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Coffee Shop Management: Responsibilities and Essential Skills of a Great Coffee Shop Manager

Marcel DeerAuthor

Coffee is a huge deal. Three out of four Americans drink this dark, delectable beverage every day, and 32% of people purchase coffee from a coffee shop one to three days a week. That gets into huge numbers, so it’s no wonder that the global coffee market has been valued at 127 billion USD and is expected to grow. With thirst and affection for this beverage fueling the coffee shop industry, there’s a huge amount of opportunity for growth but also tons of competition to deal with.

In order to stand out from the competition, a great coffee shop needs to have a great manager. In this article, we’ll look at the roles and responsibilities of a coffee shop manager as well as the key skills and qualities you’d want to see in them. I will also share my top tips on how to succeed as a coffee shop manager in today’s environment. So grab a cup of joe and get ready for a quick read about what makes an excellent coffee shop manager.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The key responsibilities of a coffee shop manager

  • Essential skills necessary for this role

  • Top tips for coffee shop management success


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The Roles and Responsibilities of a Coffee Shop Manager

Coffee shop managers need to do a lot. They take on a wide range of roles and responsibilities, and their day-to-day work varies depending on whether they run independent shops or franchises of large chains. 

Here are some of the roles and responsibilities they usually take on.

Hiring and staff management

When we think of a coffee shop manager, we probably first think of their role in recruiting, training, monitoring, and managing staff. This is true, at least in small or independent coffee shops where they act as HR, trainers, and management rolled into one. Larger shops and chains may at least provide them with help with recruiting and corporate training. But ultimately, it’s the responsibility of the manager to ensure staff members are prepared and working correctly.

Inventory management and supplier coordination 

A manager might delegate taking stock to their staff, but ultimately, the coffee shop’s inventory is their responsibility. They have to keep the shop stocked with beans, sugar, cream, and much more – and ensure that nothing ever runs out. They also communicate with suppliers, create agreements, and monitor deliveries so that nothing is ever missing, and revenue keeps flowing in. 

Financial management 

Speaking of revenue, balancing the books is also the manager’s job. They might also work with the business’s accountant and monitor financial performance. They also have to be on top of bill payments to suppliers for rent and utilities, staff wages, and any other expenses that might be incurred. 


Franchises from large coffee shop chains will have their own marketing departments, but small, independent coffee shops rarely do. So, marketing responsibilities often fall to the manager. They may hire a marketing firm and work with them on the creation and implementation of a marketing plan to get the word out about the business. This can often include promotions, events, and advertising, as well as surveys to determine levels of customer satisfaction.

Customer service 

What keeps customers satisfied even more than great coffee is an outstanding customer experience. This includes cultivating a great atmosphere, ensuring your products are excellent, and providing excellent service. It’s the manager’s job to train staff on all of these things, following the standards and protocols that they create. The coffee shop manager is also responsible for addressing customer concerns in a positive and appropriate way. 

Regulatory, safety, and legal compliance

Any food and beverage business is going to have to comply with strict health and safety regulations, and a coffee shop is no exception. Keeping up cleanliness and safety in the workplace is everyone’s job, but it’s ultimately the manager’s responsibility. They need to train staff and make sure the premises are safe and accessible for both workers and customers.

Essential skills of a coffee shop manager 

As we’ve just seen, a coffee shop manager wears many hats and takes on a lot of different responsibilities. In order to be successful in this demanding role, they should possess a mix of skills and experience as well as the right character traits for the job. If you’re wondering what makes coffee shop managers great, this is a list of the skills and experience that successful managers normally have.


For the staff team of the coffee shop, the manager is their de facto leader and should be able to behave as such. They should demonstrate strong skills that include vision, dedication, and motivation, as well as integrity and responsibility so that they can lead their team by example. They should also be able to provide guidance and expertise whenever it’s needed so that staff members feel they can go to them when they need help. It’s also important that they have empathy and understanding of people in order to succeed in this service-oriented business.


People go to coffee shops not only to drink a warm brew but also to socialize. Managers need to have great communication skills in order to interact with customers effectively and make them feel welcome and appreciated. They should also be able to get their directives across clearly to their staff. Finally, managers need to stay in constant communication with suppliers and other ancillary service providers to ensure that business runs smoothly.


Organization is a key skill for any manager, whether in the coffee shop business or any other industry. First, the manager has to be able to manage their own time and tasks effectively. Then, they need to keep their staff organized, which includes scheduling and delegation of tasks. They need to keep the shop fully stocked and opening and closing on schedule as well. All this means a high level of organization is required for the success of the coffee shop.


Problems can crop up whether with staff, production, suppliers, or even customers. 

An effective manager will have strong problem-solving skills that help them keep their head in the game and come up with creative solutions to nip problems in the bud. When issues arise with customers, the coffee shop manager should be able to speak with them appropriately and provide them with acceptable solutions that help them walk away feeling appreciated and content.

Understanding of the industry

A successful manager is probably going to have a fair bit of experience in this industry. They need to understand how supply works, what customers are looking for, and how to provide a great customer experience. This understanding is key to their success and the success of the coffee shop as well.

Tricks to being a successful coffee shop manager 

Build an outstanding company culture

Howard Schultz, former CEO of international coffee powerhouse Starbucks, says that “Starbucks represents something beyond a cup of coffee.” 

It’s this idea of a corporate identity and a company culture that has helped this brand succeed. When you build a positive and inclusive work environment, staff feel secure and important. This helps them contribute more to the business and helps staff to be productive and happy in their work. 

Create a great guest experience

If you want your customers to keep coming back to your coffee shop, you’ll need more than great coffee. Find out directly from them how happy they are and how you can improve. Create a positive, welcoming atmosphere that will continue to bring them through the door. Above all, make sure that your staff members are providing attentive, positive, and appropriate service to please your valued customers.

Stay up to date with staff training and cross-training

New changes to policies, procedures, products, and equipment can all necessitate re-training your staff. But don’t stop there. Cross-training will help them learn how to do other jobs and create space for lateral movement in the coffee shop. This also helps them empathize with their teammates and be able to fill in on different shifts if needed.

Never stop learning 

Coffee has been around for hundreds of years, but that doesn’t mean that the coffee shop business isn’t constantly changing. As a manager, stay on top of these changes by keeping current. You can take courses, gain certifications, and even explore innovations online to help you build your skills and knowledge and stay relevant.

Great Coffee Shop Managers

Great coffee shop managers understand their industry and have years of experience. They hold the knowledge and skills required to succeed and manage both the business and their staff effectively. They’re also people who are ready for the roles and responsibilities they need to take on. Once you’ve got a great coffee shop manager, your business will be ready to succeed.


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