Last Friday, eight staff members of Park Slope’s Gorilla Coffee quit, citing a “perpetually malicious, hostile, and demeaning work environment” under co-owner Carol McLaughlin. Seven of the staffers were baristas (we’re told that one barista who had recently joined the staff chose to stay on), and the other was a roaster roasting plant employee who was in charge of training baristas. Though owner Darleen Scherer told Diner’s Journal that the walkout was “a complete surprise,” the departed roaster trainer told Grub Street, “I’m sure having the staff leave was a surprise, but the issues weren’t a surprise. Those were things that they [the two owners] were both aware [of]. As a [barista] trainer, it’s crazy to lose the whole staff. Nobody wanted it to happen.”
Our source added that training at Gorilla takes between two to four months for one barista, and that at the time of the walkout Gorilla’s owners were in the process of developing a whole new training program. “I don’t know how they’re going to go about that. It takes a long time to make a good barista.” No contact has been made between the baristas or the owners, and the staff has no plans of going back.