10 Things Bartenders Should Be Doing... Today - Especially #3

by Michael Garrison

10 Things your Bartenders should do TODAY!

  • 1.Keep a clean bar during the shifts.

I have seen a lot of bartenders that think since they are busy it is OK to make a mess of the bar (because they think it makes them faster). In reality they will misplace items and have to search for them on the next drink slowing them down. There is a simple formula for this. 1. Pre stock correctly. 2. Everything has a place. 3. Everything in its place 4. Wipe down surfaces. Just following those 4 rules will help to keep order and a clean bar during the madness.

  • 2.Make it a point to remember names and drinks.

Customers like to feel special and when you remember their name and drink it can go a long way. Face it your in the service industry and that is good service which will help increase your tips. I tip more to a bartender that remembers my name and drink at the establishments I frequent.

  • 3.Make sure garnishes and fruit is fresh cut for each shift.

Fruit is perishable and should be cut per shift. Cutting a gallon bucket of limes for 2 days worth of drinks is wasteful and sloppy. Have each bartender cut their garnishes for their shift. This way there should only be a small amount of extra, which should be used at the beginning of the following shift.

  • 4.If you use drink machines rotate stock fully.

Sounds like common sense, but so does wearing a helmet on a motorcycle. I have seen establishments take the old juice, put that in a container in the walk in. Then, in the morning make a new batch and add the old container to that. Now we have juice that could be very old in the batch. Label date and rotate all juices or blended drink machines and use each batch to completion.

5. Clean your keg cooler / bottle coolers.

Make sure bartenders regularly clean the keg cooler once a week (maybe while rotating stock) All areas of the bar need to be spotless, not just those seen by customers. A clean back of the house shows they employees the level of cleanliness and organization you expect.

  • 5.Follow a written process for the rotation of stock.

Make sure any perishable stock is labeled, dated and rotated in accordance with the written guidelines.

  • 6.Do a weekly deep clean of your bar.

Even if this is not a requirement of your establishment, you should deep clean the bar every week cleaning behind all coolers, cabinets, etc. This will keep fruit flies, critters, and pests from infiltrating your establishment.

  • 7.Protect the Liquor License.

We repeat this a lot, but with no license there is no bar, and with no bar you have no job. This is one of the most important things you can do. Do not be afraid to offend people, you must check IDs.

  • 8.Pour test yourself.

Don’t wait for management to ask you why the spirits cost were 30% last month. Test yourself proactively to make sure you are pouring the proper amounts. You can also use a jigger to control your pouring.

  • 9.Clean draft beer lines weekly.

Make sure to clean your draft beer lines once a week. This takes some time, so it might be a good activity for a Sunday morning shift if you live in a state where sales are prohibited before noon.

  • 10.Pre Stock.

Stock your bar according for your shift. Nothing will slow you down faster than having to go to the walk in for more cranberry juice when you have 10 tickets piled up in the server well. Even if the last shift did not do their job correctly, you must what you need. Point out any deficiencies to the management and then stock it yourself to ensure you have a successful shift. Encourage your management to have written stock levels of all items so there is a quantifiable way to measure the deficiencies from the previous shift. 

Michael Garrison
Michael Garrison


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