If you are here, it is assumed you are a bartender in a local restaurant, pub or club. If not, you probably want to learn. This section begins with some grassroots essentials to becoming a good bartender. If you are bartending now, it is always good to review to keep your fundamentals fresh. Bartenders have a tendency to get burned out or develop ABS (Arrogant Bartender’s Syndrome), so let’s refresh to put the train back on the tracks.
“ When a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience.”
There is no better way to gain experience in the food and beverage industry than to work behind the bar. In this position, you see and hear everything that can be seen or heard. Here are some guidelines for a successful career behind the bar:
DON'T LET YOUR STRESS TRANSFER – We know it’s busy and you’re three deep in the weeds, but don't let your stress build to the point that you take it out on your clientele. Take a deep breath, rushes pass...
ECONOMICS OF FUN – As a bartender, you can set the tone of the atmosphere as well as impact your customer’s experience. While one part of your job is to serve, another is to ensure your guests have an excellent experience. This experience should be one that they tell their friends about and has them returning again and again.
THE HOUSE COMES FIRST – Never forget who you work for. Don't operate behind the wood with a hidden agenda. Do NOT steal. It is illegal and will end your career as a bartender.
SPEED IN ERGONOMICS – Efficiency of motion at all times. Make every movement count, so you can complete tasks in the fewest number of steps.
EVERY NIGHT IS NOT SATURDAY NIGHT – Every night is not a party. Stay home and save some money. You won’t last long as a bartender if you’re out partying every night.
MIXOLOGY IS AN ART – Take pride in the fact that you are a skilled mixologist and in control of a drug. Take pride in each cocktail you make.
REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE THE HOST – You’re a host serving guests. Make sure your attitude is friendly, gracious, and accommodating at all times. You’ve heard the saying - treat people like you would want to be treated.
A CLEAN BAR IS AN EASY BAR – Keeping a busy bar clean is a challenge, but there is no other choice. A dirty bar sends a message to guests that you either can't handle the business or don't care about sanitation and cleanliness. It is possible, so don't give up!
DON'T THINK ABOUT THE TIPS – Good Service = Good Tips! Don't be pre-occupied with your tips throughout the night. Of course you will get a bad tip from time to time, but these will be few and far between as long as you maintain efficiency. Also, remember to smile and do it often.
PRIDE – Service in America is a lucrative profession. It has become the fastest growing segment of the economy and second in size to the government. People come to bartenders to be cocktailed, fed, and entertained.
SALESMANSHIP – Salesmanship is one of the most important abilities bartenders must demonstrate in the performance of their job. Your enthusiasm and suggestion to try something new can make a big difference in how much you sell.
This is a common problem in the bartending world. Most bartenders don't realize that you don't want to muddle mint while making a mojito, or any other cocktail that requires mint leaves for that matter. Mint leaves only need a light press to release the oils to flavor the drink. When you muddle the mint it brings out a bitter taste that overpowers the natural mint flavor. So, the next time you make a mojito - go easy on the mint!
The simplest and generally the most rewarding way is to be so nice it is almost sickening. When you are all smiles and laughing but polite and guiding the customer has no real choice but to go with the flow. The best "cut offs" and walk outs start with just being honest and leaving no room for negotiation. Always know someone's name before you push them on the exit path. It gives you more credit with them and their friends and establishes you are not some jerk ending the fun you are just the guy or gal who is doing there job and being responsible.
For example: "Cameron buddy i think your time at our fine establishment is coming to an end(place laugh here)you have a ride home or should I call your parole officer....again?(hit up another laugh and grin and wait for the reply).