Job Title: Cafe Manager

Salary: £25,000 per annum pro rata

Contract: Fixed term until October, with the possibility of a permanent contract

Reports to: Director

Working hours: 40 hours per week

Location: Helmsdale

Conditions and benefits:  28 days annual leave entitlement inclusive of public  local holidays 

Regular weekend working required; occasional evenings 

Other terms and conditions in line with the Timespan standard Contract of Employment

Deadline: Monday 27th February 2023

Timespan is looking for an enthusiastic cook to manage our River Cafe. River Cafe is in a beautiful spot in the Scottish Highlands overlooking the Helmsdale river and herb garden, and it’s central to Timespan’s ethos & the community it serves. - We believe that everyone deserves access to fresh, affordable, sustainable and ethically sourced food and our aim is to keep working with community partners and producers to develop a local food web for the village. We are committed to progressively reducing our carbon footprint. For this reason we strongly encourage applications from Zero waste policy projects proposing a mainly plant-based menu.  

This is an exciting role for someone who is experienced, creative, can create and deliver delicious seasonal menus, with a genuine love of food and sustainable produce,, and is buzzing with new ideas. This opportunity would also suit an artist with a keen interest in cooking & hospitality who would like to develop an education and skills programme around local food production and growing. We’d also like to hear from any street food caterers who would like a summer spot in the Highlands.

The River Cafe is open from April to October everydays from 10 to 5pm. From November to March it is open on Tuesdays from 12 to 4pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 to 3pm.

The Cafe Manager will be required to work 40 hours per week over the Summer season (from April to October), with the possibility of working 16 hours per week over the Winter season (from November to March) depending on the extension of the contract. The Cafe Manager will be assisted by two Cafe assistants who will work 25 hours per week over the Summer season. The role requires flexibility and commitment in working over the weekends. Group applications are positively evaluated.

Occasionally the cafe manager will be asked to work at dinners and events as part of Timespan's programming. 

The River Cafe:

The River Cafe has a capacity of 30 covers inside and 20 covers outside facing the river. It offers affordable food and drink for the local community, our museum visitors and for the Highland tourism. In the past the River Cafe has been transformed into a Caribbean Deli, a Prague Cafe, and hosted various pop ups including the Nigerian Baobab Women’s Project, the Levantine fermenting workshops, the Algerian and Hong Kong pop up from the Soul food Sisters, the Russian-Helmsdale fusion pop up, the local fish pop and a contemporary Scottish restaurant. 

The kitchen is small, fully equipped and open to meeting specific needs of the future cafe manager.

Who we are:

Timespan is a cultural organisation in Helmsdale, a village in the very north east of the Scottish Highlands, with local, global and planetary ambitions to weaponise culture for social change. Timespan is a place for art, research, heritage, local history, future propositions and action. We believe that cultural institutions are a political and public space which belong to society, and as such, have a responsibility to shape a brighter new world based on principles of equality, emancipation and inclusion.

Comprised of a local history museum, contemporary art programme, geology and herb gardens, shop, bakery and cafe, we take a holistic and integrated approach to our programme and organisation so all elements of what we do and are, service our civic and political agendas – to make art and heritage work meaningfully for our constituents and village and as tools for global cultural and social change.

We are committed to diagnosing and responding to urgent contemporary issues, which are rooted in our local context of remote, rural Scotland, and to approach these from a global and multi-disciplinary perspective.  We try to do this by assembling communities and individuals involved in art, science, heritage and activism, and deploy this collectively-produced consortium of ideas into action.

Timespan commissions a number of major projects each year, each aligned with broader social movements. We programme a number of regular strands of events to offer a broad and accessible platform into the wider research that informs our programme. We are committed to supporting the development of new work and have a programme of artist residencies

Main Responsibilities of the Post

  • To continue to develop a forward thinking vision for the café in collaboration with the Director
  • To ensure that the food and drink offering is of the highest standard: fresh, seasonal, great quality, with a local provenance, sustainable and accessible to all.
  • To uphold the highest levels of customer service by developing and managing relationships with customers, staff and suppliers to achieve the greatest mutual benefit
  • To manage the café staff team including managing recruitment, induction and training, ensuring the team is motivated to provide high standards of customer service, health, safety and hygiene at all times. 
  • To manage the staff rota, ensuring it is kept in line with the staffing budget available
  • To work up accurate production costs and appropriate retail profit margins for all stocked items made in-house or bought in
  • To order stocks in accordance with operational requirements and set budgets (in liaison with the Director)
  • To develop and deliver a programme of events for the Café in collaboration with the Director
  • To held quality control in regards to customer care, hygiene and safety in the workplace and in line with Timespan’s Environmental Policy
  • To ensure correct financial procedures are followed at all times, including EPOS till operation, end of day cashing up, and float reconciliation
  • To attend team meetings and other meetings, both internally and externally, as necessary
  • To take reasonable care for the health and safety of self and others in the workplace in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Selection Criterias 



  • A proven track record of experience of working in a busy kitchen / café
  • Experience in food preparation and presentation
  • Stock management experience, including inventory and stocktaking procedures. 
  • Show experience of finance management, maximising profits where it is possible
  • Experience of maintaining essential paperwork - Food Hygiene, timesheets etc. 
  • Experience of managing EPOS systems
  • Staff Management experience

Knowledge and skills

  • Good working knowledge of café management
  • Skilled in food and beverage preparation and service
  • Knowledge of menu development. 
  • Skilled in adapting menus for seasonal produce and to suit different audiences
  • Evidence of understanding the key issues relating to health and safety in a kitchen and food service environment
  • Problem solver, flexible and adaptable


  • Ability to work alone and as part of a wider team
  • Good leadership skills
  • Excellent time management
  • Enthusiastic and empathic, with a customer service focus
  • Attention to detail
  • Commitment to diversity and equality.
  • Highly organised
  • Inclusive approach



  • Experience in training staff to use and maintain equipment
  • First Aid Certificate
  • Barista qualification 
  • Baking to a high standard

Knowledge and skills

  • Knowledge of effective café management tools/systems
  • Knowledge of effective supply chain management
  • An understanding of Helmsdale’s small village context


Please submit:

  • Your cover letter should outline how you meet the essential criteria, what interests you about this opportunity and what you would bring to the role
  • The sample lunch menu should include prices and reflect what you think would be a popular offer at River Cafe.
  • An up-to-date CV demonstrating relevant experience to date.

as a single PDF using the subject line “Cafe Manager Application” to by 23:59 of Monday 27th February 2023

Recruitment Process

The selection process will consist of 2 phases. The first phase will consist of a shortlisting using the documentation provided in your application (cover letter, the sample lunch menu and the CV). The second phase will consist of an interview assessment in which you will be asked to create an example of a business plan and of a work rota, starting from the evidences that will be supplied by Timespan to the selected candidates.