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Sarah Ward

Working at a Cafe: 13 Key Job Roles of a Cafe Business

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Working at a cafe brings you into a delightful, bustling business. Whether you’re the Sous chef or executive chef, a restaurant cashier or host, or a restaurant busser, there’s so much opportunity in all types of cafes. You could work in cafe and restaurant management, or as a cafe accountant to deal with operating expenses. The options are (nearly) endless.

For cafe owners, learning about working at a cafe for hiring purposes is part of learning how to open a cafe. You’ll also want to learn about the cost to open a cafe, writing a cafe business plan, and heading up cafe inventory management. Designing menus for cafes, working with cafe business marketing, and complying with cafe regulations should also be on your list. 

For some folks who are working at a cafe, some of those jobs and plans will also fall under your scope of work. In this BinWise blog post, we’ll take a look at the general scope of work that goes into working at a cafe for some of the key jobs in a cafe business. 

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Benefits of Working at a Cafe

Working at a cafe can be a busy job, don’t get us wrong. The benefits, however, make the experience worthwhile. Working as part of a team at a cafe business built around a passion for customer service and great food is, by nature, a joyful experience. With the right team, cafe work can be one of the best jobs out there.

Key Cafe Job Roles

There are many roles spread across all the types of cafes you can work at. From breakfast cafes to cafes that serve a range of alcoholic beverages, the work you can do varies depending on your qualifications and what you’re interested in. These 13 key cafe job roles are an overview of the types of jobs you can seek out in the cafe industry.

13. Cafe Owner

The cafe owner is the start of the list, from a hierarchical standpoint, of the people who work at a cafe. In some cases, the owner will also be the manager, a supervisor, and even fill in the accountant role.

12. Cafe Manager

The cafe manager is responsible for the daily cafe management operations. This includes everything from employee management and support to inventory ordering and stock maintenance. 

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11. Cafe Accountant

The cafe accountant is a very specific role within the jobs that fall within a cafe business. The accountant is responsible for keeping track of revenue and expenses, to keep the business on budget and in profit. 

10. Servers

Servers are one of the most important links in the chain of working at a cafe. Servers are responsible for taking orders, delivering food, and ensuring customer satisfaction. 

9. Chef

The chef is part of the team that makes up the kitchen staff in a cafe business. The chef can be a Sous chef or other type of chef. The key ingredient is that they manage the kitchen and oversee the dishes.

8. Kitchen Prep Workers

The kitchen prep workers in a cafe business report to the chef, and are another key component in keeping the cafe running smoothly. Having the best kitchen prep workers means your cafe provides great meals on a timely basis.

7. Barista

If your cafe has coffee options, a barista may be in order. The barista's job revolves solely around making coffee orders and keeping the coffee equipment in good working order.

6. Mixologist or Bartender

The mixologist or bartender is a necessary part of your cafe business when it comes to serving up the best drinks. Your bartender or mixologist will be in charge of drink mixing and serving at the bar top.

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5. Dishwashers

One part of the work of the kitchen comes from the prep workers. The other part comes in the post-meal work with the dishwashers. Hiring a few dishwashers to keep your kitchen stocked with clean dishes will ease your kitchen process.

4. Bussers

Bussers are the flip side of the server coin. Bussers are responsible for clearing away dishes and cleaning and sanitizing the tables in between guests. 

3. Barbacks

Barbacks work with the mixologist or bartender to keep the bar space efficient. They clean, serve drinks, and provide support to the bartender or mixologist as needed.

2. Sommeliers and Cicerones

Sommeliers and cicerones–certified beer specialists–work in a similar range to mixologists and bartenders. The difference is the level of specification in the job of a sommelier or cicerone. Their specialties are their focus in all their customer service roles.

1. Host

The host of a cafe business is a tidy role, but it’s oh-so-important to the overall success of the business. The host welcomes in customers as they arrive, and they set the tone for the entire cafe. 

Hiring for Cafe Work

When it comes to hiring for cafe work, there are plenty of skills you should interview for. In your restaurant interview questions, ask about customer service experience, kitchen and food handling skills, and teamwork experience. When you take care in the interview process, you’ll fill your employee roster with all the best people.

"Key Takeaway: Working as part of a team at a cafe business built around a passion for customer service and great food is, by nature, a joyful experience. With the right team, cafe work can be one of the best jobs out there."

Frequently Asked Questions About Cafe Work

Working at a cafe comes with a lot of, well… work. There’s a learning curve depending on your work experience. Hiring workers for a cafe is equally important and full of work to do as you get your team together. On both sides of the equation, our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you along the way.

Is Working at a Cafe Stressful?

Working in a cafe can be stressful when it comes to juggling customer needs, cafe operations, and general duties. It is, however, worth it if you enjoy working in a place that fosters an environment of warmth and welcoming behavior. You’ll have busy days, but the work is rewarding in a unique way. 

What Should I Wear to a Cafe Trial Shift?

For a cafe trial shift, a generally good uniform is either all black, or black slacks and a white top. Wait staff uniforms and other cafe dress code needs will likely be specified by your employee before any type of trial shift. If they aren’t, you can always ask, but something sleek in the business casual field is a safe bet. 

How Do I Prepare for Working at a Cafe?

To prepare for working in a cafe, one of the best things you can do is reflect on your time as a customer in cafes, and think about the best customer service you’ve received. Working those customer service techniques into your daily practices will help you enter the cafe industry with ease. 

What Can You Expect When Working at a Cafe?

When you’re working in a cafe you can expect fast-paced work with variety every day. Of course, some parts of your basic job description will be something you can expect day in and day out. When it comes to customers and the social atmosphere of cafe work, however, you can expect something different on each shift. 

What skills are typically required for working at a cafe?

Working at a cafe often requires good interpersonal skills for dealing with customers, and the ability to multitask, given the fast-paced nature of the work. Knowledge of food and beverage preparation, particularly coffee, is also usually necessary.

Is it possible to work part-time at a cafe?

Yes, it's definitely possible to work part-time at a cafe. Many cafes offer flexible schedules, which can be ideal for students, those with other jobs, or individuals looking for a work-life balance.

What are the usual responsibilities of a barista at a cafe?

A barista's responsibilities at a cafe typically include preparing and serving beverages, especially coffee, handling cash transactions, cleaning work areas, and providing excellent customer service. They may also be involved in restocking supplies and displaying baked goods or snacks.

Do cafes serve alcohol?

It depends on the type of cafe, but in many cases, yes. From Port wine to cognac cocktails, some cafes serve many types of alcoholic beverages.

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Working at a Cafe: It Could be Perfect For You 

Working at a cafe is busy, fulfilling, exciting work. It’s an active space with a lot going on every day. For cafe owners and workers alike, the day-to-day operations can be hectic, but oh-so worth it. 

Whether you’re working as a manager or you’re opening up a cafe, when it comes time to get your inventory and order management sorted, reach out to BlueCart and BinWise. BlueCart’s order management software simplifies your order management system. The BinWise Pro inventory program alongside the BinScan app gives you peace of mind when you take inventory.

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