Being efficient while having fun behind the bar
Whether it's working at a downtown nightclub or neighbourhood pub, the house bartender has a responsibility to prove for patrons and set the tone for the venue. Being a bartender myself for several years, here are some tips to get the job done in an organized, presentable fashion.
1. Come to work in a clean shirt
Customers appreciate wait staff to look professional and clean. It is important to make sure that you show up to work in a clean, pressed shirt to show that you have made an effort in your appearance. If a waiter looks clean cut, they may receive a higher tip out than someone who does not.
2. Use Mr., Sir., or Ms., when talking to strangers
It is more professional when bartenders refer to customers formally. Not only is it polite and acceptable in a restaurant setting, it makes paying customers feel respected and invited. Sometimes the bartender will need to get a customer's attention whether it be to move out of the way of another customer in a wheelchair, to give them the bill, or to hand them their drink. Instead of getting their attention by saying a simple "Excuse me?," it is it much more polite to say "Excuse me, sir."
3. Use a scoop for ice, not your hands
Being a professional bartender does not always mean having to deal with your manners or work ethic to customers. A bartender must make sure they take every health precaution possible. In the service industry, it is easy to transmit germs and bacteria from one person to another. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and ensure you use a scoop to collect ice for drinks. Not only does this prevent spreading germs, it keeps professionalism and presentation at a high standard.
4. Don't over serve customers or let them drink and drive
A bartender has the responsibility to keep track of how many drinks their patrons are consuming. Over-serving can be very dangerous. A customer could be planning on driving home, which would put the bar keep at risk for prosecution. Over-serving can cause serious problems within the venue, such as bar fighting, harassment, illness or even death.
5. Keep your space clean
Keeping your bar clean and tidy at all times is very important. During your shift, make sure your bar is wiped down with a sanitized cloth and collect any empty bottles lying around. During spare time, keep refilling the dishwasher and other tasks such as; sweeping, clearing plates, polishing cutlery and spot washing wine glasses. This shows customers you are neat and you enjoy working in a clean space.
6. Be on time
The biggest responsibility in the service industry is to show up on time. This shows you are enthusiastic and show respect to your employer and co-workers. It is recommended that you show up to work 15 minutes before your shift. This will give you time to change clothes and gather your tools for the shift (apron, wine opener, pens, pad of paper, etc.) In case you are late for whatever reason, make sure you let your employer know ahead of time.
7. If you break it, admit it
In a restaurant or bar, there are many different machines that are essential to the job. Glassware, coffee cups, plates and bowls are always being balanced on trays or on limbs. Other machinery such as margarita machines, kegs, debit machines, etc. are essential to run the business. It is important to maintain trust with your employer and co-workers, to be a successful bartender you must be honest and forthcoming if you have made an error or damaged the property of the establishment.
8. Do not cheat or steal
Do not steal from the establishment. Not only is it wrong, it will get you fired, and is acriminal offence. Employers keep close tabs on the cash float and inventory so stealing would not go unnoticed. Cheating co-workers out of tip outs in not fair. In a restaurant the employees work as a team and everyone must pull their own weight and be fair.
9. Do not drink on the job
Serving alcohol to others may be tempting to drink yourself. This is very dangerous and could get you in to serious trouble as well as impair your work ability. Someone who is impaired cannot successfully serve a bar of patrons.
Be a pleasant person. Treat people with respect and courtesy and live by the saying, "Treat others how you would like to be treated." Do not gossip about co-workers or your employer, do not start rumours about people and always be friendly to customers. In the service industry, most of the income is based on tips. If you are a friendly, hardworking person you will make plenty of tips. Make sure you smile and take care of your customers.
- By Conor Mahoney