What is Staffing by cups?

On-demand shifts are for specialty coffee shops, cafes, and coffee event planners who need an extra barista for any number of shifts. When you book an on-demand shift, we schedule you an experienced barista who wants to pick up the extra shifts and see what it’s like to work at another coffee shop.

How does it work?

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to get extra help when you need it.

  1. Head to your dashboard booking form.
  2. Enter the dates and times of your shift and add as many shifts as you want.
  3. Make sure you have the on-site contact for those shifts that will be the point of contact for the on-demand baristas.
  4. Review the Additional Information section below to make sure it is correct for that location. For example, if you want the baristas in a particular dress code and to be familiar with a certain espresso machine or POS system, you would update this section before adding shifts to the cart.
  5. Once you have the shifts added and all the info correct, click on Add to Cart.
  6. Check out in your cart whenever you are done shopping. Your shifts will be listed there in the Staffing tab.

How do I know the baristas are any good?

To qualify to be part of this program, baristas are required to have at least 2 years of barista experience, with at least one year working in specialty coffee shops. Many of our baristas come to us via industry recommendation, and most have several years of experience working in third-wave coffee shops. Every barista is vetted to verify coffee knowledge before they pick up their first shift.

I’m uncomfortable with having a stranger in my shop.

This is totally understandable, but we take recruitment seriously and screen our baristas to ensure they are trustworthy, reliable, and experienced (and cool.) You’ll receive the barista’s contact information in advance if you’d like to touch base directly prior to their shift.

When are baristas available?

Baristas are available around the clock—whenever you're open, they're ready to make coffee.

How long do I have to book a barista for?

Shifts can be booked for between 5 and 9 hours. If you need a barista for less time, you can book for 5 hours and email us at staffing@cupsworks.com with the correct time of the shift. Please note shorter shifts will still be charged the 5-hour minimum. If you need a barista for longer, please book an additional shift so we can all avoid barista fatigue and keep your staff in tip-top order.

How much is this going to cost me, and how do the baristas get paid?

You pay for the barista’s hourly rate and a small booking fee at time of booking. We then manage paying the scheduled baristas, so you don’t need to worry about taxes or adding them to your payroll.

Hourly rates are determined by city and 100% is passed along to the barista. These are the current hourly rates for tipped shifts in your area:

  • NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago - $16/hr
  • Bay Area - $22/hr
  • Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, DC - $18/hr
  • Nashville - $14/hr

We charge a booking fee of $29 per shift, or $35 per shift booked if the shift is the following day. This is to cover the admin time of hiring, vetting, and managing baristas.

What about tips?

Tipping out your on-demand barista is neither obligatory nor expected. That said, tips can be disbursed at your discretion.

How do you charge me?

Your credit card will be charged upon checkout.

Are the baristas your employees?

No, all the baristas are independent contractors.

How far in advance do I need to request a barista?

We ask you to send in requests by 4:30 PM EST the previous day to provide us ample time to secure a barista. Weekend shifts must be booked by 4:30 PM EST Friday, and special notice may be required for holiday shifts.

Is it possible to book a shift after the 4:30 PM EST cutoff?

We can’t make any guarantees, but if you reach out to us directly at staffing@cupsworks.com, we’ll try our best to accommodate short-notice requests. We can often fill same-day shifts by increasing the barista's hourly rate; please note you may be charged an additional fee in these special cases.

Can I have the same barista for multiple shifts?

We can’t guarantee this, but we can certainly try! We'll do our best to send the same one or two baristas for multiple shift bookings. If you request a specific barista, we will reach out to them individually before the rest of our barista network.

Am I able to book multiple shifts at once?

Yes, you can book multiple shifts in the booking form. Simply click ADD SHIFT after every shift is selected and then click ADD TO CART for all shifts to go to your cart.

Do you provide baristas for private events or catered events?

Absolutely! We've provided baristas for many different kinds of events. Please book the request via the website or contact us directly if you have questions. Un-tipped event shifts cost an additional $4 per hour to ensure your barista is paid fairly.

What if I need to change the shift time after I submit my booking?

Please reach out to us at staffing@cupsworks.com and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

What are your cancellation policies?

Shift dates and times are final once booked as we begin scheduling for you right away. All booking fees are nonrefundable.

If a barista has already been scheduled and it is more than 24 hours until the shift start time:

  • The barista will be paid 50% of the promised wages for their time commitment.
  • Credit will be issued for remaining 50% of barista wages.
  • The booking fee is nonrefundable.

If a barista has already been scheduled and it is less than 24 hours until the shift start time:

  • The barista will be paid for their time commitment.
  • No refund or credit will be issued for barista wages or booking fee.

If a barista has not yet been scheduled and it is less than 48 hours until the shift start time:

  • You may request to cancel in exchange for full credit back for the barista wages.
  • The booking fee is nonrefundable.

What if I send the barista home early from their shift? 

If a barista is sent home early because their assistance is no longer needed, we will still pass along the promised wages. If a barista is sent home due to unsatisfactory performance, we will pass along 50% of their promised wages for the commitment and travel to their shift. If 50% of their wages equates to less than three hours of work, we will pay them for three hours of work.

What if I have specific demands for my baristas?

You can specify these in the Special Needs section on the order forms. We will try our best to fill any and all requests, such as dress code or familiarity with a particular machine.

What if I'd like to hire the barista who filled a shift in my coffee shop? 

If you directly hire an on-demand barista, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, you will be charged a $500 finder's fee. This fee covers the cost of hiring and replacing the barista in the on-demand program.

What if I have numerous specialty drinks on my menu?

Our baristas are highly adaptable and have worked in many different coffee shops. If you send us a list of your specialties, we’ll pass them along to the barista for their review prior to the shift. You may also email recipes or instructions directly to your barista once we have scheduled someone for your shift.

Can your baristas fill solo shifts?

Our baristas are certainly experienced enough to handle an espresso bar on their own, though we strongly recommend having someone available to show them around the space and make sure they know where to find all your coffee necessities. If that's not possible, you can film a quick video on your phone that shows them where things are and explains how the shop works.

Please note at time of booking if your barista will be expected to work alone. We want everyone to start their shift aware, prepared and ready to work!

What if I need them to open or close my shop?

We strongly recommend having someone from your team on-site to show them around at least at the beginning of the shift. Since every shop is different, we do not want them going in blind, and openings and closings can be particularly tricky for someone who has not worked at your shop before.

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