Employment Prospects


There are more than 5.4 million food and beverage serving and related workers employed in the United States. According to IBISWorld, the U.S. retail coffee industry generated revenues of $46 billion in 2018, after growing 5.9 percent over the previous five years. Citing National Coffee Association figures, the research firm indicated that about 57 percent of the nation's adults consume coffee every day, reflecting a per capita consumption increase of 1.2 percent since 2013. Baristas may be employed by small coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants such as sandwich shops, tea rooms, soda shops, and diners; and larger coffee shops, restaurants, hotel dining rooms, ships, trains, and many other establishments where beverages and food are served. 

Starting Out

Baristas typically get their start by applying for part-time jobs at coffee shops and restaurants. They may find job openings through postings in newspapers, through local offices of the state employment service, or through employment agencies. Franchise operations also list job openings by region on their Web sites.

Advancement Prospects

After two to three years of full-time work, baristas may advance to become managers or supervisors. They may take continuing education courses and receive training and certification to advance their knowledge and skills. If they work in a small coffee shop or restaurant, they may expand their skills by taking a job in a larger establishment.

Baristas with an interest in entrepreneurship may want to own and manage their own business. Some may go back to school to get a degree in business management before opening their coffee shop or cafe.

Tips for Entry

Visit these Web sites to search for job openings:


If you seek work in a large establishment, consider joining the professional union UNITE HERE to improve your odds of landing the job and receiving a fair salary.

Improve your skills and employment prospects by getting certified by the Specialty Coffee Association or the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.

Visit the Web site of the Barista Guild of America to learn more about upcoming events and educational programs for baristas,