Cafe Worker Kaimahi Toa Kawhe

Cafe workers prepare, serve and sell food and drinks to customers at delicatessens, cafes, canteens and takeaway bars.

Cafe workers may do some or all of the following:

  • prepare foods such as salads, sandwiches, baked goods and meat
  • ensure food is fresh and kept at a safe temperature
  • prepare coffee beans and use a coffee machine to make coffee
  • make hot and cold drinks such as tea or juice
  • take orders, serve customers and answer their questions
  • weigh, price and pack food
  • clear tables, wash dishes and clean and stock food cabinets
  • manage the till
  • order food from suppliers
  • supervise other staff and organise work rosters.

To specialise as a barista, you usually train on the job. Some employers may offer the opportunity to gain barista skills through short courses at polytechnics or private training providers.

Physical Requirements

Cafe workers need to be fit and healthy as they are on their feet for long periods.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for cafe workers includes:

  • customer service
  • cooking and baking
  • food packaging and preparation experience.

Personal Qualities

Cafe workers need to be:

  • friendly, helpful and polite
  • quick and efficient
  • honest and reliable
  • good at customer service
  • good at remembering orders
  • able to communicate clearly
  • able to take instructions well, and work well in a team
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work well under pressure.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for cafe workers includes:

  • customer service
  • cooking and baking
  • food packaging and preparation experience.

Subject Recommendations

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a cafe worker. However, home economics (food and nutrition), maths and English to NCEA Level 1 are useful.

For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience. This programme may help you gain an apprenticeship, but doesn't reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

Cafe Workers can earn around $17-$18 per hour per year.

Cafe workers may progress to work as a bartender or waiter/waitress, or move into management or supervisor roles.

Cafe workers can specialise as baristas.

Barista
Baristas prepare and serve coffee, and other hot and cold beverages. They know different coffee types, how to use coffee machines to extract coffee from beans and also know how to create latte art.
Cafe Worker