Matthew Dring

Major:  Health Administration
Hometown:  Fremont, CA
Class:  Senior
Program Position: Lead Student Barista | Common Grounds

Working at the AS in Common Grounds as a barista was a no brainer for Matt. He came to Chico State with Starbucks experience which has proved to be a real plus for AS Dining Services. When looking for a job on campus, Matt went to the AS website, filled out an on-line application, and attended an open interview with Dining Services. “It was the fastest interview ever once they found out I had worked at Starbucks and had coffee experience. I attended a training session and actually ended up doing a lot of the training myself.” He started work the week before school began his sophomore year and has been a barista for three years both at Common Grounds and Creekside Coffee here on campus. Thanks to his previous experience, Matt was able to introduce some procedural efficiencies that are still in effect today.

Currently Matt is the lead student barista at Common Grounds. He opens the shop three days a week and typically works a 20 hour week. He has a keen understanding of the whole coffee experience and how it is tied to good service and a loyal customer base. “Part of the aesthetic of coffee service is to create a positive experience for your customer.” Excellent customer service is grounded in efficiencies and operational flow behind the bar. “It’s critical to establish a good rhythm at the bar. It’s all about pace and flow to keep movement in the line while engaging customers.”

Matt finds the job personally rewarding. “I like to help as many people as I can, both customers and employees, in order to provide better service.” And there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate how successful Matt is at doing just that. He is adept at reading people, so as a lead student he is able to “switch up tasks so my co-workers don’t get bored doing the same thing.” Where customers are concerned, Matt’s credo takes the form of a game he plays with himself. “I try to remember the customer’s name, their drink, and something personal about them so I can engage them on every visit. A consistent customer base really allows you to establish those relationships.” And beyond the coffee shop, Matt can be found pitching in with catering shifts and closing the kitchen in the MarketPlace. He truly is a jack of all trades and is happy to help wherever he is needed.

After graduation, Matt’s next step might be a position in finance/budgeting in a hospital setting. Ultimately, he hopes to attend an accelerated nursing program to establish a career in nursing. The end game for Matt is helping people. Being a barista is an opportunity for him to develop professionally in terms of communication skills, networking, and operational efficiencies. Matt recognizes that these skill sets are valuable and transferrable to any career.

Matt’s drink: Iced Americano with a touch of vanilla.

In Matt’s words:
“If I see someone who seems a little down or stressed, my goal is to make their day with good personal service.”