Being a barista is a prestigious and desirable position in any cafe and with the large amount of competition from other candidates who are hoping to win this job, you need to be well versed in all aspects of coffee making. During your interview when you can expect to be asked almost anything, from what do you know about growing, harvesting, roasting and brewing specialty coffees, what type of barista apron you wear, to, how would you handle a customer who was upset over a mistake you or one of your colleagues had just made when you are in the middle of rush hour and have many other customers waiting as well as watching your every move. These are the types of questions you can expect and some suitable answers: Q. How would you cope with an unruly, upset, complaining Customer? I have had a little experience with difficult customers and found the best way to proceed is a non-confrontational method and simply apologize to them regardless whether you consider they are right or wrong. It is not in the interests of the cafe or other customers to have a scene. Smooth over the incident in a professional manner and offer a new beverage or other item of their choice and thank them for being so understanding over the mistake. The idea would be to turn it into a positive incident where they will want to return and recommend the cafe to others. Q. How would you remain focused throughout your shift while doing repetitive tasks, sometimes for long hours? I have found the best way is to try and engage the customers in an interesting conversation where appropriate, such as sharing my knowledge about coffee growing, roasting and the different blends. During quiet spells, I find this is an excellent time to do tasks such as checking the stock and refilling the shelves as well as ensuring the whole area is spotlessly clean and tidy. Q. Are you available to work early morning and late night shifts, what about weekends and holiday times? I am more than willing to work anytime that I am needed, and can make sure I am available at short notice should the need arise. Q. How would you handle the high stress of our rush hours? I would ensure my colleagues and I were fully prepared and well versed in the company policies regarding service and customer satisfaction. Q. What is your favorite coffee? I enjoy my coffee black so I can savor the full flavor of different coffee beans and special roasts. Q. What extra skills do you have for this job? I have great communication skills as well as being customer focused and well versed in food safety and hygiene procedures. Q. What kind of Apron do you prefer? I prefer a specially designed barista apron because they are stylish, comfortable and practical. Working as a barista requires not only coffee making skills, but also good customer service skills and an ability to think laterally under pressure. Your interviewer will ask you questions about your suitability for working in their establishment, ascertain your experience level as well as work history and character.
- Louise Frost
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