Cider Corner: 5 Reasons to Look for Inexperienced Tasting Room Staff

When adding staff, you may not find the ‘perfect candidate’ that has the same knowledge, passion, and skills that you envision.

That means having a good sense of what you want in an employee that will work with the public as a tasting room server or bartender.

Many cideries shared with Brewer that having no experience and no knowledge can actually help train up a new employee than helping integrate one that might have previous experience from another place.

These five ideas sprung from conversations about finding the right new hire for your craft cidery’s tasting room.

  • New Eyes: “When hiring someone for a restaurant position, I actually prefer starting from scratch with new hires. I feel this way you can train them more efficiently. A lot of times when you have people that have worked multiple years they seem to get set in their own ways [and] have habits that don’t fit the way certain businesses run. These habits are sometimes hard to break and can create a rift between them and management. With a clean slate, they are a fresh set of eyes.” – James West, Tasting Room Manager – Saro Cider
  • Eager to Learn: “We are in an extremely rural environment so we’ve really had no choice but to be OK with starting from scratch. We love it, though, because it allows us to educate our team on our ciders and the nuances that are unique to them. And we’ve been lucky to find a team that is eager to learn, which is most important to us.” – Brooke Glover, Co-founder – Swilled Dog Hard Cider
  • Educate from the start: “We prefer to hire tasting room attendants with exceptional cstomer service experience but not necessarily bartending experience. Being the only cidery within the city limits of Atlanta, we strive to provide an excellent representation of cider and the cider industry when visiting our tasting room. We are interested in having team members that are passionate about the craft beverage they are pouring and hiring someone who is newer to the service industry gives us the ability to educate them about the history of drinking cider, how our brand translates that old world experience to a new generation of cider drinkers and train them on our standards of customer service.” – Jackie Annise, Co-owner/Cidermaker – Urban Tree Cidery
  • You Were New Once Also: “When building any kind of staff I like to think of it as a team. It is imperative to understand every member of the team strengths and weaknesses and fit them into the right position for them to be successful. It is also important to continually challenge your team to evolve and grow. When looking at potential team members taking into consideration growth trajectory or the intangibles a person possesses is much more important than being able to regurgitate knowledge or having a beer server certification or Sommelier. So yes, starting from scratch is more than okay, once upon a time both Jeremy and I had to be ‘started from scratch.’ The only real qualification I look for is TIPS or any comparable safety certifications. The safety of the High Limb guests and team members is paramount, but we are more than happy to provide.” – Jarrod Carter, Director of Operations – High Limb Cider
  • The Person over the Skill set: “I have found that hiring for personality is more important than hiring for relevant job skills. The candidate must have the ability to chat comfortably and with a knack for appearing genuine. We can teach them all about cider and our process, and even ideal responses for difficult situations that come up behind any bar but it’s much more difficult to teach kindness and charm. Granted, a passion for craft beverages is key to any role on our team as it fuels the desire to go far.” – Madison Shirley, Marketing Manager, 2 Towns Ciderhouse

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.