Tips for Successful Coffee Shop Management

The Importance of Effective Coffee Shop Management

We specialize in teaching our students how to open successful coffee shops. Of course, while every step from idea to opening can support the long term success of your coffee business, most of our students hope to thrive for decades *beyond* their initial launch. That’s where strategic coffee shop management comes in. 

Effective coffee shop management can ensure your business is thriving day to day, week to week, and year to year. Managers are crucial to creating an environment that runs efficiently, effectively, and with the highest quality experience for your customer. We’ve put together some of our top tips for managing your coffee shop to help ensure your business thrives. 

For our most comprehensive business, barista, operations, and management training we offer, we recommend our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. Looking to refine your coffee shop management? Register for our next Coffee Shop Manager Training Class.  

Overhead look at baristas working in coffee shop behind bar

Be Intentional About Hiring and Team Development

There will be nothing more critical to your business than the people in it. However, we understand that hiring is extremely challenging right now in the service industry. Despite these challenges, it is still possible to create a team development plan that elevates the success of your business–whether that means investing in your current staff’s development or training a new hire with less experience.

Here are some of our tips: 

Hire with the mindset of building your team, not out of necessity: 

Effective business owners and managers understand that hiring is an investment. (They also understand that turnover is expensive.) That’s why, even in difficult circumstances, they hire with a team building mindset. When looking for your next barista or staff member, be intentional about hiring a person who brings value to the team. 

In the current job market, it may require retraining or “reskilling” an employee. For example, someone with an excellent hospitality or retail background might need coffee and barista training. But, they may bring excellent customer service skills to your business. Consider the value an employee adds to the team when making hiring decisions. 

Invest in your team’s development

Great managers have an individual development plan for each team member. Whether they desire to move up or improve their skills, there are always ways they can become more effective in their current role. (And, most employees will appreciate that you’re investing energy in their wellbeing and future.) 

We encourage every coffee shop owner to invest in comprehensive, quality barista training for their staff. Not only should a barista know how to make great coffee consistently, they should also understand how to track inventory, keep a clean, efficient working environment, and offer excellent customer service. As a manager, you also need to “train the trainer,” by equipping high-level baristas and team members to train new staff. 

Create an employee operations manual 

Barista training and team development require having systems and processes in place. The smoother things are running things behind the scenes, the better equipped your staff is to offer an over-the-top customer experience. We encourage coffee shop managers and owners to create an employee operations manual with clear standards for opening procedures, down-time, and closing. Include sections about cleaning, efficiency, and general tips and processes. 

Communicate your expectations

Having clarity and transparency about your expectations can help you hire and retain employees who help your business thrive in the long run. That’s why an employee operations manual is crucial. More ways you can communicate effectively to your staff include: 

  • Providing positive feedback
  • Posting staff schedules two weeks in advance to allow team members to plan and balance their lives accordingly
  • Offering reviews and opportunities for promotion
  • Knowing productive strategies to offer constructive criticism 

All of these strategies can ensure a better working environment for your team, which leads to better retention and a better atmosphere for your customers.

two women, baristas, at coffee shop smiling at camera

Track and Measure Success

Your staff is key to running your business. But YOU are the one who needs to model the excellence you expect from your team. A great manager knows the business inside and out. Not only do they understand how the business is running, they also know why. That’s because they track and measure key indicators to keep a pulse on the health of the business. 

We recommend managers run reports regularly to stay on top of key indicators such as labor, inventory, and sales. This can help a manager diagnose any issues proactively, measure success, and understand staff members’ performance. Having these reports available to compare performance month over month or year over year is what can help you with your long term business strategy.

And, during challenging times, knowing your coffee shop inside and out is going to help you make informed, strategic decisions to help your business stay resilient. 

Have Your Own “Why” That Supports the Company’s Vision

If you’re the founder of a coffee shop (or a Coffeepreneur®), you probably have a very clear “why” for launching your business and showing up to work each day. Managers, baristas, or staff members also have a “why” for the work they do each day. The clearer a leader is about *why* they do the work (and more aligned it is to the company vision) the better the work culture and environment of the coffee shop. 

As a manager, what lights you up in your work? Is it sharing your love and knowledge of coffee? Running a business with structure and efficiency? Seeing your staff thrive and grow? The smiles of your most loyal customers? Whatever it is, let it guide you in all of your work. After all, you’re a key component to making a small business thrive, providing employment, and creating a gathering space in your community. That sounds like pretty meaningful work, if you ask us. 

two men speaking in coffee shop, one employee and one customer

Get More Coffee Shop Management and Business Tips in Our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class

Would you like to attend the most comprehensive, up-to-date, detailed coffee business training in the industry? Grab a seat at our table for the 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. Or, check out all of our upcoming classes here.

Register for a Coffee Class

The Best Coffee Training Available

We’ve helped hundreds of students successfully launch their own coffee shop businesses. Join us in our 5-Star Rated Coffee Classes, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a coffee shop, a manager, a barista or home enthusiast looking to sharpen your skills.