A Barista works directly with customers by taking their food and beverage orders. They may need to answer questions about the menu options and ingredients in the foods or beverages. Baristas may also pass customer orders along to kitchen staff. Oftentimes, they serve the beverages or food. In other instances they may give it to customers at the cash register. They may also need to restock cabinets, fill dispensers, clean off tables, and more. Prospective baristas should enjoy working with people and need to have good communication skills. This career is great for individuals who enjoy interacting with many people throughout the work day, who like to prepare food and beverages, and who don’t mind spending many hours on their feet. Read our guide to learn more about the typical barista job description.
Barista Job Description
The typical Barista job description and primary job responsibility is to give customers the beverages and food they order. Typically, baristas serve coffee and other beverages. However, they may also serve sandwiches, cookies, and other small treats. They also greet customers, answer any questions they may have, and take the customer’s order. Baristas typically work in small shops or restaurants. These shops may be located in shopping malls or centers, hospitals, hotels, clubs, or in independent locations. Baristas also handle and prepare food and beverages. Baristas must typically operate blenders, coffee grinders, mixers, and other cooking and prep devices. Occasionally, baristas may need to organize supply cabinets, clean equipment used to prepare food and beverages, restock dispensers, and set up product displays, clean and sanitize tables and bars. They also typically operate the cash registers and handle money or credit cards. They may need to determine how much change to give to customers.
Some of the common job responsibilities that baristas have include the following:
- Greeting customers and taking their food and/or beverage orders
- Answering any questions customers might have
- Placing their orders with kitchen staff or preparing the beverage or food items on their own
- Entering order information into the cash register and handling the payment for the items
- Serving the beverages or food items to customers
- Cleaning tables or bar surfaces
- Organizing or restocking supplies
In some restaurants and shops, baristas must be able to create very unique beverage designs in coffee and lattes. Most people must be trained in order to create these unique beverage designs. Baristas must be knowledgeable about the beverages and foods they create and serve as customers may ask questions or ask for recommendations. When it comes to preparing specific espresso beverages, baristas may be required to memorize the ingredients. They must also be willing and able to modify the recipe according to the needs and requests of the customers.
Barista Education Requirements
To become a barista, an individual does not typically need any specific type of education. A high school diploma or GED is not usually required in order to be offered a barista position. However, basic on-the-job training is usually offered to newly hired baristas. This typically includes customer service training, cleaning and sanitation procedures, meal and beverage preparation, kitchen safety, cash register training, food handling procedures, and basic pertinent rules and regulations. This training period typically lasts several weeks to a month. Some training is done through direct observation of experienced baristas that have worked for the company for some time. Some parts of a barista’s training may be done through self study, a computer program, visual presentation, a workbook, or a information packet.
Opportunities for career advancement tend to be limited for baristas. However, if they continue to work for the same company for many years it is possible they may be offered a position as a supervisor or restaurant manager. However, this is not very common. Many baristas move on to other positions within several years of hire. Some traits and skills that are highly beneficial to baristas include communication skills since they must frequently talk to customers, take their orders, and interact with co workers and managers. Customer service skills are also highly important as baristas much ensure that customers’ needs and requests are met. A warm and courteous personality is ideal for a barista as they must greet and welcome customers. Baristas who do not strive to fulfill their customers (reasonable) requests may upset their customers. As a result, customers may decide not to return to the restaurant or shop. It is also important that baristas have decent physical stamina. They may need to spend many hours on their feet, squat down to pick up ingredients or supplies from cabinets and low shelves, lift boxes, move chairs or other furniture, or bend over tables to clean them off. Basic mathematics skills may also prove beneficial to baristas if they need to operate the cash register. Having a good memory can prove to be an asset to baristas as they may be required to memorize various beverage recipes.
Although many baristas move onto other jobs eventually, the job of a barista provides excellent work experience that can be valuable in many other fields. The customer service experience gained from this experience may look excellent on a resume for a different job in which the customer service is highly important (such as sales, support services, and many more).
The national average salary of a barista was $18,553 or $8.92 per hour as of 2014. The highest earning 10% of baristas earned hourly salaries of $11.89 or $24,731 per year. The lowest earning 10% of baristas earned hourly salaries of $7.87 or $16,369 per year. These salaries are reflective of full time employment. Salaries typically vary based on number years spent working for the company, years of prior relevant work experience, and the addition of tips (if the baristas are allowed to receive them). Geographical location may also influence the barista salary. In larger metropolitan areas, salaries may be somewhat higher than in rural areas. As baristas gain experience working for one company for many years, their salary tends to increase. As was mentioned above, tips can also influence overall salary. However, some employers do not allow baristas to accept tips or they may be required to share tips among other baristas. Many baristas do not work full time, so their annual salaries may be much lower than the aforementioned salaries. Some baristas may work to provide extra income for themselves as they attend college or high school. .
Barista Job Outlook
The barista job outlook is very good. Between 2014 and 2024 the field of food and beverage serving is expected to grow by 10%. This is faster than the average rate of growth for all profession combined. The average rate of growth for all professions is currently 7%. As more individuals, couples, families, and groups choose to eat at restaurants and shops, job security should remain quite high for baristas. As the demand increases, so too should the number of job opportunities. New restaurants and shops will likely open up to meet the demand. There is a relatively high turnover rate for barista positions as many baristas resign and move on to other professions and careers. As baristas move on to new jobs, job vacancies will need to be filled. For this reason, there should always be a solid number of job openings for individuals who want to become a barista.