How Much to Baristas Make?
In addition to having a flexible schedule baristas can make very good money on their shifts.
The purpose of this article is not to overstate the potentially high hourly wage for many baristas at independent coffee shops and cafes. Yet, we believe that we should also not underestimate a barista’s ability to make good money through their daily tips!
Here are the facts: Baristas often make minimum wage or close to minimum wage in many cities and states. Larger cities in progressive states often higher minimum wage laws. Aside from the federal minimum wage (currently at $7.25), states, and cities also have their own minimum wage. For example, at the time of this writing, in Seattle the minimum wage is $15, depending on the size of the company you work for.
How much a barista makes per hour, really depends on a number of very important factors that should not be overlooked. The first being what type of business is it? Is the barista working at a “big chain” coffee shop or an independent shop? Many big chains don't require or even make it possible for customers to tip on their credit card. Is tipping encouraged and promoted by signs. Is there a tip jar?
Now, to be fair, many bigger chains often offer other benefits like health care, paid time off, vacation, sick pay, etc. Independent coffee shops often do not have these benefits. However, many independent coffee shops and cafes realize that tips – or earning tips – are where their baristas make their much of their take home money and encourage tipping in various forms.
I think it's important for us to consider how much money you might – emphasis on the might – make if you were to be a barista.
For the sake of this article, let’s say that a barista:
Works a 6 hour shift
The café is in a medium to large city
Tipping is encouraged and expected
Patrons tip normal to above average (50%-90%) of the time.
The average tip is $1.00*
Some patrons will only tip left over change, while other customers will tip the left over change plus a $1 or $2 dollars.
A barista serving 20 people an hour and 16 of them tip the average of $1. On average, that’s $16 bucks an hour on tips alone. The busier the place, the better for your wallet, right? $16 + $8 per hour ($24 an hour)
Let’s say you work at a busier place where there are three baristas and you serve 75 coffees an hour – and the average tip of $1. (Some may not tip but others may tip $2 or more)
This, of course if all hypothetical. But let's try to do that math:
$75 of tips per hour divided by 3 baristas = $25 per hour. If you make $8 as a minimum wage, how much would you make?
The answer $33 an hour.
6 hours X $33 = $198 a shift. (Of course, taxes are not counted).
Still, the possibility of making nearly $200 a day before you head to your afternoon Sociology class in the afternoon is pretty impressive.
Again, of course these are simply hypothetical scenarios that illustrate the possibilities of what baristas can make.
Even if you make $150 a day prior to starting your school day or going home to take care of your family, that's a pretty good deal.
Do Baristas Get Certified?
There is no national certification that is required for being a barista. However, this doesn’t mean there are not state and local requirements for handling food and beverages. Nor does it mean that coffee shop owners wont look to see if you have the passion to study and learn fundamental barista skills.
While federal law may not generally impact the hiring of a barista (with an exception to age, ability, discrimination issues, etc.), baristas may or may not fall into a category of “food handler.” Some municipalities that are eager to promote healthy food handling require, if not strongly encourage some training or the passage of health exams. For example, King County in Seattle heavily encourage employees and employers to require a “food handler’s card.” Check with your local city, county or providence (if you are outside the U.S.).
Barista Training Academy provides resources to learn basic barista skills online.