Being a barista is one of the coolest foodservice jobs out there. The market for coffee is huge and the demand for baristas is equally big. Perfecting the art of making coffee takes training and practice – and you can bet that your friends will be asking you for advice frequently!
Within your first few weeks at the new job, you'll begin to recognize regulars and might even remember their usual orders, which will impress them and your managers. Don't feel pressured to memorize these details if you don't feel ready – it'll come with time.
Know what's expected
There will be many periods of high traffic throughout the day, including breakfast time, lunchtime and right after work lets out. Working these shifts may be daunting at first, but your managers and co-workers will be there to support you and lend you a helping hand if you need it.
One of the primary aspects of being a barista is being friendly. It doesn't matter whether you're cashiering or preparing the coffee – you should always smile and wish the guest a good day. Learning the art of small talk will be useful during quieter hours. However, you shouldn't let chats get in the way of workflow. It's a fine line that you'll learn to walk.
You'll be making plenty of different drinks within your first few days. If you have questions about any recipes or have hesitations, always ask. It's better to err on the side of caution, especially because the guest has every right to send it back for a new one if you make it improperly. Asking your co-workers or boss shows that you take initiative and know when to speak up.
Spills will happen. There will most likely be slip-resistant mats behind the counter, but investing in nonslip shoes will help provide you with utmost safety. There will be times when you have to come out from behind the register, whether to stock the prepared foods section or replace an empty creamer container.
Here are two other hazards to be aware of as you work.
1. Hot liquids: You won't be the only person who's handling hot drinks all day. Your co-workers will be making drinks alongside you. Additionally, there's the milk steamer, espresso machine and other equipment that could cause injury. Always be mindful of what you're doing and let others know when you walk by with hot drinks. Closed-toed, waterproof, slip-resistant shoes will help provide your feet with the best protection.
2. Slip hazards: The area behind the counter is where most spills will happen. Cleaning them up as quickly as possible ensures that all employees stay safe. If you spill something while tending to a task, let your co-workers know as soon as it happens. You don't want it to go unnoticed, even for a moment. Additionally, check on the lounge and self-serve area frequently to see whether there are any slip hazards that could threaten guest safety.
Always being aware of your surroundings will help keep you safe. You never know what might happen, but communicating effectively with your co-workers, investing in nonslip shoes and remembering your training will allow you to flourish in this great new work environment.
The first few rush-hour shifts may seem overwhelming at first, but you'll soon learn the ropes and enjoy your new job.
Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to foodservice employees for more than 30 years.Share this article