Only you and other bartenders will know the amount of work that goes into your shift - as well as what happens before and after it. Making a cocktail or serving a beer is one thing, but following procedures is what will eliminate any possible hazards in the fast-paced environment behind the bar.
Here’s a typical bartender duties checklist on what you might need to do before during and after your shifts.
Before Your Shift
Take note of what you’ll need for the shift ahead, such as wine, spirits, beer and mixers. You should also stock your shelves, fridges and walls behind the bar so nothing looks empty. To keep the shift going smoothly, make sure you’ve checked the keg levels so you know what might need replacing later on.
Prepare Fruit and Garnishes
Arrive in time to cut all fresh fruit needed for garnishes and making drinks, such as limes and lemons, before displaying them in clean containers. You should also take a look at the current cocktail menu, just so you know if you need to stock any other necessary garnishes like herbs, cherries and olives.
Finally, don’t forget to discard anything that’s past its expiration date.
Get the Ice Ready
Start by melting any remaining ice from the night before with hot water, wipe out containers which contained old ice and fully stock them with a fresh supply.
Clean and Set Up the Bar
Make sure the bar area, stools and tables have all been wiped down. Set up any relevant areas with bar mats, trays, paper straws, stirrers so that customers don’t need to repeatedly ask for them as this will save you time.
Also, polish any silverware and fold napkins so they’re ready for use during your shift.
During Your Shift
Make Drinks and Serve Customers
Customers will demand your attention and expect excellent service. Stay alert as during your shift, your biggest task will be seeing to customers, fulfilling their requests and making drinks.
Clean as You Go
Waste can quickly pile up in the bar and it’s your responsibility to keep an eye on empty glasses, bin levels, floors, surfaces and more.
When you notice this, either ask a teammate if they can clean up if you’re busy, or if you aren’t serving a customer, clean up as you go along so the bar remains clean and safe throughout your shift.
Clean Glasses When It’s Quiet
Whenever it’s quiet during your shift, it can be tempting to relax. While it’s important you have regular breaks or even stretch, make your own shift easier by deep cleaning empty glasses when you’re not serving customers. You’ll save a lot of time this way, especially at the end of your shift.
Just like you checked the stock levels before you opened the bar, it’s just as important to keep an eye on stock levels during your shift. You never know when the bar could get busy so the stock, like spirits or fruit, could run out quicker than usual.
Rather than keeping customers waiting or even potentially running out of stock, check regularly so you can replenish anything that could run out.
After Your Shift
Once the bar doors are shut, it’s time for a deep clean of the entire bar so that you don’t have a bigger job on your hands the next day. Wipe down bottles you’ve used, clean the empty glasses and use warm, clean towels on all surfaces as well.
If the bar you’re working at has a dishwasher; perfect. Run everything from garnish containers to shakers through the dishwasher. Any fresh fruit and juices you’ve not used - make sure they go into the relevant containers. Make sure you empty all the bins before you go home.
Another Stock Check
To make life easier for the start of your next shift, it can be a good idea to stock up and reset before heading home.
Stock the fridges with any spirits, beer or wine that might need to be chilled. Stock the walk-in with any kegs that may need to be replaced as well.
If you’re on the late shift and the last to leave, make sure the lights are switched off and the doors are locked. If you’re clocking out early, just be sure to let your team and management know that you’re done for the day.
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