Do you dream of spending your days in a café, enjoying the smell of coffee, and getting to meet new people every day? A career as a café manager might be the perfect fit.
Café managers are vital to any coffee business. As a career, it can be highly rewarding and engaging, especially if you get to work at artisanal or specialty cafés. A café manager oversees much of the daily operations at a café in addition to other tasks like staff management, inventory, finances, and more.
What Does a Café Manager Do?
Essentially a café manager ensures that a café runs smoothly and according to business goals day in and day out. They are responsible for keeping the café operational, ensuring customer satisfaction, and maintaining operational efficiency.
A café manager needs to be a jack of all trades. You need extensive knowledge of coffee, both as a drink and as a business. Café managers need to have basic brewing knowledge to work in most cafés. In some speciality cafes or roastery cafés, they may also need to be familiar with operating roasting and grinding machinery.
Café managers also need to have strong business decision-making skills so they can make sure that the café is running efficiently and turns a profit. They are often in charge of overseeing the business accounts for a café, budgeting expenses, and managing the inventory. In addition, they also have to manage employees by looking after hiring, setting shifts, and managing any issues that arise for the staff.
Cafés may also require their café managers to interact with customers. This can vary from polite conversation to educating customers on the intricacies of coffee.
Additional responsibilities can include:
- Overseeing marketing and advertising
- Organizing the menu
- Quality testing the menu
- Ensuring health and safety compliance
- Managing purchases
As a café manager, you also need to be prepared to work odd hours and possibly on weekends. The job needs you to be on your feet a lot, the work environment can get noisy and tiring, and any customer service job is draining. Keep this in mind but don't let it discourage you.
What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Café Manager?
Most café managers have a background in hospitality or a related field. However, this isn't a strict requirement and many people pursue successful careers as café managers with basic qualifications or an unrelated degree.
A degree or diploma in hospitality, management, culinary science, or restaurant management would give you a big boost in the job market. Working as a café manager is a process of always learning so rather than focus on just degrees, it would be better to focus on a mindset of continuous growth and learning. Upgrading your skills and knowledge in various disciplines like social media management, coffee preparation, basic accounting, and people management can go a long way.
Important Skills For A Café Manager
To be a successful café manager you can't rely solely on diplomas and certifications. You also need to have core soft skills to make sure you perform at your best and help others flourish as well.
Some of the core skills for a café manager include:
You will need to interact with customers every day in a polite, professional, and engaging manner. Being good at small talk and having a patient mindset can help you sail through the days.
- Time management and organisational skills
While managing a café, you need to maintain accurate inventory lists, make timely purchases, and organise tasks for yourself and other employees. All this needs to be done smoothly and efficiently so good time management and organisational skills is a must-have
Café managers often have to negotiate with vendors and suppliers. Having a keen sense for business deals combined with some people skills should help you out here.
Skills such as food preparation, brewing, recipe formulation, and menu planning can help you make a mark as a café manager. Additional skills such as speaking multiple languages and being internet savvy are also in great demand.
How Much Does A Café Manager Earn?
Salaries vary depending on where you work- both geographically and the type of establishment. Café managers for small or new cafés might earn on the lower end of the scale, while those working at established or premium cafés would earn more. Geographically, café managers earn more in certain parts of the world (like Europe and the US) than others.
In the US, café managers can expect to earn USD $48,000 per year on average. The upper limit can go as high as USD 83,000 while the lower limit sits around USD 28,000 per year.
Ultimately, if you have a passion for coffee, love working with people, and are looking for something that keeps you learning, then a career as a café manager might be a great fit. Spend some time in cafes, talk to those in the industry, and maybe you'll take the leap into a coffee career for yourself.