speed on making drinks. For example, they have Drink Dice baristas roll to see what combinations pop up. They’re then expected to be able to say the drinks correctly in Starbucks’ vernacular.
These books — which fit in a barista’s apron pocket — provide new hires with a quick description of each coffee and tea Starbucks sells. Baristas are encouraged to jot their own impressions down on each page in the book and revisit their passports as their palettes mature.
The green apron book also fits in a barista’s apron pocket. These books are intended to provide new hires with a good idea on the kind of customer service they’re expected to deliver.
When there’s a rush of customers, managers and shift supervisors might not be able to help new hires. No problem: there are additional training materials on a computer in the back office that new baristas can use to teach themselves additional skills.
The most help for new hires is perhaps found in their coworkers. New baristas are trained by their friendly coworkers on how to make drinks, how to prepare mixes, how to clean, and how to present food, among other things.
Once a new hire is up to speed on all things being a barista, they are certified by a manager. This makes them bona fide Starbucks employees who are ready to provide exemplary service and delicious food and drink — and help even newer hires find their footing.
Starbucks promotes a lot of folks from within. Each time someone climbs the ladder, there’s a whole new training system that similarly sets them up for success.
A worker's success only comes from an efficient employee onboarding program. How does Starbucks’s program differ from your organization’s program?