Researching the company is an essential step before your interview. Knowing what makes Dunn Bros unique in its industry space is a plus. Know the brand story, mission, etc.
"Not only are you a leader in your industry, but the culture at Dunn Bros Coffee is also exactly what I'm looking for. Your commitment to ethical sourcing, superb quality and warm, inclusive service, plus your initiatives that give back to the communities you serve, really speaks to me. I like to believe that the day-to-day work I do is connected to a higher purpose."
"I want to work for Dunn Bros Coffee because I have been a patron for many years. I have always been a loyal customer because of the high-quality food and beverages, the friendly atmosphere and the purpose-driven business model."
Are you someone who can handle stress on the job? How do you manage the stressful times? Talk to the interviewer about your ability to control pressure in the workplace.
"I handle stress very well, and when you call my references, I believe they will attest to this fact. When I am under pressure on the job, I focus on the task at hand and make sure not to get distracted. Staying on deadline is very helpful, and I will delegate when necessary to alleviate stress where I can."
"Stress is part of any fast-paced job, and I embrace it to the fullest. Sometimes the demands of a bustling coffee shop are actually energizing to me. I try to make sure I'm well prepared for the day's challenges and then let myself live in the moment from there, handling each complication as it comes. I also take good care of my physical health and prioritize my workload to maintain a healthy balance in my stress levels."
Tell the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you express your creativity. If you can work in a connection to the coffee industry, that's a plus. Try to always connect back to this opportunity.
"Outside of work I like to attend dance classes and I also attend the odd paint and sip wine nights at a local wine shop. I also enjoy reading as a way of nurturing my creative side. And, of course, I love experimenting with new coffee flavors and combinations."
"Outside of work I love to explore my creative side. I practice photography for fun and also hang out with friends. As an avid reader, I try to read one new book per week. I also explore writing. I believe the more interests I have outside of work, the better able I am to find common interests with customers and build a rapport."
A part of being a diligent employee is ensuring that you are always on time and present when expected. It's great to even be 10 minutes early rather than just showing up right on the dot. Talk to the interviewer about your attendance.
"I had zero unexcused absences last year. In total, I took 12 vacation days out of my 15 allotted days. I was sick just 2, and a note from my doctor accompanied those. Once I was late due to a snow storm, and I always try to be 10 minutes early for my shift."
"I'd have to confirm the exact number, but I believe I took no more than three days total. All absences were excused and with notice, and were approved by my supervisor in advance."
Perhaps you have led a club at work, been a coach for a youth sports team, or were on the advisory board for a non-profit organization. You should be prepared to show Dunn Bros Coffee that you have a natural ability to lead others - or that you would like to develop that ability. Whether you have led a group of 500 or a team of 2, you must display to the interviewer that you are capable of handling the responsibility that comes with being a leader and mentor.
"In my current position, I am the president of the social committee. I love that I have the opportunity to encourage employee engagement while being a positive influence on workplace culture. I am a natural leader because I start with leading by example. As a leader, I make myself available to others who need mentorship, a bit of assistance in adjusting to their role, or just a listening ear when they've had a tough day. I am confident in my leadership abilities and look forward to joining Dunn Bros Coffee in a leadership role."
"I see myself as a leader. Not only have I managed a team in two prior roles, but also I believe that leadership does not always equate to management - it's a choice, not a title. I am sure to lead at all times by providing the best model, enthusiasm, and work ethic of the organization. I am open to new ideas and love to tackle a new project which, to me, embodies leadership. I also encourage others to lead where they are."
You have likely gained many valuable skills in your career. Share with the interviewer which skills you value the most. Be sure to include capabilities that will potentially benefit Dunn Bros Coffee.
"In my last role, the top 3 skills that I acquired were customer service, stronger communication skills, and transaction handling. These were all new to me when I started, but with consistent practice and encouragement from my supervisor, my expertise and confidence grew. I believe these skills will be especially valuable for this position at Dunn Bros Coffee."
"My current role is my first leading a team. Through that experience, I've learned a lot about active listening, negotiation and conflict management. Those were new skills for me, and sometimes uncomfortable to learn, but I believe that makes me a much stronger leader and positions me well to join Dunn Bros Coffee at this level."
This question could be a tricky one since nobody is always 100% honest. Answer to the best of your ability and back your reply by speaking about both your ethics and those of the company.
"I fully understand the importance of being able to depend on the honesty of your employees. I would put myself at a 9 on this scale, and I'd emphasize that my goal would always be to act in the best interests of Dunn Bros Coffee, which includes personifying the kind of integrity and honesty that are part of your service-focused culture."
"I wish I could give myself a 10, but I fear that's impossible for anyone! However, honesty is something that was always stressed in my home growing up, and a personal value I try very hard to embody. I'm fully committed to embracing the value that Dunn Bros Coffee places on honesty and will encourage honesty and integrity in my team members as well. For those reasons, I would rate myself as a 9 out of 10."
Everyone will have particular triggers that cause them to feel dissatisfaction on the job. Talk to the interviewer about any factors that may deflate or discourage you in the workplace, along with how you might overcome them.
"I have felt dissatisfaction on the job when I am not feeling heard or when there is a lack of respect among team members. I work best in more harmonious situations where there is little drama or gossip, and where people are aligned behind common goals. From what I've researched about Dunn Bros Coffee, I believe you have the kind of culture that will allow me to thrive."
"I have felt dissatisfied on the job when I feel that I am undervalued as someone who has good ideas and can improve the customer experience. Some employers don't necessarily value the thoughts and experience of front-line employees or empower them to solve problems to the benefit of customers. I'm very pleased with what I've learned about Dunn Bros Coffee's culture of empowering employees, and I believe that will help me be engaged and successful here."
Terminating an employee is never a task that people like to do. Talk to the interviewer about how you go about employee terminations. What does that conversation usually look like?
"I have had to terminate employees in the past, yes. These terminations generally stemmed from missed targets or insubordination, all of which were carefully documented and discussed at length with both our Human Resources team and the employees in question. I find it challenging to terminate employees because I do care about them and their well being. I have to remind myself that I did absolutely everything I could to ensure their success, but I cannot carry the full weight."
"Unfortunately this is a part of wearing your management hat. I recently had to separate employment with someone who was under-performing. We coached the employee in question, offered additional learning experiences and worked with them on a performance improvement plan. It was the right person in the wrong role, and we had to decide to move forward. While these decisions are difficult, in my experience, separation ends up being best not only for the company, but also for the employee involved."
Even if you're not expected to drive for the job, you will need to have some form of reliable transportation. If you take the bus or ride a bike, that works too! Share that you have the means to get to work consistently and on time.
"I do have reliable transportation. My vehicle is well maintained, and I am comfortable with the amount of travel required to get to your office every day."
"I take public transit; however, I find it to be very reliable. I was late to work only once last year, and that was due to a snowstorm, which stalled all of our employees' commutes - including those with personal vehicles. Rest assured, I am reliable and will always come to work on time."
The best way to discuss your salary expectations is to use your current earnings as an example. Be open, and honest. Transparency is the best choice when salary based questions arise.
"Currently, I earn a base salary of $45,000 per year plus a potential 20% annual bonus. Last year my earnings were $52,000, and I would like to stay in the same range or gain a slight increase. According to my research, this seems consistent with the market and this particular position."
"I am currently making $12/hour with two bonus opportunities. I am looking for compensation that is aligned with the role and provides an opportunity for growth."
Talking about yourself can be challenging, especially for your first interview. Your favorite teacher is someone who recognizes your hard work and your talents. If you have spent any time one-on-one with your teacher and received feedback, share what you have learned from them. Talk about how they noticed your strengths and helped you to develop them. Your perseverance, kindness and hard working spirit are all great qualities to share in your interview.
"My favorite professor always said that I was very disciplined and attentive. I took that as a great compliment because he was a very focused personality as well. Overall, I believe that the focus and attention to detail I showed in that classroom experience have translated well into the workplace."
"One of my professors gave me a huge compliment of asking me to research and edit his book after I graduated, as a contributor to his research project. So, not only does he think that I am a strong writer, but he also trusts my project management skills, plus research and editing skills. He also knew this would be on top of my 9-to-5, so he knows that I can take on any task no matter what the obstacles may be."
Is this particular position a good fit? Is it a step up in your career or - a stagnant move that you are just complacent with taking until something better comes along? Assure the interviewer that this position will be challenging for you, is a step up in responsibilities, and that it fits with your overall career goals.
"My primary goal in my career, as a barista, is to eventually work my way into a position where I will train new staff. I feel that Dunn Bros Coffee offers a strong path toward that goal, and I am excited about what this position has to offer. I am especially excited about Dunn Bros' commitment to employee development."
"My primary career goal is to find a position where I can stay long term. Because Dunn Bros Coffee has such a strong reputation for workplace culture and employee empowerment, it fits very nicely with my desires for a long-term fit. I look forward to what I can learn and accomplish here."
It's impossible to know where you will be in years to come, but assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for their position.
"Ideally, one year from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. My career interests align very nicely with Dunn Bros Coffee goals, which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."
"One year from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility, and I love the commitment that Dunn Bros Coffee has to empowering its own team members."
Have you ever had to take on a task or a role that you felt was over your experience level? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you have dealt with this type of situation. What was the outcome, and what did you learn? Be as specific as possible.
"I am often asked to perform tasks outside of my wheelhouse. I believe that if we don't take on more than we feel prepared for, then we'll never learn. I've stretched in my current role to take on customer dispute resolution, which was difficult for me at first, since I'm naturally conflict-averse. But with good training and encouragement from my supervisor, I've been able to help find solutions for our customers in uncomfortable situations."
"Because I am new to my career, it seems like almost everything is above my experience level! However, I am adaptable, and I know that learning new things is key for being successful. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to use all available resources and research possibilities to find out what I need to do and how to do it. I'm also a big believer in asking lots of questions."
The interviewer is genuinely interested in your experience as a customer. If you have been a customer at Dunn Bros Coffee, speak openly and positively about your experience. If your experience was not a positive one be sure to handle that tactfully and with substantial discretion.
"I am a regular customer at Dunn Bros Coffee because your location is convenient, your customer service is always friendly, and your coffee is consistently fresh. As a customer, I can attest to the fact that the company consistently lives its values of the best coffee, ethically sourced, served in a warm and inclusive environment where people from anywhere gather and form a community."
"I have not frequented this location often; however, the times that I have come here, I always leave impressed and well taken care of. I'm able to get what I need quickly, the quality is good, and I've enjoyed my interactions with friendly employees."
When answering this question, you always want to refer to what you can do for Dunn Bros Coffee. This question is not about you and your needs/desires. What unique skills do you bring to the organization that other applicants may not - be as specific as you can.
"I understand that you receive many applications every day, and I'm thankful for this interview. I believe I am a stand-out candidate because I have an impressive customer service record. Because I am well versed in the coffee industry, the time required to train me will be minimal. I am dedicated, come with strong references, and can start immediately."
"I am a stand-out candidate because I offer an attitude that fits well with the customer-focused attitude at Dunn Bros Coffee. I fit your culture well and am exactly the kind of employee you can be proud of - one with the desire, drive and determination to be successful."
This question is a loaded one because the interviewer is trying to understand the attitude you bring with you to work and why you would choose to leave a position that makes you happy. Take a few minutes to walk the interviewer through your resume. Be specific, and be positive about past experiences.
"I have worked in the customer service/restaurant industry for the past 3 years. My favorite role was with Company ABC because the culture was friendly and collaborative. I left because I relocated to a different city. I am excited about the opportunity with Dunn Bros Coffee because the culture feels similar. I see a strong fit here."
"My favorite role was with Company XYZ because it encouraged and empowered its employees, and although I enjoyed it, the time came for me to seek a position with a higher wage and potential for professional growth. There was minimal growth opportunity there, so I chose to move forward in my career. We parted on great terms and the owner is still a mentor and an employment reference of mine."
The interviewer would like to know that you fully understand the duties associated with this position. Have you read and absorbed the job description? Do you have a clear understanding of the tasks outlined by the hiring manager during the interview? Assure the interviewer that you will exceed the company's expectations.
"I understand that Dunn Bros Coffee places its primary focus on freshness, community and warmth. From what I've researched, the primary duties of this role will be to represent Dunn Bros Coffee proudly through excellent customer service, and to provide a remarkable customer experience. This responsibility includes preparing beverages quickly and accurately the first time, ensuring that cleanliness is kept in the shop and keeping inventory levels accurate, plus connecting personally with each customer."
"I have read through the job posting in detail and feel that my primary duties will be to prepare beverages, develop positive relationships with customers, and handle transactions accurately. My hope is that there are also opportunities to share ideas and look for opportunity to innovate in pursuit of continuously improving the customer experience."
Display to the interviewer that you have what it takes to be a great barista! First, you should fully understand the requirements to be a barista. You can research the career path as well as refer to the Dunn Bros Coffee website and job description. Keep your answer to the point, and positive.
"I see in your job description that you are seeking someone who, above all, is reliable, and who can multitask and build good relationships with customers. In addition, I feel that a good barista will be willing to learn new beverages, work well as part of a team, and provide top-notch customer service. Also, since your baristas are in many ways the face of your company, they should embrace the commitment to service and the desire to give back to the community that are such a strong part of the Dunn Bros Coffee story."
"Baristas are such an important part of the whole coffee shop experience and play a huge role in cultivating customer loyalty - I love that at Dunn Bros Coffee, they are considered artists-in residence. I believe an outstanding barista should have several key qualities: They should be outgoing, but also able to listen actively and effectively; they should have a great memory for matching customers with their favorite treats; they should be willing to experiment with new flavor combinations; and, maybe most of all, they should enjoy being around people and making them happy."
The coffee industry is a competitive one, and the interviewer would like to know that you have put some thought into where Dunn Bros Coffee stands in comparison to its competitors. Perhaps you have a minor suggestion for improvement? Be sure to keep your answer light and end on a positive note.
"I am a real coffee fanatic and have visited Dunn Bros Coffee many times! Your shop is truly one of my favorites, and you're doing a lot of things right. The only suggestion I would make is to keep differentiating yourself in the quirky, unique way that defines Dunn Bros. Sometimes, as a company grows larger, it can lose its roots and blend in more with its corporate competition. Continuing to solidify your place in customers' minds through more than great coffee - like your community initiatives and commitment to small-batch roasting - can help you continue to stand out from the competition."
"You do so many things right that it's hard to find room for improvement, but I understand the need for continuing to evolve in the marketplace. I have seen a few local coffee shops use an app where customers can place their order ahead of time, even paying and tipping on the app, to avoid having to wait in line. I think it's a great idea for anyone in a hurry to get to work, or for someone with a large order. Something like that might be worth testing for Dunn Bros Coffee at some point."
Talk to the interviewer about any related training that you may have had, whether it be formal or on-the-job experience. If your training is listed on your resume, take the time to review it briefly. Assure the interviewer that you have an interest in helping them uphold the high standards at Dunn Bros Coffee.
"In my previous role, I underwent significant on-the-job training in regard to food health and safety. I was tested regularly as well. A few years ago I also completed my Food Safety Training Certificate from our local community college. I fully understand the importance of food safety and will uphold the strong standards at Dunn Bros Coffee, if hired."
"This would be my first position within the restaurant industry so at this time I am not trained or certified in food safety. However, I take the quality standards and commitment to food safety at Dunn Bros Coffee very seriously. If there are particular valuable and/or recommended courses, I would be happy to get a head start on my training as soon as possible!"
The coffee industry is booming and competitive, and it isn't going anywhere! Talk to the interviewer about how you see your career growth in this industry. Onboarding new employees is a time-consuming and expensive task. Be sure to express your genuine interest in working for Dunn Bros Coffee for the longer term.
"In the course of my research, I noticed that you offer store and corporate level opportunities. I really connect with your culture at Dunn Bros Coffee, and I would love to grow a strong career here. I feel like there are many options, from eventually running my own location to advancing to a position at headquarters. In fact, maybe I'll try to do both!"
"This position is perfect for my schedule as I attend University for the next four years. Past my University graduation, I am not sure where I will end up; however, I would love to dedicate these next few years to Dunn Bros Coffee."
It's always a great idea to have questions ready for the interviewer. Review the company website and other online resources to ensure the questions you are asking are not mundane or redundant. The last thing an interviewer wants to hear is a list of items you could have found the answers to from merely watching a video on their company site!
"- Is this a replacement search or a newly created role? - What is your favorite part about working for Dunn Bros Coffee? - What is the company's primary goal for this position in the next 12 months and how will you know if the new person is successful? - What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?"
"Thank you for asking! Yes, I do have a question for you. When we were speaking earlier about the Dunn Bros Coffee scheduling system, I was wondering if your schedule stays the same from week to week or if you offer a range of shifts to all of your employees?"
In a high-volume retail and customer service environment, it can be challenging to stay on top of inventory and cash. This question is a great time to ask the interviewer if Dunn Bros Coffee has a loss prevention program and protocols in place for employee theft. If you have experience with inventory management, staff management, or employee termination - this is a great time to discuss!
"If you could tell me more about your loss prevention efforts at Dunn Bros Coffee, I would love to hear it. In my current position, we have protocols in place for reporting employee theft. Our corporate office has formally trained me on loss prevention. Since becoming a manager in my current role I have dealt with one employee theft case, which resulted in termination."
"First I would make sure to familiarize myself with all Dunn Bros Coffee internal policies for employee theft, so I can assure you that I would follow required steps to report the theft in accordance with company protocol. I would also make sure to connect with my supervisor immediately if I had any reason to suspect employee theft."
The interviewer would like to know that you have training in essential customer service and cash handling tasks. Most organizations will train you to confirm with the customer the bill amount they are handing you. Assure the interviewer that you understand these loss prevention methods and that you can perform well in uncomfortable situations.
"In my current position I have been trained to avoid this situation entirely by leaving the cash visible (out of the till and on the counter close to me) until I have provided the customer with their change. I will also confirm with the customer the bill type they have given me. For instance; if they hand me a $20 bill, I will say out loud 'from twenty?'. They will then say yes - confirming that we are both on the same page. These methods help me to avoid customer issues surrounding cash discrepancies."
"I feel fortunate that I have not experienced an event like this; however, I do know that in cash-based scenarios it is always best to leave the original bill outside of the till, visible to the customer, until the transaction is complete. This method also prevents employees from being scammed by fake customers demanding change for their $50 bill when, in fact, it was originally a $20."
It is critical that you research Dunn Bros Coffee before your interview. Take note of their most popular products and any new, or seasonal, products that may have been released recently.
"I feel very familiar with your products. I love that you have all of the basics, including light, medium and full-bodied coffees, and I appreciate your dedication to women coffee producers. Your Costa Rica Tarrazu is my personal favorite, though I also love your Mexico Chiapas. I am eager to try some of your new blends this summer, too!"
"I am very familiar with your products! I am a dedicated customer and have already sampled a good portion of the menu at Dunn Bros Coffee, plus I love to brew your coffee at home. I love all the products you have available for purchase online for those of us who are die-hard Dunn Bros fans. I am very excited to work here!"
When you work in the customer service industry, you should expect to have different hours. If there are some restrictions on your schedule, this is the time to discuss with the interviewer. Be firm about your limitations but also offer some flex in return.
"That's a great question, and I'm glad you brought it up. My goal is to be as flexible as I possibly can. I am happy to work the majority of shifts; however, I do take morning classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but I am available to work the later shift on those days."
"I have no restrictions on my schedule and am happy to be a team player by taking any shifts you need. I am also eager to work, so you can count on me to take overtime shifts and some holidays as needed."
Display to the interviewer that you can do more than the bare minimum. Show that you can react when you see that your employer has a need that goes beyond your usual day-to-day expectations.
"Last week I noticed that my manager had not completed the schedule for the following week. Some of the staff were starting to share that they didn't have their work schedules yet, and that was presenting a challenge. Rather than going to my manager with a complaint, I offered to take on some of her workload so that she would have time to complete the schedule. We worked together for a couple of overtime hours that day and were able to catch her up on everything."
"I often go above and beyond what is expected of me. Most recently, I agreed to cover for a co-worker who was on short-term medical leave. I worked 10-hour days for two weeks so that our shop didn't suffer any setbacks."
Double checking and proofreading are essential parts of a job well done. Assure the interviewer that you are diligent when it comes to submitting good, clean, work.
"Spelling and grammatical errors are a pet peeve of mine. I triple check my work if at all possible! In addition, I try to print out important documents for editing rather than reading them on-screen. When time allows, I try also to read through a document backwards so that I'm not missing any typos. I feel that it is essential to submit error-free work."
"This kind of accuracy is important to me as well - it's my professional reputation that is shaped every time I submit something in writing. I concentrate especially on formal reports and presentations, and I do ask other people to review important letters or emails before sending them."
Dunn Bros Coffee is a franchise company of coffeehouses founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, in December 1987 by brothers Ed and Dan Dunn. The first store was opened on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, when Ed Dunn drove a pickup truck loaded with his refurbished 1950s Probat roaster from Portland, Oregon, to St. Paul in search of a good, underserved location.
The store's locations are primarily in the American Midwest, especially Minnesota, where there are 74 locations. In the last few years stores have also opened in Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa. Dunn Bros Coffee is a franchise, and most stores are locally owned and operated. One distinguishing feature that separates Dunn Bros from most of its chain competitors is that at every traditional location the coffee is roasted right in the store, usually on a daily basis.