We decided to share this chart with you for a few reasons: we got a lot of questions after we posted about our Tippless policy, and especially we would like to promote more transparency regarding wages and also take a stand for a fair salary. We are an independent, comparatively small business, but saving money at our staff members expense is not something we can agree on.
If you just think for a moment about who is most important for our industry, you will quickly understand that of course it is the farmer on the one hand - as everything starts with him- and the Barista on the other hand, who is at the end of this chain, preparing the coffee for the customer. Both are of course crucial to our coffee industry but are mostly the ones who get very little money for their work.
We have positioned ourselves before with regards to fair wages in the hospitality industry, particularly in speciality coffee, when we joined the tippless movement. As we have pointed out before, tipping is often seen as some kind of charity when giving waiters or baristas money to help them top up their wages and sustain themselves. We believe it is a shame that this is necessary. Everyone, especially a barista with great skills in speciality coffee, should be able to live off their wage and be able to support their families. They shouldn‘t be reliant on the customers generosity to have enough money to make a living. It shouldn’t be accepted in society, that employers pay their staff low wages anticipating that they will in the end make „enough“ money with tipps. It is not the customers responsibility to „help“ employees in the hospitality industry to survive. It is the employers responsibility.
Something that really doesn‘t make sense in our point of view, is the fact that when a coffee shop is promoting that they are doing speciality coffee, they are mostly concerned about coffee and milk quality. They will buy fair trade, or direct trade coffee, and offer organic milk. If you are investing in great products, in our mind it absolutely makes no sense not investing in your staff to build a great team. Investing in your team in the form of not only education and training, but also in form of fair wages, will build a thriving and happy team and in the end, it will also add to your business bottom line. Having a high staff turnover also hurts your business. Sadly, we as employers have an opportunity to exploit the people that are working for us in an attempt to save some money. But if we hire people to be with us and work full time, if we invest in their professional growth and development, and enable them to make enough money, they will become a great asset to every organisation. This is what speciality coffee in our mind should be about, it shouldn‘t stop at supporting coffee farmers in the countries of origin, it should also follow up with supporting your own employees.
When talking about this subject, we hope to support a shift in peoples and especially other employers minds and get this issue out there. We strongly believe such a shift will in the end not only benefit the employees, but also the respective businesses and the entire speciality coffee community, moving it forward.