17 Cafe Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a cafe manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

A cafe manager is responsible for the overall operations of a cafe. This includes ensuring that all aspects of the cafe are running smoothly, from the food and drinks to the customer service. Cafe managers also need to be able to handle the financial side of the business, such as creating and managing the budget, and ensuring that the cafe is making a profit.

If you’re looking for a cafe manager job, you’ll likely be asked a range of questions during the interview. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common cafe manager interview questions and answers to help you prepare.

Are you comfortable working long hours, including evenings and weekends?

Working as a cafe manager can be a very demanding job. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re willing to work long hours when necessary. In your answer, explain that you are committed to the success of the business and will do whatever it takes to ensure customers have an excellent experience.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable working long hours. I know how important it is for businesses to stay open during peak hours. As a customer myself, I’ve experienced many cafes that close early or on weekends. This makes me sad because I want to support local businesses. If I were hired here, I would do everything in my power to keep the cafe open as much as possible.”

What are some of the most important skills for a cafe manager?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. Use your answer to highlight some of the most important skills for a cafe manager and explain why they are important.

Example: “The most important skill for a cafe manager is communication. This role requires me to communicate with many different people, including employees, customers and upper management. I find that effective communication helps me solve problems more quickly and efficiently. Another important skill is problem-solving. As a cafe manager, I often encounter challenges that require me to think critically and come up with solutions. Being able to identify problems and develop solutions is an essential skill for this position.”

How would you deal with an underperforming employee?

As a cafe manager, you may need to address employee performance issues. Employers ask this question to see how you would handle such a situation. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to help the employee improve their performance or find another role within the company that better suits their skills.

Example: “I recently had an employee who was consistently late for work. I spoke with them about it and learned they were having some personal problems that were causing them to be late. We discussed options for resolving the issue, including changing their schedule so they could leave earlier in the morning. They agreed to try leaving earlier, and after a few weeks, they no longer needed to change their schedule.”

What is your experience with menu planning and food cost management?

Menu planning is an important skill for a cafe manager. You need to be able to create menus that are both appealing and profitable. Your interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with menu planning and how you manage food costs in the workplace. In your answer, explain what steps you take when creating new menus and discuss any specific strategies you use to keep food costs low.

Example: “I have worked as a server at several restaurants throughout my career, so I am familiar with the process of menu planning. When I first started working as a server, I noticed that some servers would write down orders on paper while others used tablets or computers. I decided to try using a tablet myself, and I found it was much easier than writing things down by hand. Now, I always recommend using technology over traditional methods when possible.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a customer complaint.

As a cafe manager, you’ll likely have to deal with customer complaints from time to time. Employers ask this question to make sure that you know how to handle these situations in a professional manner. In your answer, try to explain what steps you took to resolve the situation and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Example: “When I worked as a barista at a coffee shop, one of my customers came up to me after their drink was made to tell me they didn’t like it. They asked for another drink instead, but I explained that we couldn’t remake their drink because we had already started making it. The customer became upset and demanded a new drink anyway.

I apologized to them and told them that I would remake their drink for free once it was ready. After they left, I spoke with my manager about the situation. We decided that going forward, we would remake any drinks that were ordered incorrectly or not to the customer’s liking.”

If we were to walk into your cafe tomorrow, what would we see that demonstrates your leadership qualities?

This question is a great way to assess your leadership skills and how you would apply them in the workplace. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe what you would do if you were managing a cafe tomorrow.

Example: “If I was managing this cafe tomorrow, I would make sure that all of my employees are happy and healthy. I would start by making sure everyone has enough time off and that they’re getting paid on time. Then, I would hold weekly meetings with each employee to check in and see how they’re doing. I would also ensure that we have plenty of food for our customers and that everything looks clean and organized.”

What would you do if you noticed an employee engaging in behavior that is against company policies?

An interviewer may ask this question to assess your management style and how you would handle a situation that requires disciplinary action. In your answer, describe the steps you would take to address the issue with the employee in private and outline the consequences of their actions.

Example: “If I noticed an employee engaging in behavior that is against company policies, I would first speak with them privately about the issue. If they were aware of the policy but chose to ignore it, I would give them a written warning and explain what further consequences could result from continued violations. If they were unaware of the policy, I would educate them on the matter and ensure they understood the importance of following company guidelines.”

How well do you handle stress? Can you give me an example of a time when you had to deal with a stressful situation at work?

When an interviewer asks you this question, they want to know how well you can handle stress and if you have any strategies for dealing with it. They also want to see what your previous experience has been like in a similar situation.

Example: “I think that everyone handles stress differently, but I personally find that exercise is the best way for me to relieve stress. When I was working as a barista at a coffee shop, we had a rush of customers come in right before closing time. We were short-staffed, so I started making drinks while my coworker took orders. By the end of our shift, I was exhausted, but I knew that I needed to stay calm and focused on getting everything done.”

Do you have any experience with inventory management?

Inventory management is an important skill for a cafe manager to have. This question helps the interviewer determine if you have experience with inventory management and how well you can perform this task. Use your answer to highlight any previous experience with inventory management or discuss what steps you would take to learn about it.

Example: “I’ve never had to manage inventory before, but I think that having a system in place would be beneficial. I would start by creating a spreadsheet where I could record all of our inventory. Then, I would create a schedule so that someone checks the inventory once a week. If we ever ran out of something, I would make sure to add more to the inventory list.”

When planning menus, how do you take customer preferences into account?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your menu planning skills and how you incorporate customer feedback into your decisions. Use examples from past experiences where you’ve used customer feedback to improve the quality of your menus or create new ones.

Example: “I take customer preferences into account when I’m creating new menus, but also when I’m reviewing existing ones. For example, at my last job, we had a seasonal menu that included several different options for each course. One week, we ran out of one of our appetizers because it was so popular. To prevent this from happening again, I added another option to the menu with similar ingredients.”

We want to ensure that our cafe offers high-quality service. Please explain what quality customer service means to you and how you implement it in your management practices.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills and how you apply them in the workplace. Use examples from past experiences that show how you provide quality customer service and encourage others to do the same.

Example: “Quality customer service means providing customers with a positive experience at our cafe. I believe it’s important for employees to be friendly, helpful and attentive when serving customers. In my last role as a barista, I noticed that some of my coworkers were not always paying attention to their customers. To help improve the quality of our service, I started a training program where we discussed ways to better serve customers.”

Describe your experience with using point-of-sale systems.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience using technology in the workplace. Use your answer to highlight your comfort level with computers and other office equipment, as well as your ability to use these tools efficiently.

Example: “I have used point-of-sale systems for several years now, starting when I worked at a small restaurant where we didn’t have an experienced manager. I learned how to use the system quickly and was able to help my coworkers understand it as well. Since then, I’ve managed to work in places that already had established point-of-sale systems, so I haven’t had to learn new ones.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have five years of experience as a cafe manager, which is more than most applicants for this position. I am also highly organized and detail-oriented, which helps me keep track of all orders and inventory. My communication skills are strong, so I can easily relay information to my staff and customers.”

Which cafe management certifications do you have, and how have they helped you in your career?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your experience and qualifications as a cafe manager. They want someone who is knowledgeable in the industry, so they can trust you with their business. In your answer, share which certifications you have and how they helped you advance your career. If you don’t have any certifications yet, explain what steps you plan to take to get them.

Example: “I currently hold the Certified Cafe Manager certification from the National Coffee Association. I earned it after completing an online course that included multiple quizzes and a final exam. The certification has been very helpful for my career because it shows employers that I am qualified to manage a coffee shop. It also gives me access to valuable resources like discounts on supplies and free training opportunities.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of running a successful cafe?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have a strong understanding of what it takes to run a cafe. Use this question as an opportunity to highlight your management skills and how they can help improve the overall success of the business.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of running a successful cafe is having a team of employees who are dedicated to providing excellent customer service. When customers feel welcome, valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to return for future visits. I also believe it’s essential to hire employees who are passionate about food and coffee because it shows in their work. I’ve found that when employees enjoy working at the cafe, they’re more motivated to do their best.”

How often do you update menus?

Menu updates are an important part of a cafe manager’s job. Interviewers want to know how often you update menus and what factors influence your decision to change them. Your answer should include the frequency with which you update menus, as well as the steps you take when deciding whether or not to make changes.

Example: “I usually update our menu once every two weeks. I find that this is enough time for customers to try new items but also gives us enough time to sell out of popular items so we can replace them with new ones. If there is something in particular that I notice customers ordering more than others, I will add it back onto the menu sooner.”

There is a trend in the area where your cafe is located that favors smaller cafe spaces. Do you have any ideas on how to adapt to this change?

This question is a great way to see how the candidate will adapt to changes in their industry. It also shows that you are aware of what’s going on around your cafe and want to keep up with trends.

Example: “I think it’s important to stay current with the times, so I would definitely look into ways we could make our space more efficient. One idea I have is to add some smaller tables or booths for customers who may not be able to sit at one of our larger tables. This would allow us to accommodate more people while still maintaining an intimate feel.”


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