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Important Considerations For Hiring and Managing Cafe Staff

Important Considerations For Hiring and Managing Cafe Staff

The goal of any business owner is to have confidence in their team to handle day to day activities. For those who have never taken on the responsibility of hiring, the process can seem overwhelming and complex. But, like any other business decision, having the right tools, resources, and strategies will help simplify the task of hiring, training, and managing a café team. 

If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your employee management programs, this article will be well worth your time to read. Below, we’ll outline a few important areas of people management, that any new or experienced café owner can utilise to help improve their abilities. 

Determining Why or When to Hire

Arguably the most difficult part of hiring is knowing when, why and how to do so. There are several reasons you’d consider hiring a team at your café. Perhaps you’re looking to reduce your workload, or maybe you’re simply trying to improve customer service by having a few extra hands on duty. However, the decision-making process must be carefully balanced, between having too many people, or not enough. 

Every café needs to have someone making coffees, operating the register, preparing food, and keeping things clean. The key is to hire enough people to run your business, but a gradual process is usually the best course of action. As an owner or manager, you’re the individual who will determine your hiring needs. But there are a few items that will help you make better or more informed decisions:

  • Consider the Competition: Visit your competition and determine how many people they have working during different times of the business day. 
  • Consider your Needs vs Wants: If there are areas you’d like some help with, perhaps quicker drink service or shorter lines, or if you want to focus your efforts elsewhere, think about your needs vs wants. 
  • Temporary or Permanent Hires: Finally, think about whether you need help temporarily or permanently. This is especially important if you expect seasonal increases of sales. 

How to Find the Right Café Employees

Hiring people to work at your café also includes picking the right individuals. In order to do so, you’ll need to place some advertisements or post jobs online to attract potential candidates. However, before you get too busy, consider what specific jobs you need to hire, and what’s important for those candidates to possess. 

  • Baristas and Wait Staff: The people who serve your customers at a café must be friendly, courteous, and polite. They are people-people first and foremost. However, they should also have some previous experience in service, preferably in café or fresh food prep. Personality is the most important attribute though. 
  • Kitchen Staffing: Those who prepare food must have the ability to multitask, thrive under high pressure situations, and have previous kitchen or food prep experience. They should also be dependable with good job references. 

These are the two primary entry-level positions of a coffee shop or café. When you begin the process of creating your job postings, make sure you include all requirements you’re looking for with each position. Be specific, and always establish high standards for the people you hire. 

Managing Your Team

After your team has been hired, the process of training and managing them begins. It’s always a proactive strategy to create a solid training regime that teaches your people the processes, methods, and procedures for completing their tasks – at the level you expect. One idea is to create a probationary hiring period, that will allow you to train and review the performance of all new employees before hiring them permanently. 

The key is to create realistic goals and expectations for your new employees and give them the best opportunities for success. Start their training on slower days, so you can spend time with them, or give them a relaxed and comfortable environment to learn their tasks. 

Set Rules and Disciplinary Procedures 

While you want to maintain a positive attitude with your employees, there are times where you’ll have to discipline them for unacceptable work performance or behaviour. Before you open the business, or hire any employees, you need to have set procedures for disciplinary measures and a policy on unacceptable work or actions. 

Your new employees need to be fully aware of this policy, and likewise, any standards or work performance requirements for their specific duties. Some common poor performance issues include failure to meet expectations, poor customer service, or a failure to comply with instructions. For cashiers, having over/shortage issues, poor cash handing skills, and other issues should be documented and explained prior to them starting their jobs.  

As the owner or manager, it is your duty to determine the source of problems, address them ethically, and provide a resolution for the issue. If you determine that termination is warranted, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there any legal issues that can come up due to termination?
  • Have you provided the employee with ample warning? 
  • What are there employee rights or regulations for termination in your state or country?
  • Do you need to provide them with a notice, or have their final check ready?
  • Can you replace them – or do you have someone available to start?

There are several resources such as local government websites, chamber of commerce, employee advocacy groups, other local business owners, and more that will help provide additional information about employee hiring and termination standards. It’s always best to verify with multiple sources before enacting any policies or consult with legal professionals. Insurance options should also be considered.

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