Image of two Baristas making Coffee

How to change careers from a Warehouse Operative Job to a Barista Job

A job change or career change from your current Warehouse Operative job might at first seem like a challenge. If you aren’t really sure which direction to go in, think about something you enjoy. Do you like working with people? Do you know your espresso from your cappuccino? Then maybe you could turn that into a positive career move and consider a Barista job.

Although known as a nation of tea drinkers, it seems that the British are now consuming more and more coffee. Whether it is the result or the cause, we can find a coffee shop on any street corner in any town throughout the country. With this comes a new career opportunity; if you are a coffee lover, enjoy working with people and are looking for a career change from your Warehouse Operative job, then embarking on a Barista career could be the job change you are looking for.

Until a few years ago the word ‘Barista’ was not commonly known in the UK. It’s actual translation from Italian means ‘bartender’, but for us it has taken on the meaning of ’a person who makes and serves coffee‘. Being a Barista is not as simple as just pouring coffee and frothing milk, there is quite a lot more to it; you will likely have the necessary skills to get started but there is alot more to learn.

What are the basic requirements of a Barista?

As with any career, you will do your best if you enjoy what you do. So one of the most important requirements of a Barista job is that you should love coffee! As a Barista learning and developing your skills in the art of making coffee, you need to understand the flavours of the coffee beans and smell and taste the products; if you don’t like coffee then this will be a challenge.

Working as a Barista is a customer service job, so it is important to have excellent people skills. You will be dealing with the public so a positive, approachable manner, as well as patience, are necessary attributes. A Barista works as part of a team to serve the customers so you need to be able to work alongside others, especially when service gets busy, as it often will. You need to be able to work within the team and manage your time to continue to work well under pressure.

Initially there will be a lot to learn as you are faced with a shiny espresso machine, an extensive menu of coffee drinks and a cash register, so the desire to learn new skills and a genuine interest in the Barista job role is important.

Making coffee is an art and attention to detail is needed and expected.

If you are interested in learning more, read our what it’s like to be a Barista article.

What transferable skills are there for a Warehouse Operative to become a Barista?

As a Warehouse Operative you may think that you have no relevant experience to work as a Barista, but you will find that you have many transferable skills that can help you in any career change you make. The following list are some of the things that are most likely necessary as part of your job in the warehouse and are all aspects that will also help you in a Barista job role:

  • Team player
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to be on your feet for long periods
  • Time management skills
  • Basic numeracy and writing skills
  • Machinery operation
  • Data entry

How can you overcome any experience gaps with this job change?

While your transferable skills from the warehouse will help you in a new Barista job role, there will be some specific technical skills that you likely won’t have yet. Amongst other things, you will need to learn how to operate the espresso machine to create the different kinds of coffee, the process to correctly steam and froth the milk and how to make and present the extensive range of drinks. It is expected that many new Baristas will need to be taught these skills when they start and many will learn on the job.

Some Barista positions will prefer you to have some experience, so it can be helpful to gain a qualification as a Barista. If you look around you will find there are a lot of independent coffee establishments that offer Barista training, but a good place to start is to look at the Barista skills courses offered by City & Guilds. These will teach you about coffee equipment and ingredients, as well as how to prepare and make a variety of drinks and some customer service basics. While not always essential to get a Barista job, gaining a qualification will help extend your knowledge and give you confidence in your new skills. You can study either before you make your career change or when you have started your new Barista job. Having a formal qualification can also help with your future career progression.

How do you get a job as a Barista?

When you go for your interview for your Barista job, you need to show that you have good people skills, so let your friendly personality shine. Be prepared to talk about situations where you have had to deal with different personalities or conflicts in your current workplace or from previous jobs. You also need to convey that you are open to learning new skills and using them in your day to day role. Think back to when you started your Warehouse Operative job; what didn’t you know when you started? What do you know now? Use these examples in your interview to show your willingness to learn new skills and your ability to implement them.

Coffee shops have now become a part of our culture resulting in vast numbers of opportunities for Barista jobs all over the Country. To find a Barista job check out our latest Barista jobs.

How do you overcome challenges and progress in your new career as a Barista?

One of the biggest challenges of any customer service role is… the public! Dealing with different personalities can sometimes be difficult, but always remember that for every ‘tricky’ customer there will be many more ‘lovely’ ones. You will likely soon have your regulars and one tip we heard from a Barista is to remember the name of your regular customers and their usual drink – little details like that can go a long way.

So how do you handle the ‘challenging’ customers? We asked a Barista for her advice:

“Be patient. Be attentive and learn to make people feel like they are being heard. Accept that some people are never easy to please but continue to smile and be professional”.

As you start out in your Barista job it may at first seem a little overwhelming with all the new things you need to learn. Take it a step at a time, keep asking questions and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. A good boss will understand that this is how you will learn and they will give you the help and training required to do a good job – after all, this is their business and they want to their staff to do the best job they can. So, keep practicing and you will soon have the coffee making skills of a professional Barista.

What are the future career prospects for a Barista?

As we talked about in our Future of Work blog, customer service job roles are set to be one of the top 10 job roles of the future. If a Barista career appeals to you then you might be wondering about the career prospects. With experience as a Barista you could consider moving up into a supervisor role. Eventually you could work your way up to being a Coffee Shop Manager or you might even want to consider opening your own coffee shop business one day.

There may also be opportunities to move into managing a chain of coffee shops or, with the extensive knowledge of coffee that you have acquired, you may decide to move into the sales and marketing side of the coffee business.

Barista and coffee shop experience could also lead you into other hospitality roles, such as Front of House jobs or even Chef jobs, where people skills, time management and the ability to work under pressure are all extremely important skills.

To learn more about starting your career change, read our article on How to become a Barista. You can register your interest in Barista jobs with your local Blue Arrow branch.

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