Livid Californian locals lash out at bikini-clad baristas
How do you like your morning coffee? Well, I bet there are a fair few of you out there that would love it if your cup of java was served to you by a gorgeous bikini-clad barista - then it wouldn't just be the caffeine perking you up for the day ahead.
Well, Bottoms Up Espresso is a coffee chain that operates in six locations throughout California, but their newest establishment, set to open this month in Chico, California, is ruffling some feathers amongst the locals. It would seem that not everybody is too happy with the coffee shop's employee dress code.
The baristas at Bottoms Up Espresso only wear bikinis and lingerie, which is a fact company founder Nate Wilson points out is no different from what many Californians wear to the beach. However, many locals are worried about what children might be noticing, especially since the coffee shop located very close to a youth dance studio.
“The concern is that Hype Dance has 300-plus students coming in and out weekly and their exposure to the business is out of the kids’ control. This is their home, where they feel safe and comfortable,” said Hype Dance studio owner Sarah Schneeweis, who also expressed concern over what type of clientele the business would be attracting.
Although Bottoms Up Espresso may promote beachwear for its employees, the coffee chain is certainly not beach themed. It has some parents of those students who attend Hype Dance wondering how they are going to explain menu items like 'Sweet Cheeks', 'The Big O', and 'Screamer'.
Schneeweis said her students would often go to the Java Detour - a coffee shop that previously operated out of the same space - for snacks after a dance class. But now she doesn't feel comfortable with allowing them to do that.
“My first gut reaction is, ‘I don’t want our kids to have to be exposed to that,’” she told Action News Now. “The inappropriate attire of the baristas working at this establishment does not align with what we’re trying to teach our kids at this studio.”
This isn't the first time the chain has caused outrage:
"We’re at a time of going forward with how women are viewed. (This business) doesn’t align with that,” she continued, adding that some parents are now planning to wait in their cars in the parking lot for their children rather than dropping them off at the studio and going about their day.
Yet, Wilson argues many women do not have an issue with Bottoms Up Espresso, claiming other locations bring in “30 to 40 percent women clientele because it’s a fun, outgoing business” - much like the international sports bar chain, Hooters. He also claims some mothers bring in their children and that there is a strict dress code in place.
“We’re trying to keep it classy, not trashy,” he said. “There are no G-strings. We have a handbook and employee policies. Those policies help keep employees presentable.”
However, those policies haven't stopped locals from complaining, and city manager Mark Orme says he's received numerous grievances regarding the business. Yet, there isn't much he can do. Bottom's Up Espresso hasn't even opened yet and it isn't breaking any rules.
The location had been a drive-thru coffee establishment for years previously, and Bottom's Up Espresso is similar. Its city operations license claims that it, too, is a coffee and pastry drive-thru business. As long as it lives up to that description, there isn't much the city can do.
Once the coffee shop actually opens, then they could be brought up on municipal bylaws, which does have some regulations about employee clothing in regards to covering certain body parts. However, it's likely Chico residents are going to have to learn to live with Bottom's Up Espresso.
Wilson claims business is booming, with six locations already in operation since 2011, and even stated that in 2015 he had over 300 requests from others looking to open their own franchises. So it begs the question: Why open in Chico where there is so much opposition?
The new location is at a busy intersection in the middle of town, and it's likely that the ability to take over the existing drive-thru coffee business was a draw. It would be much easier than opening a new location in an empty space from scratch.
It seems that wherever they go, there's going to be unhappy locals:
Time will tell how well Bottoms Up Espresso does in Chico, but the business isn't getting any support from the Chico Mayor, Sean Morgan, who wrote in an email: “It’s unfortunate someone would come from out of town and put a business like this on one of our busiest intersections."
"Because the business doesn’t violate any City Code — they make money selling coffee — there isn’t anything ‘immediate’ that government can do. I can’t imagine the people of Chico will support such a concept, especially in that location. I expect the business to flame out and do so quickly as Chico already has a number of very successful, tasteful, well-run coffee houses.
“I’ve received many calls and emails from outraged citizens, most of them I suspect are parents of students at the next door dance studio. I am also aware of at least one council member that intends to add an item regarding Bottoms Up to the council agenda to see what may or may not be done.”
Well, that was rather scathing, wasn't it? For now, let's just hope those scantily clad baristas take heed of the "Caution: Contents Hot" warning label on their coffee cups. There isn't much to cover their skin to protect them from getting burnt after a spill.
If beachwear is what they're after, perhaps a wetsuit might be more appropriate?