The duties of a cafe assistant can include an array of responsibilites, depending on the size of the establishment and its staff. The most crucial responsibilities will be assisting with the preparation of food and beverages, ensuring hygiene levels are maintained to a suitable standard and maintaining good levels of customer service.
A cafe assistant may have to prepare and serve food for consumption on the cafe premises or package them up for takeout orders. They will also be responsible for taking customer orders. Cafe assistants may also be required to clear used cutlery and plates when tables are vacated and to clean the tables thoroughly for the next arriving customers. Assistants also need to maintain repeatedly used general items such as coffee makers, ice makers and espresso machines. Cafe assistants will also need to operate cash registers to take payments from customers, or total the bill by hand if these facilities are not available. Other duties are likely to include washing dishes and utensils and helping take delivery of fresh food and beverages.
Cafe assistants should possess a pleasant demeanour, be good listeners and be polite and approachable. Dissatisfied customers are liable to make their complaints audible, so a cafe assistant will often need to display patience and a restrained temperament to successfully allay their concerns. They should also be capable of learning quickly and efficiently as poor service is rarely tolerated in the service sector. Wages are usually low and tips form a significant part of a cafe assistant's income. Cafe assistants should also be adept at working in a frenetic environment and multitasking. Duties are unlikely to be strictly scheduled so an assistant will often need to switch from one role to another on an impromptu basis. Cafe assistants also need to be attentive to customer requests and adept at taking and recalling orders accurately. The capacity to work well within a team is also essential because assistants need to work closely with co-workers to speedily fill and serve customer orders.
Some establishments may required GCSEs before employing a cafe assistant. Training can range from a few days to a few months depending on the candidate, but an experienced worker can normally train someone swiftly and efficiently. Previous experience in customer service roles is desirable but not essential. An in-depth knowledge of food safety and hygiene requirements would also be advantageous in carrying out duties, as would experience in sales or marketing to help promote your establishment to customers. Prospective cafe assistants would also benefit from being aware of general principles of quality control and general techniques for efficient distribution of goods and services.