Career Development

What Does a Cafe Worker Do?

Find out what a cafe worker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a cafe worker.

Cafe workers are responsible for providing customers with an enjoyable dining experience. They take orders, prepare food and drinks, and serve these items to patrons at their tables.

Cafe workers may specialize in a particular area of the business—they might be baristas who make coffee drinks or servers who take orders and deliver food to tables. Regardless of their specific job duties, they all work hard to ensure that customers have a positive experience when visiting their cafe.

Cafe Worker Job Duties

Cafe workers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Operating cash registers and processing credit card transactions
  • Preparing food items such as sandwiches, salads, or specialty coffees
  • Providing customers with information about available products, services, and events
  • Cleaning counters, tables, and shelves to ensure that facilities are neat and orderly at all times
  • Delivering food or drink orders to customers’ tables
  • Taking orders from customers for food and drink items
  • Keeping inventory of food items and supplies to ensure that supplies do not run out
  • Entering orders into computerized ordering systems to ensure that orders are completed accurately and in a timely manner
  • Serving food or drinks to customers at their tables, or preparing them for takeout

Cafe Worker Salary & Outlook

Cafeteria workers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. Some cafeterias may offer benefits such as health insurance, paid vacation days and 401k plans.

  • Median Annual Salary: $44,500 ($21.39/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $163,000 ($78.37/hour)

The employment of cafe workers is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

Growth will occur because of the continued popularity of coffee shops and other establishments that serve food and drinks. In addition, more people are working from home and may want to go to a coffee shop or similar establishment for their work breaks.

Related: Cafe Worker Interview Questions and Answers

Cafe Worker Job Requirements

Cafe workers typically need to have the following background:

Education: Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or GED certificate for cafe workers. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in hospitality or a related field.

Training & Experience: Most cafe workers learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training may include how to operate the cash register, how to make various menu items and how to clean the establishment. Training may also include how to interact with customers and how to handle common customer complaints.

Some cafe workers may have previous experience in the food service industry. For example, a waiter or waitress may transfer their experience to a new establishment. A barista may transfer their experience to a new cafe.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to work as a cafe worker. However, obtaining certifications can give you a competitive edge over other candidates and demonstrate your dedication to your career.

Cafe Worker Skills

Cafe workers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Customer service: Customer service is a crucial skill for a cafe worker, as you’ll be interacting with customers throughout your shift. Providing excellent customer service can help you build a positive reputation for your cafe and encourage customers to return. Demonstrating your customer service skills can also help you develop a positive relationship with your coworkers and managers.

Food safety and sanitation: Food safety and sanitation is an important skill for a cafe worker to have. This is because they may be responsible for preparing food and drink items for customers. It’s important that they follow all health and safety regulations to ensure that they don’t contaminate any food or drink items. They should also be aware of the proper way to handle food and drink items to ensure that they don’t contaminate them.

Communication: Communication is another important skill for a cafe worker to have. You may be required to communicate with customers, managers and other employees. It’s important to be able to speak to others clearly and concisely. You can also use communication skills to relay information to your coworkers and managers.

Teamwork: Working in a cafe can be a team effort, especially when it comes to preparing and serving food and drinks. You can use your teamwork skills to work with your fellow cafe workers to ensure that customers are satisfied with their orders and that the cafe runs smoothly.

Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. As a cafe worker, you may be required to fill in for other employees, work different shifts or perform different duties than you normally would. Flexibility allows you to adapt to these changes and perform your job well.

Cafe Worker Work Environment

Cafe workers typically work in fast-paced environments. They may be required to stand for long periods of time and to lift and carry heavy trays of food and drinks. They may work early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday hours. Some cafe workers may work part time, while others may work more than 40 hours per week. Overtime hours are often available. Cafe workers may be exposed to hot, greasy, and sharp equipment. They may also be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Cafe Worker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how cafe workers work. Cafe workers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Rise of the Third Wave Coffee Movement

The third wave coffee movement is a recent trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This movement focuses on high-quality coffee beans and brewing methods, which results in a more flavorful cup of coffee.

As this trend grows, cafe workers will need to be familiar with the latest brewing methods and be able to provide excellent customer service. They will also need to be able to educate customers about the benefits of third wave coffee and why it is worth the extra cost.

More Focus on Health and Wellness

The health and wellness trend is becoming increasingly popular among consumers as they become more interested in living a healthy lifestyle. This means that cafes are beginning to focus on providing healthier options for their customers, such as fresh fruit bowls, yogurt parfaits, and smoothies.

As cafes begin to focus on health and wellness, cafe workers will need to learn how to make these types of dishes and create menus that appeal to customers looking for healthier options. In addition, cafe workers will need to be knowledgeable about the latest health trends so that they can recommend products and services that meet the needs of their customers.

A Growing Demand for Specialty Drinks

The specialty drink trend is growing rapidly in the restaurant industry, as customers are looking for new and unique experiences. This trend is also being seen in the coffee industry, where customers are increasingly looking for specialty drinks that are not found at traditional coffee chains.

As specialty drinks become more popular, cafe workers will need to be able to prepare them correctly and understand what makes them special. They will also need to be able to communicate the value of these drinks to customers, so that they can feel confident in ordering something new.

How to Become a Cafe Worker

A career as a cafe worker can be both rewarding and fun. It’s a great way to meet new people, try new things, and learn about different cultures. As a cafe worker, you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with different foods and drinks, work with different ingredients, and create unique dishes. You’ll also get to interact with customers and help them enjoy their experience at your cafe.

To become a successful cafe worker, it’s important to have a passion for food and drink, an interest in learning about different cultures, and a willingness to try new things. You should also be able to work well under pressure and be patient with customers.

Advancement Prospects

For many people, working in a café is a stepping-stone to a career in the food and beverage industry. Café workers who demonstrate responsibility, good customer service skills, and the ability to handle a fast-paced work environment may be promoted to baristas or servers. Those with management potential may eventually move into café management positions. Some café workers may also use their experience to start their own food-related business.

Cafe Worker Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we take great pride in providing our customers with a warm and welcoming environment, and outstanding coffee and food to match. We’re looking for a cafe worker to join our team and help us create an exceptional experience for each and every customer. As a cafe worker, you will be responsible for taking orders, preparing food and drinks, and cleaning up after customers. We are looking for someone who is friendly and outgoing, with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic. If you have experience in the food and beverage industry, that is a plus, but not required.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Greet customers as they enter the cafe and take their orders promptly
  • Prepare food and drinks according to cafe recipes and standards
  • Operate cash register and handle transactions accurately and efficiently
  • Keep the cafe clean and organized, including sweeping floors, wiping down surfaces, taking out trash, and stocking supplies
  • Assist with opening and closing duties, such as setting up for the day and cleaning up at night
  • Answer customer questions about menu items and make recommendations as needed
  • Prepare food for catering orders and events as needed
  • Serve food and drinks to customers in a timely and professional manner
  • Clear tables and reset them for the next customers
  • Handle customer complaints in a calm and professional manner
  • Follow all health and safety guidelines when handling food and drinks
  • Perform other duties as assigned by cafe manager

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Proven experience as barista or waitress
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Friendly and outgoing personality
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Some college coursework completed
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish)
  • Experience working in a café or restaurant
  • Food safety certification


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