Baristas are responsible for making and serving different types of caffeinated beverages in a wide array of locations. In this article, we are going to talk about the responsibilities and duties faced by people in the profession. So, what is the barista job description?
We are also going to talk about topics like the qualifications and barista training needed for the profession. We’ll also look at how work experience affects one’s career as a barista. Their work hours and career prospects will be other topics to approach.
What Does a Barista Do?
Rising in popularity throughout the country, the barista job description is far more complex than one might imagine. Since coffee is such a popular drink, it is very important to brew it just the right way. So, baristas have taken their craft to art level. Some even attend international barista competitions. But what do baristas actually do?
To over-simplify it, the barista job description involves making coffee and other caffeinated drinks and serving them to customers. However, there’s much more to it than that. Baristas have to keep their cool and work in very high-stress, fast-paced environments. And, all the while, they must keep a smile on at all times.
The barista job description requires a very customer service-oriented personality. Customers are often difficult, and baristas have to take that with a pleasant smile and a hot cup of coffee in their hands. They must also do their best to keep all clients satisfied, even though this may occasionally go against store policy.
Finally, the barista job description often requires high levels of hand-eye coordination, and even a measure of artistic talent. This is because baristas frequently have to make drinks look just like those in the menu. Plus, some coffee shops also choose to offer their products with little drawings on top. Baristas are also responsible for that type of coffee art.
Barista Job Duties
Unlike most jobs we usually cover, the barista job description can change drastically from one workplace to another. For example, the neighborhood coffee shop barista job description will differ greatly from the Starbucks barista job description. Still, there are plenty of duties which will remain the same from one workplace to another.
The tasks most commonly performed by people with the barista job description are as follows:
- Brewing all sorts of coffee and other caffeinated products;
- Welcoming customers into the establishment;
- Taking customer orders and payments;
- Making menu suggestions based on quick observations;
- Selling coffee, coffee grinding, and coffee brewing equipment;
- Explaining differences in coffee beans and coffee preparation methods;
- Following coffee recipes and preparation techniques;
- Keeping inventories fully stocked;
- Replenishing coffee bean supplies;
- Ordering pastries, cookies, and other similar products to be served with the coffee;
- Showing customers and colleagues how the brewing equipment works;
- Keeping equipment fully operational;
- Following operating instructions;
- Keeping a safe and healthy work environment;
- Following sanitation and organization standards;
- Studying, analyzing, and redesigning processes;
- Constantly improving procedures and implementing changes;
- Making sure that the coffee bar has an appealing look to it;
- Cleaning and fixing up work areas;
- Creating and organizing stock displays;
- Describing new products and current promotions;
- Ensuring customer satisfaction, even if it means replacing products;
- Opening and closing the establishment.
Barista Job Essential Skills
Despite the fact that many don’t think it to be so, the barista job description has some pretty serious requirements. Without these, one would simply be unable to perform their daily tasks.
Customer Service Skills. As baristas work closely with clients, they need to have a customer-oriented approach and possess excellent skills in this field. They also need to be outgoing and be able to satisfy the clients’ needs in a professional manner.
High Attention Span. As the schedule might be hectic, especially during lunch-hours, baristas have to have a high attention span. Even if the professional works in a neighborhood coffee shop or in a popular chain of shops, such as Starbucks, he will most likely face a crowded shop once in a while. They need to deal with multiple clients at the same time and in a speedy manner.
Multi-tasking abilities. As often baristas have to deal with multiple tasks at the same time, they need to be able to rise to the challenge. Taking orders, preparing hot beverages, decorating drinks and serving them are all part of the barista job description.
Prioritizing. Professionals need to prioritize in order to satisfy all customers in a timely fashion.
Problem-solving. As issues such as mixed orders, technical problems or unpleased customers are part of this job, professionals need to solve problems and work well under pressure.
Qualifications and Training
Generally, there are very few educational requirements for baristas. They usually range from none whatsoever to a high school diploma or a GED. However, those interested in a career in the field might consider some college courses. This is because one cannot occupy a management position without at least taking some courses in hospitality or business management.
As for the training provided to individuals with the barista job description, it ranges from nonexistent to mandatory. Small coffee shops prefer to just show their new employees around the shop, assuming that they know how to serve coffee. Bigger venues, such as Starbucks, perform on-the-job training so as to familiarize their employees with procedures as quickly as possible.
Usually, baristas don’t gather all that much experience in a single workplace. They usually move on to other functions in under five years. These other functions can either be internal (in the same company) or external.
The barista salary also grows with experience, as many get higher positions in the same company. So, in a few years, someone starting out with the barista job description can become a branch manager with a much higher wage.
We have to start off this section by mentioning that the barista job description can be both full-time and part-time. So, the average full-time barista works anywhere between 35 and 40 hours a week. Meanwhile, part-time baristas usually work something between 20 and 30 hours a week.
Most people with the barista job description work shifts. The shifts have to cover both opening and closing hours. Plus, many baristas also have to work nights, weekends, and even some holidays.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the average employment rate for baristas to go up ten percent until 2024. That is much faster than the eight percent average for all jobs in the US. It is owed to several factors, both intrinsically and extrinsically tied to the barista job description.
For one, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the United States. About 50% of the entire population drinks the brew. 2016 saw 24,000 coffee shops across the country. Within the next few years, that number will reach more than 50,000. So, it’s only natural that the request for baristas went up so much.
Helping improve our day every time we don’t feel like making our own coffee, baristas are very much appreciated. The barista job description is complex, but it requires no qualifications. So, the employment rate is expected to go up very quickly over the next few years. We also recommend reading the waitress job description for a full overview of the field.
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