How much can an owner expect of a Manager and how much are they compensated(paid/benefits etc)

Hi all,

This has been such a helpful place to get input so here we go again. I would like to hear what responsibilities are asked of Coffee Shop Managers and what do you pay them? I wrestle with this would love to know a somewhat norm in our industry.


I have two managers who both work 30 hours behind the this a norm that managers primarily work behind the bar as well as have higher level managerial duties?


Shoot, I've worked in the public sector for 25 years....the business world is very different!


Thank you so much...



Eugene Coffee Company

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I can't wait to see what others say on this topic. I'm trying to get clarification on this issue right now. I have 2 managers at my cafe and they work on a 'barista' wage and a 'manager' wage depending on their tasks of the day. When they are 'barista' they share and take tips. When they are 'manager' they don't take tips but get paid a higher wage.

The problem that I am running up against is being able to match the tips that they would make as a barista. I can't afford to pay them $16-18/ hr (what they essentially make when they take tips) so I'm asking to take a decrease in pay and do more work. What do others do?


Also looking into different roles of managers. Right now my 2 managers do essentially the same job but at different times of the day. I'm going to be changing this into 2 different roles- communications manager and operations manager. Any job descriptions that people would like to share would be extremely helpful!

I know that many coffee shops require managers to work on the floor 80% and do other tasks 20%.  What are the tasks you're asking managers to do?  The typical structure I have seen are shift supervisors who are responsible for cash control, tracking inventory and placing orders, etc.  Shift supervisors get paid a few dollars more an hour and also share tips.  Then there is one manager who creates work schedules, hires baristas and still spends 80% of the time on the floor.  Managers and supervisors usually don't work the same shifts.

I've been in the banquet then restaurant then catering then coffeeshop industry for almost 20 years and this isn't an easy question and really depends on the situation.  Are you working at the shops at all?  If so, I think you can get away with just having shift supervisors who are paid extra to cover additional duties (i.e. closing tills, ordering, scheduling, leadership when you are away).  Don't spend money on a true manager if you are acting in that capacity.  If you are basically completely hands off, hire a manager and pay a manager wage, but then the main responsibility of that person is to support the others in doing their job.  There are plenty of people who will take a salary instead of tips even if it means making less for them.


As for a manager wage... I bet if you advertised something at $13-$15/hour that you'd get plenty of takers, you just might have more turnover then you'd like.  Depending on your volume, perhaps one manager and some shift supervisors is the way to go.

That's really helpful Dan! Thanks for the insight.

Personally, I'm working for the position at my shop. I work full time as a Barista but the important thing to remember, if you wanna be a good boss, is that your managers are constantly "managers"; answering questions baristas and customers have, we watch how the shop flows and make mental notes on what needs fixing. A manager shouldn't have an on/off switch you know? We still split tips with our baristas because we're still helping make half the coffee. I try to get my manager work done while I'm on shift as a barista. So I get a few dollars more an hour than our baristas. Not a ton more, the job is plenty rewarding.

hope that helps


having two strait up "managers" can create some friction down the road, have one main & an Assistant, the assistant can be hourly and take tips work more floor ,heavily support floor staff  where as the Mngr is on salary &  does more admin based actions-inventory, budgets, P&L, hire/fire, public relations(if you or your owner doesnt take those decisions on )ect,. Working line is pretty much par for the course no matter the job description. The best bottom line focused managers should know how  smile pretty and hold their own in a rush
Thanks so much everyone for your ideas and feedback. This has been very helpful as i continue to delegate duties as well as compensate accordingly. Thanks!!!

In my opinion, the role of the manager should be "to act as the owner". Order/receiving of inventory, human resources (scheduling, hiring/firing, etc), keeping track of payroll, and most of everything else other, more eloquently spoken people have typed above.

If your manager is doing these duties, this almost certainly defines that you are out of the shop on a regular basis, either looking over the business as a whole, "floating" between locations to oversee the managers, and various other "behind the scenes" activities. If that's the case, you should also expect that person to work at a minimum 40 hours a week, with atleast 20% of that handling the duties outlined in the above paragraph. Depending on your market, and your business strength, I can see this job falling between the $12-18 an hour range, easily. I can tell you here in Sacramento, where the coffee culture is better than it was, but still not overflowingly great, that some managers of specialty shops are making between $14-$20 an hour, plus benefits (depending on the business, obviously). In Eugene, I would expect your number would be in the mid range of that. 

If your manager isn't handling those duties, but is still assisting in the execution of those duties, $10-$12 an hour seems about right.


Of course, this is from my own opinion/experience, and in a perfect world, we would all afford to pay those numbers, if not greater pay. I feel like we're on the cusp of turning that corner, but I don't think we've made that change yet. I hope some of that helps. 

My 'Manager' is different but then so is our set up. I am the owner, I am on the job 15-18 hours a day 6 days a week (if we are open, I am here). Just recently I have had need of 'away time' for errands, events, and personal things (like graduation for daughter, College visits, etc. ). During those times I make sure my 'manager' can be on sight. She functions as Barista and shift manager/ but also is trust worthy enough to have access to my office for back up money for the till, my computer, handle customer complaints (we don't get them often but they are usually ugly when we do) and can answer most phone calls that are for me. She is not authorized to hire or fire, she may take job applications and do a preliminary interview (screening). She may do "write-ups" on employees if there is any issue with an employee. Heaven forbid but if I should have an employee that did something really wrong, she could ask them to clock out and leave immediately.

She is my oldest (in age & time) and most trust worthy employee. She has the maturity and experience to do the job. She is paid the same wage as my cook/baker which is the second most critical position in my shop. Without her I would not have the high quality of food products available.

These two ladies help me keep my business running and my sanity in tact. Without them I would have serious issue... yes they know their worth to me. They know we are paying them as much as we can afford and as the business improves so do their wages.

Tips are not divided in our place; we tried that, it cause turmoil. We pay straight wages and what tips come in go to pay those wages. Should we ever be well enough off that we can p[ay great wages and do not need the tips than we will use it for charity and our crew can help vote as to the charity or charities we will donate to.

Hope that helps.


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