Almost everyone enjoys having a cup of coffee. And you would surely love to order the most heavenly espresso-based drink from a coffee shop or coffee cart. Correct? But what if you find yourself on the other side of the counter?
Being a coffee shop or coffee cart owner, your business will not operate without a barista. This job title belongs to the person that works to prepare and serve a coffee drink. Successfully running a coffee shop or coffee cart business requires you to know the ins and outs of it. And that includes the job of being the barista. A small business such as the one that you own can have its owner as the barista too.
Yes, it is given that you have ample knowledge about coffee, but you might find yourself panicking at the very thought of concocting just a single cup of latte. Don’t fret. Everyone has a potential to become an effective barista, including you, the business owner. With hard work and determination mixed with your natural love for this drink, you too can be successful on this role. Follow the steps below and be on your way to becoming an effective barista.
- Learn the ropes.
Owning a coffee shop or a coffee cart does not make you a barista just yet. There are many things that you need to learn - the technicalities on how to operate and troubleshoot your espresso machine, how to tamp coffee, and how to froth milk. These are several things that you need to get familiar with.
Learning the basics is essential in running your coffee shop or cart business since this will help you be familiar with what type of coffee beverages you are going to serve. Once you are skilled enough, you can come up with your own coffee mix or flavour and your own coffee signature blend.
While it is ideal for you to go to a barista school first, you may also take advantage of several free tutorials online to help you build your knowledge and skill in making the perfect espresso shot. One example is Paddy & Scott’s Coffee which is a YouTube channel dedicated for barista training.
- Love what you do.
You love coffee that is why you decided to open a coffee shop or coffee cart. If you aren’t so driven, take time in learning to love it. You will be surrounded by the smell of different types of coffee and customers who love and enjoy a good cup of it. Loving what you do will help you bring your best character and attitude.
You will have a positive action and will be able to build needed barista skills easily. Being positive will help you get through difficult and unexpected situations too. And if you love what you are doing, you will find yourself wanting to know your craft more and this will help you improve on how you run your business.
And if you love being a barista on your own coffee shop or coffee cart business, you will be open to honest opinions and suggestions from your customers. You will also find motivation to find ways on how to polish your ways on how to serve them better.
- Be focused on details.
Being attentive to details given by your customers will minimise mistakes on their order. It is likely that you will encounter a customer with many request and add-ons on their drink. Also, you might find yourself losing your wits just to remember every detail of the order. We do not want that to happen, do we? A barista that is prepared in taking different types of order will surely be able to craft a coffee with none or minimal mistakes. So, having an order checklist pad is a plus. A checklist pad will help you itemized all the add-ons and modification by just checking it on the list and you can read it back quickly to the customer.
You can also come up with your own coffee guide that you can check from time to time just to make sure that you are preparing the coffee correctly. Muster your ability to focus in making your best coffee blend using your own coffee guide one cup at a time. Being familiar with your own concoction process will help you focus on where a certain adjustment requested by the customer should be made.
- Efficiency is the key.
Here is an example. Imagine your coffee cart stopping to one of your planned stop-overs just to meet a whole horde of customers waiting for you to serve them. On a business standpoint, this is a good sign because it means that you have a good following. But being a single barista who runs everything from preparing the coffee, selling and maintaining the inventory, this can be a nightmare.
It is hard to work under pressure but you can beat this by being efficient. How do you become efficient in running your coffee cart? Simple. Familiarise yourself with your work area. Keep in mind that you have a small workplace so you must organise your routine on how you run your business like:
- Greet customer and take the order
- Prepare the coffee drink
- Process the payment
- Do a quick clean up
- Add tallies to your inventory
The order of your routine should be tailored to the space that you are working on so you can work fast and efficient without sacrificing the quality of the coffee that you are going to serve.
Multitasking is important in a fast-paced environment. Always keep in mind that you have a business procedure that you need to follow and that should not be changed. It can only be altered on minimal and rare exception. And your business process is what you are going to pass and teach to a new barista if ever you are going to hire one.
- Clean and coordinated.
You can be considered a barista with great exceptional skills if you can make a good tasting coffee while maintaining a clean work area. Sanitation and hygiene are very well connected with food and beverage consumption business. It is a must to keep your coffee cart presentable, spotlessly clean, and well looked after.
Even if you can pull off a wonderful froth art but if your work area is a picture of mess and clutter, then that is still going to be unfavourable. One efficient way in keeping your coffee shop or coffee cart clean and tidy is having all your stocks, coffee ingredients, coffee making tools, and your business materials organised. There should be a stationary spot for each of these items.
Always clean after each transaction. A simple wipe on your work area and counter will not take a minute so make it a habit to do this. Your customers will appreciate this as it is proof that what they are drinking was prepared by clean hands in a very clean environment.
Follow sanitation regulation at all times. This link will provide you with more info on the importance of having a clean and sanitised food business. Check it out now.
- Be nice and keep that smile.
Being in the food business demands a people person. This is where your customer service skills come into play. As a barista, your task of pulling off a perfect coffee blend is just half of it. Always have that ready smile to welcome your customers. Because aside from the taste of your coffee, your attitude towards them is also one thing that they will remember.
Yes, there will be some customers that are not as cheerful as you but do not let that affect your mood. Your customers will find it hard to take their frustration on you if you are polite, hospitable, and pleasant to transact with. Always have that smile and accommodating attitude when dealing with your customers. Remember that good cup of coffee will taste better if it is served nicely and with a warm smile.
These are some definitive tips that will help you jumpstart your barista career. We can surely help you take it further. Check out our free manual here to find out more about launching a coffee shop or coffee cart business. Good luck on your next endeavour foodie!