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So were chatting the other day over here at Be A Better Bartender about what it takes to be a bartender. We decided that we had to make a list. For four hours we argued. We argued hard. As lists go. We are pretty happy with what we have come up with. Tell us what you think below. Do you agree? Would you change any of them?

#bartending really is about working smart rather than hard Click To Tweet

This is unbiased from the views of both what a manager wants to see and what the customer wants to see from the bartender. We decided to flesh this out after our last post’s success.

Make Eye Contact

Be a roving Bartender and keep a wary eye. Greet all guests with a smile and eye contact as they arrive at the bar. On a quiet night there is no excuse for not providing a speedy service, but on a busy night if you can’t take care of a guest immediately, acknowledge them and indicate you will take care of them shortly. Even if you’re very busy, SMILE, make eye contact, nod your head. Human beings are insecure creatures. We all like to be smiled at.

Offer a Cocktail Menu

Greet all guests and offer them a cocktail menu as soon as they arrive.

3 Put Down Beverage Napkins (Beer Mats)

Put a bevnap in front of the customer you are serving, and those you know you will serve immediately afterwards. The bevnap in front of the customer tells other Bartenders that that particular guest is being looked after. It also makes customers feel acknowledged. It saves a Bartender asking ten people in a row, “have you been served?” because a bevnap was not placed in the first instant. If the bevnap’s gone when you come to put down drinks, replace it with another one.

Liqueurs

 

Offer a Sincere Greeting

As a Bartender dealing with a guest you have never met before, you must never appear surly or agitated, no matter what has happened in your personal life. A sincere hello must always be offered, remember: the money the customer spends pays your wage.

Make Sure You Know Everything

You are only as good as what you know. Every bar offers products and talents which are unavailable in most other places. Know all the products that you stock. Understand what the differences between products and techniques are. Learn all new products as they arrive. Be complete on your cocktail knowledge. Train yourself continually. Be motivated.

Up sell Knowledgeably

Offer customers alternatives. If you’re knowledgeable, it won’t sound like you’re up-selling. (‘Have you tried Blanton’s, it’s a rich single barrel bourbon’, etc). Knowledge when up-selling makes the customer trust your judgement, and more willing to be up-sold to.

Rum

 

Be Efficient

Whether it be for drinks, service or acknowledgement, efficiency is key. Never slow down a drinks preparation by carrying on a conversation with a colleague.  Get your priorities straight: take the order, make the drinks then sell the drinks. Remember you have two hands (and forearms). Make drinks in front of the guest whenever possible.

Be Organised

Continuously going back to a guest to re-check an order is highly inefficient. No-one expects you to remember dozens of orders. But you should be able to handle two different orders for mixed drinks. As you are waiting for a customer to hand over their card or pay, look up and ask the next guest what their order is. Organisation is the keyword.

Be Technically Proficient

Be professional and technically perfect. Work on your methods. Get your pouring exactly right. Understand how to shake drinks, how to stir, how to serve. You are a professional firstly and a showman secondly.

 

whisky tasting

 

Prioritise

Certain drinks deteriorate the longer you leave them standing, it is therefore imperative that you organise multiple orders in a systematic way. The long ice filled drinks first, the shorter drinks next, and the martinis last.  A long drink can sit at the bar for longer before it is unservable than a martini, which begins to warm immediately.

Secure Payment Immediately

Secure the payment as soon as possible. It is perfectly polite to ask, ‘Will you be running a tab?’, and if the answer is no, hand over the bill.

Check back on the guest and talk

Are their glasses getting empty? Do they want another drink? How did they like your recommendation? They will be pleasantly surprised. Create a friendly atmosphere, talk to the guests. Talk to them about drinks. Keep an eye on their drinks. Friendliness and conversation are welcome from a Bartender, but avoid long, involved conversations with guests that may interfere with service to other guests.

 

bartending FAQ

 

Be thoughtful and proactive

Look after customers who have little spillages. If someone is looking around obviously, find out if they are looking for the loos and point them out. Pour wine or Champagne ordered by the bottle; don’t let customers pull wet bottles out of their ice bucket, covering the bar and themselves with water.

Offer food

Know what’s on the food menu. Up-sell food, that’s what the food menu is there for. Use it. A bar is most often than not just a place to drink in. People will be able to drink more once they have eaten something.

Be Clean

Constantly check up on the state of the bar area. Check for spillages, dirty ashtrays outside, coasters, straws, napkins, empty beer bottles etc. No customer wants to put their elbows into a patch of spilt beer. Take away empty bottles and wipe at the same time. No more than one cigarette butt in an ashtray. Build it into your bartending behaviour; clean the bar top at every available opportunity.

Work as a team

Your bar team is more than just a collection of individuals. It is essential all bartenders, bar backs and floor tenders work as a team to provide an all-round service to the customer. It is pointless a bartender creating the most amazing looking and tasting cocktails if the customer then has to go and sit at a wet table with empty glasses on it.

 

bartender

 

Offer a sincere farewell 

“Cheers, thanks!”  Even if you’ve been busy and they don’t hear, someone else will. It’s the last thing they should remember about the bar they were in, and they will remember it was a friendly place.

Be as well presented as your drinks

Be clean. Look clean. Clean your fingernails. Guests don’t want orange peel flamed by someone with gunge under their nails. Pay attention to yourself.

Don’t serve the drunk, unruly or underage

If a guest is unruly or highly intoxicated, either upon entering the room or during the course of the evening, indicate this to your manager before offering an additional beverage service. Do not serve alcohol to persons under the legal age.  If you believe that a guest may not be old enough to drink, ask for identification.

Be helpful, be cool, take pride in who you are

You are here to turn difficult guests into friends, to make great drinks, to help people have a good time and even on occasion to teach people how to have a good time. Take pride in who you are and what you know.

All #bartenders need to read this! Click To Tweet

 

So what do you guys think? let us know below

 

 

Having worked within the hospitality trade for over 15 years I've done a lot. From scraping plates to the managing of 150+ staff and regularly creating thousands in revenue per week. My passion is creating a winning team that blows the competition away. There is no greater feeling than seeing the staff's achievements. So share away and let's all be better bartenders. | | The upkeep of this website can be thirsty work! Would you like to buy us a drink?

hello@beabetterbartender.com

Comments
  • Magik

    I think this is awesome! Always practice everyour one of these and I’ve been a bartender about 14 yrs. I especially like working in the small hole in the wall bars, it’s more like family. Something I always do also, when someone come in that is not a regular I always introduce myself ask their name, introduce them to the regulars and strike up a conversation everyone can be involved in. It always works and they almost always come back. I like everyone to feel safe and welcomed!

    July 26, 2017
      • Magik

        I am female lol. I just don’t like anyone feeling uncomfortable or out of place. I also bought little things like the dice games and others for doing shots, they even take shots of beer. And if customers have a Lil to much to drink I always have someone who doesn’t drink there to get them home safe and allow them to to use my truck to take them home and I take people home when i get off if needed to make sure everyone gets home safe!

        July 26, 2017
  • Ninja

    Heyy, I loved this! The most important that stuck out is knowing how to deal with the even worst guest… kill that energy with kindness is my method and it goes sooo far! Very good advice here

    July 5, 2017
  • I have never read something so educational and beautifully written like this. Thanks. I love bartending!! More is all I need.

    May 3, 2017
      • Hi Joel, I can’t pick any, but the last one has always really separated me from other bartenders. Most of them are always too busy to help out, or mostly interested in the customers that they like or the one who tips the most. If I can practice all the above on every customer and everyone else, then I’ll definitely be a better bartender than I am. Thank you Joel. Good job.

        July 2, 2017
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