Waiting for your boss to give you a raise? Wake up, baristas!
First of all, congratulations!
If you’re into the coffee industry because of passion, congratulations! As the saying goes, interest is the best teacher – a man who is fond of what he learns is more likely to achieve greater heights than one who is not. It’s a lucky thing to have your work as your passion, and you have infinite possibilities for blossoming in this industry simply because you love what you do.
So, lucky one, we’d like to have a chat with you on how you can turn your passion into profit. Needless to say, you may have big dreams and great ambitions to achieve, perhaps even a list of goals to give it your all in the coffee industry:
Join competitions and be a champion barista;
Open a successful café;
Own your own coffee business and etc.
No matter how big or small your dreams are, what’s important is to take them one step at a time. Whether you’ve just started off as a barista, or you’ve been working at the bar counter for some time and you’re looking to take on the challenge of a higher role, we have a few suggestions for you to start planning your career in the coffee industry.
Develop basic professionalism: you’re here to work, not play around!
Without a doubt, the job of a barista looks pretty cool at first glance! Stylish environments, relaxing music, fancy haircuts and tattoos, lighthearted conversations with customers… all of these sounds very appealing indeed.
As a barista, this is probably the basics of your daily routine. Putting aside what you see on the surface, let’s take a look at the core of what the job is actually about – an operator behind the coffee bar counter.
Forgive me for being blunt, but the truth is, this job is not as different from other jobs as you may think. As a barista, you are part of a team, and you are responsible towards your employer and colleagues. Thus, these are the essential professional qualities you should have:
Be punctual (It’s not a joke :) )
Communicate actively (This is the basis for all miracles)
Work as a team, don't be the black sheep (Make your presence known within the team and you shall feel belonged)
And most importantly – be humble! (" I did well today, but I'll do better tomorrow.")
Being a barista is not only the first step in your coffee career, it’s also a stepping stone towards being a true professional in the coffee industry.
Skills are important, but they’re not everything!
Imagine this – you, keeping your nose to the grindstone behind the bar counter to practice latte art daily, going the extra mile to watch online tutorials on latte art during your free time, all for the sake of creating an outstanding piece of artwork that will impress your customers and make your colleagues envious.
This is a common example. Most baristas, especially newcomers to the industry, are often dedicated to learning a particular skill. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on improving your skills, but if you think that’s all your job concerns, you couldn’t be more wrong!
Don’t forget that you’re in the service industry. Aside from preparing beverages behind the bar counter, you’re also in charge of washing the cups, mopping the floors, cleaning the washrooms, and ensuring that every customer has a pleasant experience at the café.
So, please use the same level of attentiveness and enthusiasm you have when practicing your latte art skills, as well as an open mind and a positive attitude, to delve into every little task and responsibility of the job. Learn the little things that seem trivial, whether it’s being a master at cleaning or an expert in customer service.
Use the same degree of professionalism in perfecting every beverage, even if it’s a simple cup of Americano.
Selling is the key. Promotions and raises are not a dream!
When you have achieved the above, start thinking how you can make more money for the company. We all tend to think the same way – “As a barista, my job is to make good coffee for customers. I’m not a salesperson, what has sales got to do with my position? That’s what the manager should worry about.” If you’re still thinking that way, maybe you should change the way you think, because in the social-oriented fast retailing industry today, everyone is a salesperson!
Don’t know how to sell?
I suggest you experience it personally at the first floor of any shopping mall departmental store, where the premium makeup and skincare brands are.
The sales people there have top-notch selling skills; do observe how they use their professional knowledge to provide services, how they treat every customer seriously, and how they take every recommendation to heart, resulting in you spending without knowing until you leave the counter.
The same methodology applies to the daily operations of a café. Gain basic financial knowledge from your head barista, procurement staff, and boss by looking into the cost of materials, rent, water, and electricity. Observe customers’ beverage preferences, habits, visiting hours, and even remember their names to increase sales and repeat sales.
Evaluate your sales at the end of each month and take the initiative to ask your supervisor or employer if there’s anything you can improve on. After a few months or a year, you might have the opportunity to negotiate with your boss.
Be sincere and let them know the efforts you have made and the results you have achieved so far. What employer would not want to retain staffs that help their business generate profits? It's a win-win situation.
China's coffee industry is prospering, especially this year. We’ve seen more and more capital being invested, large foreign brands rushing to first tier cities, and even in smaller towns, cafés are everywhere.
If you love coffee and are keen on developing yourself in this industry, now’s your chance to improve your qualifications and become a competitive coffee professional!