The following is a transcription from a text message thread that was inspired by an earlier draft of Jared's latest post on service. Particularly in reference to a comparison between bartenders, chefs, and baristas that the draft contained. The particular comparison in question didn't make it into the final edit, but it did spark some incredibly interesting conversation.
I must admit that cross-industry comparisons have always made me cringe, although I understand how they are sometimes applicable. There are indeed similarities between being a bartender, chef, and a barista - but at the end of the day we are in our own unique industry, governed by its own unique set of economic and social forces.
One of my personal hopes is that one day we (baristas) will be comfortable and confident enough in what we do to not have to compare our industry to any other; and we can instead just focus on taking the next best step for our industry.
My points of view on this topic may not be the most popular in Specialty Coffee, or with the people reading this bog but that’s ok. I think in order to move forward we need to be really honest with ourselves when it comes to what we do, what we hope to do, and what steps we need to take to get there.
In any case, we thought it might be interesting to get a little insight on the stuff we spend our spare time talking about, and how our thought process works. For your reading pleasure I’ve conveniently transcribed our conversation back into nice little text bubbles without fixing any grammar or spelling, so you can really get into the moment.
Why indeed is the world so hard?
At the end of the day I believe that many of these struggles come out of our industry being so young. The relative newness of Specialty Coffee combined with the uphill battle of getting people to recognize that there is something truly special about this thing that for decades has been seen simply as a commodity, makes for a tough fight.
But I'm with JT...we can win the battle, and excelling at service is a must if we plan on doing so. Earning the same level of respect as some of the worlds best chefs and bartenders is of little consequence to me as long as we continue to put our best foot forward - the rest will fall into place over time.