Why get involved with coffee, juice & refreshments?
The UK is a thirsty nation. According to the UK Tea Council, the UK drinks an estimated 165 million cups of tea and 70 million cups of coffee every day! Consequently, an absolute multitude of hot drinks establishments are popping up all over the place. Our high-streets are littered with shops selling scorching coffee and steaming tea.
Furthermore, the nation is beginning to hanker after cold fruity beverages too. According to the Grocery Trader, a quarter of the UK population now drinks smoothies; and in response to this trend, a large amount of juice bars are starting to open up everywhere. The availability of careers in these establishments is on the rise, so if you’ve got a thirst for hard work, then why not look for a graduate job as a barista or a juice operator?
What's it like working in a coffee shop?
A career working in a coffee shop is not necessarily going to be like working in Central Perk in Friends. It’s highly unlikely that you will be simply hanging out with your mates and occasionally pouring them cappuccinos and lattes. Careers in this kind of drinks establishment can be fast-paced and a lot of hard work. You will be constantly on-the-go, making drinks and dealing with customers.
These careers are all about practical skills and customer service. Therefore, in order to succeed you will need to be energetic, enthusiastic and friendly at all times. You will need a certain amount of stamina and resilience to ensure you maintain that level of gusto throughout your shift. You will need to develop a range of different practical skills and you will most likely be trained in the use of technical coffee-making or juice-squeezing machinery.
It is unlikely that you will need any specific academic qualifications to work in these careers. The most important thing is your ability to give great customer service and learn new skills quickly.
What jobs can I do in this field?
Your first step in a coffee shop career is likely to be as a ‘barista’. This might sound like you’re going to be donning a wig and representing criminals in court. However, it is actually an Italian term for a professional coffee-maker.
These guys operate different types of machines to produce a whole range of coffees and teas, from espressos and Americanos, to soy lattes and herbal teas. They will also deal with customers directly, processing transactions and sometimes serving food.
Some baristas are highly trained and talented individuals who have an expert knowledge of coffee and how to prepare the perfect cup. There is even something called the World Barista Championship, where the world’s best coffee making experts go head-to-head to see who is the best at making the world’s much-loved brown elixir.
From working as a barista, you might be promoted to become a supervisor, an assistant manager and then a coffee shop manager, where you will be in charge of managing all staff, monitoring financial performance and ensuring customer service and hygiene standards are met. You might even be promoted to become a regional manager, where you will be responsible for overseeing the operations of a range of different establishments.
Working in a juice bar, you are likely to start out as a juice operator or a general team member. Here, you will be using specialist equipment to turn fresh fruit into tasty juice and smoothies, interacting with the customers, cleaning up and processing transactions. Again, as you progress you will get more managerial responsibilities, becoming an assistant manager and then a full-blown manager, where you will be responsible for recruiting, training and managing staff, opening and closing the establishment, and monitoring finances and stock.
Coffee shop and juice bar chains have a large number of stores across the UK. To maintain their brand identity and to make sure that the level of service is the same throughout each store, these companies will hire a range of people in marketing, human resources, training, finance, procurement and I.T. roles, who work at the companies’ central offices.
Do you fancy yourself an expert on brews and coffee beans? Are you refreshed by the idea of a career in the coffee, juice and refreshments industry? If so, this could be the career path for you!