What do you do when you begin to feel powerless in your cafe? When ten folks are competing for one or two higher-paying positions in a business, how do you build trust and accountability? These were questions that Sarah Hewett-Ball wanted to answer.
In most cafes, baristas are powerless. Promotions can be slow to come, and decision-making is usually left to managers and owners, who maybe don't spend all that much time working on the floor—and the decisions they make often affect the lowest-paid members of the group disproportionally.
Sarah and her friends wanted to change that power dynamic, so she started working on a cooperatively-based coffee shop in Louisville, Kentucky. The cafe, Full Stop Station, has been up and running for the last six months, and we talked to Sarah about what it means to distribute responsibilities and money evenly across the board. The team at Full Stop all make the same amount of money, and trade off managerial duties every two weeks, along with coming together to make big decisions and putting issues to a vote. I learned so much about how to communicate and the power a cooperative can give baristas—if this is an idea you've had for your business, I urge you to take a listen.