Photo LA 200918/01/2009
This year’s Photo LA was a little different from Art LA that I worked last year and it was not just the name nor the art work that made it so.
‘How was it so?’ I hear you ask..
Well, this year all the profits from the event went to the folk that worked it. That’s right; all money raised after expenses filled our own pockets.
Because of this I watched an interesting spectacle (myself included): all that worked the show were really there to work hard. When we were busy, we were happy as we saw that cash box getting full. When it was quiet, we were left pacing and worrying about when that next sale might come in. Like little entrepreneurs we became hungry, very hungry for the dollar.
This for me was the first real insight to what it might be like to run and own my own business and I have to say I loved it! I loved the feeling that all that money was going to wind up in my bank and not in someone else’s pocket.
It got me thinking at the same time about staff motivation and work ethics. I’ll be the first to admit that I am at times guilty of silently loving the quiet times. When that rush hour has passed and there is time to take it slow–forgive me when I say this– on occasion, slow is what I’ve taken, especially when I was younger (not the case anymore Doug, trust me!). Last weekend we wanted less staff to man the station and not once did we have to call someone out for not pulling their weight, we were all working for our own profits and we wanted more.
Lets take tips out of the conversation at this point (as its really only America that has a good tipping culture) so I will ask, is incentive-based pay the only real way to motivate staff? Do trips to coffee conferences, origin or the promise of more training really work in getting that line through the door? I believe that if baristas could earn more money by working faster and harder then that is what would happen.
What would be the ripple effect in the cafe? The lines would move quicker, customer service would be better to ensure repeat business and the baristas wages would get fatter. That, to me, sounds like a sustainable relationship where everyone wins. The barista would make better judgments on staffing and what shifts yield better income and more people would jump at the chance to work those busy weekends and holidays. I have to imagine that the business as whole would be better looked after in the long run.
All I can say now is that I can’t wait to work the next one!
Johny Machiato pulls a celebrity shift.