Hire Right Staff for Your Cafe

Cafe Staff

At the very root of any successful organisation are the people behind the show. It is really that simple. Have a good hiring strategy in place that identifies the best people for the job and half the work of being successful is already over. However, it is easier said than done. Business owners and top HR executives should sit down and formulate plans, matching job requirements with the type of people that need to be hired. The best companies have clear cut guidelines in this direction with specific employee manuals.

Given this scenario, what are the steps that you should take as a cafe owner to hire the right staff for your establishment?

  • Define job requirements – Discuss with your managers the specific job requirements. There will always be a difference of opinion amongst your managers of what makes a good employee so you have to sort this out first. The next step is to put job ads in newspapers clearly defining the role that job aspirants will be required to play. Be as informative about your cafe as possible and be specific about qualifications and experience expected from applicants.

You can also get in touch with a recruitment agency in Melbourne or wherever your cafe is situated. In that case you do not have to go through the long drawn hiring process. These agencies have database of potential employees for different industries. Simply inform them of your requirements and the best fit will be sent to you for final interview. In Melbourne, the leader in this field is First Personnel, a hiring agency with long years of experience behind them.

  • Interview board of more than one – Have at least two managers conducting interviews. Every human being has a specific mental framework and hence the clouded judgement of one should not result in negating of a really good candidate. Managers should sync up after interviews and compare notes with one addressing concerns of the other. Further, have a core set of questions prepared before the interview that will bring out whether the candidate shares your values and concerns. From your side the interviews should be conducted in a manner that brings out the professionalism of your cafe.
  • Prepare for the interview – Strange as it may sound, preparing for an interview is a two way street. It is not only potential job seekers at your cafe that should come ready for the interview, you should too. Remember, the applicants are also evaluating you in their own way. Dress appropriately and read every resume beforehand. Have resume specific questions ready with you and your managers. Insist on every interviewee providing three professional references and make it clear that you will be reverting back to at least two of them. Your cafe is a purely service oriented business and people who are in direct contact with your patrons must have impeccable credentials and backgrounds.
  • Hiring for a new cafe – While the basics of hiring for a new or running cafe are the same, there are some background preparations that are required for ones starting off. You have to decide on the number of staff required to optimise your services. Over hiring will increase your recurring expenses and as a new business you can hardly afford to do so. Decide on the number of managers, chefs, cooks, dishwashers, serving staff, hosting staff and bartenders you need to get your business off the ground. A well structured hiring policy from the initial stages of business will pay you rich dividends in the long run.

A cafe is a client centric business so setting benchmarks of excellence in customer service through the right staff is crucial for you.

The History of Cafes – An Overview from Vienna

cafe

Cafes are closely linked with the addiction for coffee and people have been enjoying it for over 500 years now. Cafes started as a meeting place where citizens gathered to carry on conversation over the brown cup of liquid. It was not a matter of common talk only; it soon became a haunt for intellectuals where debates took place as well as discourse on revolutions, technological innovations, books and enlightenment on various subjects that then ruled the world.

To trace back the history of cafes it is necessary that the first stop should be Vienna. There is a story that needs to be told here. The rapid spread of coffee houses and cafes started in 1683 when Armenian spy Diodato opened the first cafe in Vienna. He served at the Viennese Imperial Court and was accused of being a double spy, snooping for both the Hapsburg and the Serbians.

At the turn of the 20th century, Viennese coffee house culture grew exponentially in popularity. It became a get together ground for pacifists, intellectuals, journalists, writers and artists who were disillusioned by the senseless killings of the First World War. One of the well known cafes in Vienna is Phil at 10-12, 1060 Vienna. It is basically a bookshop cafe that serves delicious breakfast and brunch. Tourists revel in the cafes of Vienna which is a mix of the traditional and the modern in aesthetics and interior decoration.

While it is true that cafes have been largely responsible for shaping the cultural ethos of Vienna, contrary to popular belief, the city is not the cradle of the European coffee house. The earliest evidence of the existence of European coffee houses goes back to Venice in 1647 and the distinction of having the first coffee houses in the world rests on Mecca from way back in the 12th century.

The popularity of coffee houses is largely attributed not to the brew itself but on the interactions of the people who visited it. Cafes were traditional meeting places to exchange views, conduct debates and in general present a view of the world from the perception of thinkers who moulded public opinion.

There is an interesting angle to cafe culture. It is thought that addiction to caffeine brought the thinkers to cafes repeatedly and it is the effect of caffeine that really opened up their minds. A fascinating example is that of Balzac the great French writer who is known to have eaten dry coffee grounds to stimulate his creative writing talents. Unfortunately he died at the young age of 49!

Cafes in the early days were perceived to be a common ground for commoners and hence were looked upon suspiciously by the rulers of the country. It was thought that they helped create an environment of discontent what with the radical exchange of views between visitors there leading to social and political revolution. King Charles II of England tried to limit the spread of cafes but did not ultimately succeed.

Apart from this, cafes were also places to conduct business. In 18th century London, cafes began to draw specific clientele which gave rise to cafes being patronised exclusively by lawyers, book-sellers or other businessmen. Ultimately of course these cafes managed to break through the barriers of exclusivity and became a space where people of all professions could mingle freely.

A final word from Australia – people of Melbourne love their coffee and it is therefore no wonder that the museum in the city has a section devoted to cafe culture as part of the History and Technology collection. A large number of exhibits are from the historical Black Cat Cafe which closed in 2001. These include cutlery and crockery, posters, leaflets, photographs and artworks.

There can be no greater tribute to cafes and coffee house culture than this.