FilterHertford, England (UK)
I worked at Caffè Nero full-time (Less than a year)
The best element of working here was developing a bond with the rest of the team. The staff meetings (we were allocated money to buy pizza) were always fun and changing the advertising for the shop never seemed like a chore. The employee's card which were given was also a nice touch as there are so many shops around to use it in! The barista of the year competition was one of my favourite events, it was extremely fun, made the team feel more like a family than just colleagues. I thought the training was actually very good, my maestro was always helpful and taught me a lot that wasn't in the book. The books were extremely helpful when learning the recipes for the drinks and learning about coffee tamp, dose etc.
Our shop had an awful layout. The machine to wash the crockery was up two flights of stairs which you had to carry the full trays of cups up and down. We had a tiny stocking area which tended to get into a mess, so small that you could only open one fridge door at a time. The sink downstairs also had a ledge over it so you couldn't use it properly. Closing the shop and bringing the furniture in every night was exhausting for the one employee who worked the floor. The shift leaders did little but count the money and close the bar. For whoever worked on the floor it took a lot of energy at the end of long shifts. Our bins were also pretty far away from the shop and everything had to be carried over. The job does take over your life however, I usually worked five days a week, and often the busiest shifts; so Saturday morning and Sunday afternoons. The rota was often the same for weekends which meant it was irritating if you wanted to see friends in the evening. I was leaving to travel which was why I did quit, and although there were these factors to the job, I probably would have continued working there if I had stayed in the country.
Advice to Management
The shifts and breaks need to be reconsidered. A 12 hour shift with a 40 minute break is just not acceptable. Upper management who come into the shop actually need to take problems into consideration. A lot of the time we were just ignored or nothing was done to help with the problems. Regional management should actually have a connection with all the shop employees, not just the manager and the assistant manager. I actually think the company had good values, you could actually work your way up and the general vibe of the shops was usually quite good. Head Office needs to think about the drinks it is putting into the market. The Frappe Creme takes time to make, and with a long queue it is just not practical for speedy service.
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