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How to Become a Counter Service Assistant

If you are passionate about working in the food industry and if you love having people around you, you may consider the job of a counter service assistant as your career choice.

A counter service assistant is an individual who is responsible for greeting and serving customers buying food and beverages at various eating joints and food chains. If employed in a coffee shop, you may also be known as a barista.

Job Responsibilities

As a counter service assistant, you are expected to perform various duties such as:

  • Taking orders from customers
  • Meeting basic customer services needs
  • Advising on product content and menu choices
  • Keeping the work area neat and clean
  • Handling payments made by customers
  • Providing balance and receipts for checkout
  • Serving orders to customers
  • Operating vending machines
  • Restocking of supplies
  • Handling complaints and enquiries from customers
  • Clearing dishware
  • Performing maintenance duties

Working Hours and Conditions

You usually work for around 40 hours a week. Part time and seasonal work is very common in this profession. It is also common to work evenings and weekends in this job.

You are expected to wear uniform as a part of your job. This job may be physically taxing as you have to be on your feet all the time.


Your starting salaries may vary depending upon your age and meet national minimum wage requirements.

 Full-time counter service assistants

£10,000 to £13,000 a year 

 Experienced assistants

Around £15,500 a year


Around £17,000 a year


Entry requirements

To become a counter service assistant, you don’t need any specific qualifications. This is an entry-level retail position. When seeking employment, your employer looks for:

  • Customer service skills
  • Multitasking skills
  • Effective communication skills

The qualifications that may help you in your career growth include:

  • Introduction to Employment in Hospitality (Level 1)
  • General Food and Beverage Service Skills Certificate (Level 1)

You may also consider getting into this profession through an Apprenticeships scheme.

You may refer to the Hospitality Guild website for information on training providers in this field and other career related information.


Once employed, you are usually trained on-the-job by experienced staff members. Many large fast food chains offer beginners structured training programs. Your employer may also train you in areas such as customer service and food safety. He may also encourage you to work towards various professional qualifications such as:

  • Award in the Principles of Customer Service that includes Hospitality, Travel and Tourism (Level 2)
  • Award in Practical Food Safety in Catering (Level 2)
  • Diploma in Hospitality Services (Level 2)
  • Award in Barista Skills And Knowledge Desc (Level 2)

Skills and Interests Needed

To be a counter service assistant, it is vital that you demonstrate the following:

  • Good inter-personal skills
  • Warm and friendly disposition
  • Team working skills
  • Flexible attitude towards work
  • Personal hygiene and cleanliness
  • Be able to work under pressure
  • Health and safety awareness
  • Good numerical skills to manage stock and cash

Career Prospects

You may find easy employment with a variety of food outlets.

With experience and relevant skills, you may be able to move to different types and sizes of business.

Last word: This job is suitable to only those who like working in a public environment. Also, it is vital that you work efficiently and quickly so as to maximize sales.

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