7 Steps Project Manager and Trainer Steve Bayless

Steve Bayless is a relentless road warrior, visiting independent coffee shops all over the country to train owners, managers and baristas. For about 20 weeks each year, he conducts hands-on training at independent coffee shops, college and university coffee shops and other coffee businesses.

An Experienced Coffee Shop Manager and Trainer

7 Steps Project Manager Steve Bayless (left) mentors baristas at kat's Coffeehouse in Gibsonia, PennsylvaniaSteve joined Crimson Cup in 2008 as general manager of the new Crimson Cup Coffee House in Clintonville. After graduating with a history degree from Ohio State University, he had worked at local restaurants, gaining experience as a line cook and manager.

Over his first three years with Crimson Cup, Steve followed our Seven Steps to Success to build our Crimson Cup Coffee Shop in Clintonville into a profit-making machine. Soon, it became a model for other independent coffee shops.

In May 2011, Steve took on a new role: teaching prospective entrepreneurs how to open and run their own coffee businesses. Over the past decade, he has helped open over 140 independent coffee shops all over the country and has conducted training at another 75 coffee businesses.

Steve has helped businesses thrive in spaces ranging from 92 to over 2,000 square feet, in small towns of 5,000 and major cities such as Boston and Detroit. He’s consulted on almost every setup for a coffee shop–kiosk, drive-thru, walk-in, and walk-in/drive-thru combinations.

His travels have taken him as far away as Dhaka, Bangladesh, where he coached managers and staff at several Crimson Cup Coffee Houses. And to Honduras, where he helped distribute water filters to provide potable water for farm workers and their families.

He’s also set up coffee operations in existing restaurants, bakeries, donut shops, and colleges and universities. And, he’s helped nonprofit organizations merge for-profit coffee shops into their missions.

Supporting Coffee Shops From Store Layout to Opening Day and Beyond

Steve Bayless on site at The Vault Coffee Company in Carolina Beach, North CarolinaSteve’s role starts with setting up each shop with the right layout and equipment.

“Starting a coffee shop is equal parts exciting and terrifying,” he says. “Having me there to provide guidance and reassurance eases the minds of our customers.” 

A certified station instructor through the Specialty Coffee Association, he spends nearly half of his time on the road, teaching owners and staff of new coffee shops everything they need to know to run a flourishing business. He trains on-site for five days, staying to make sure opening day is a success.

A 7 Steps Customer Growth Rep returns six to eight weeks later for the grand opening to ensure each business is off to a profitable start. 

“The best part of my job is that there is no such thing as a typical day,” he says. “I might work on designing a new shop one day. The next day, I’ll be answering technical questions about engineering for utilities. The day after that, I’ll be updating our training library resources. On any given day, he might:

  • Walk a customer through reprogramming an espresso machine
  • Help resolve inventory or employee issues
  • Figure out the best way to help a customer on their social media accounts
  • Advise a new manager on how best to handle a difficult situation.

As long as a coffee shop remains with Crimson Cup, Steve and the rest of the 7 Steps team remain just a call away to help solve any challenges or take advantage of new opportunities.

“Having a great team at Crimson Cup with a diverse background of knowledge and 30 years of experience can really help a new store owner avoid mistakes and be successful from day one. That’s our goal!”

His personal motto: “Mistakes at a coffee shop have never killed anyone. (I think…)” 

Steve with the team at Angie’s Sugar Buzz Bakery in Sandwich, Illinois.