Nationwide barista shortage, cafes crying out for staff

There is no substitute for barista-made coffee, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a barista.

More than 2,300 barista openings are listed on Trade Me and Seek throughout the nation.

Ken Shi owns Aoraki Coffee Roaster and Cafe in Hampton Downs and has over 12 years of experience in the coffee industry.

He stated that it had never been more difficult to locate a barista.

“I’ve been speaking with all of my business-owning friends, and they’re all suffering every day. It’s a very difficult time.”

In the interim, Shi used the coffee machine himself or called his family for assistance. And while he considered himself fortunate to be able to do so, he stated that it was not sustainable.

He stated that a portion of the issue was that New Zealanders were unwilling to relocate to the area or commute for work.

Training employees required time and money, and there was no assurance they would remain.

Shi stated that he offered competitive pay to retain employees.

“I believe the average hourly wage is between $25 and $30, although some busy cafes and experienced baristas may charge more than $30 per hour.”

Rachel Berry, proprietor of The Barista Academy and cafe, concurred.

She reported that enrollment in her courses had decreased.

There is a shift in the number of applicants, and there are fewer people on the market for people to choose from, with the international cohort comprising the majority.

Berry explained that this meant the majority of her students were New Zealanders not seeking long-term employment.

“Historically, there has been a high turnover rate of New Zealanders in these positions; Auckland is horrible.

“Most cafe owners would be lucky to get three to six months out of a New Zealand employee; internationally, you might get a year or two, depending on the type of work visa they hold.”

She stated that despite wages increasing by more than 60 percent over the past three years, employers had to become more aggressive in their recruitment efforts.

“As they’re trained up, they’re literally picked up before they even finish their class, so it’s actually harder to watch people poach staff – that’s hard, you know – there used to be a bit of an etiquette surrounding that, and that’s really unfortunate.”

Roz Cattell, president of the Specialty Coffee Association, stated that the majority of cafes and restaurants were stretched thin.

Read more • rnz.co.nz

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