The best bartenders are those who never stop learning and will grab any opportunity to improve. To help you progress in your role and move up that ladder from behind the bar, we spoke with actual bartenders who have shared their 17 useful tips you can benefit from.
1. Clean and Stock Up When It’s Quiet
Whenever you can, collect, clean and wash glasses and the bar area. Make sure you also use the times when it's quieter to rotate and stock up the fridges. You won’t always get the chance if there’s a sudden rush of customers.
Also, keep flooring dry by having a dry mop nearby or a stack of paper towels.
2. Make the Bar More Welcoming
Whenever customers leave, think proactively and quickly tidy their table. Make sure to put rubbish in the waste bins and replace the beer mats and menus. A presentable area makes the bar look more welcoming.
3. Remember Your Loyal Customers
Remember your regulars’ drinks orders and try to get to know them without being too forceful. When the bar's not as busy, it’ll help keep you entertained but can also lead to more sales.
4. Be a Good Teammate
To enjoy a successful bartending career, be a good teammate. If somebody calls in sick, cover for them if you can. If one teammate is getting a lot of big drinks orders, help share the workload.
Management notices these things and it shows you can be trusted.
5. Be a Good Listener
The biggest part of communicating with guests is being a good listener. Carefully listen to their orders and also the small talk they make. Listening and engaging in small talk will create a more positive atmosphere and make you more reliable in the guests’ eyes.
6. Keep Tills Topped Up
The bar can be a fast-paced environment with customers handing you money from different angles. Keep the change in your tills topped up so that you can take and receive money without wasting time.
7. Learn Repeatable Costs
Learn how much repeatable orders cost and what the change amount is. By remembering the most common orders and their price, it helps you serve quicker and will keep your guests happy.
8. Communicate Price Changes
Customers won’t always like surprises. If any new prices have been introduced or changed, make sure to let your guests know before they order.
9. Keep Checking the Bar When Out of Sight
If you’re doing tasks or helping a teammate in another area of the bar, always keep checking for customers. Even if it’s for a few seconds, apologise for the delay when you’re back.
10. Stay Presentable…
A presentable uniform contributes to the customer experience. Don’t move away from the set uniform and stay looking presentable by dressing how management wants you to.
11. ...But Also Safe and Comfortable
To go with your uniform, invest in a pair of safe and comfortable bartending shoes. Look for innovative elements like slip and water-resistance to keep you on your feet without liquids getting through. Plus, natural and comfort fit offers a more spacious feel so you can stay on your feet for longer.
Pictured above: Atticus, a lightweight, smart shoe complete with flex tread and TripGuard.
12. Stay Friendly and Helpful
Your guests are at the bar to have a good time, so it’s completely normal for them to be impatient. Just be friendly, helpful and keep a smile on your face regardless of how stressful it becomes.
Remember, their potential frustrations aren’t personal.
13. Acknowledge Other Customers
If you’re serving a customer and it’s busy, let the next two customers know which order you’re working through. By telling them that they’re next or third in line, they’ll appreciate that you’ve noticed them and will get to them soon.
14. Impress Guests With a Signature Drink
Have a signature cocktail that you’ve worked hard to improve so that you can impress your customers. If you do it well and do it regularly, you’ll be surprised how happy customers will be.
15. Names, Not Numbers
Guests want to feel like they’re a name, not a number. If you get the chance, try and call guests by their name by asking them. A study has also shown that when people hear their name, the part of the brain associated with reward and pleasure is activated.
16. Know Your Products
Keep up with trends and know your products to help upsell and earn respect from your team. You’re likelier to be seen as the leader because other bar staff will come to you for advice when they need it the most.
17. Energy is Contagious
Be aware of your energy as it can be contagious. You’re essentially the host of the party. So, stay positive even in stressful situations for a more pleasant shift.
With these 17 useful bartending tips in mind, it’s the perfect time to find out how else you can succeed as a bartender.
There are Five Easy Steps to Becoming a Successful Bartender...
As rewarding as a bartending career is, we know it’s not always so easy to work long shifts which can be physically demanding. In a fast-paced environment when you’re on your feet all night, it can quickly become tiring.
To help you succeed as a bartender and develop a successful career, we’ve created a free five-step guide. From dealing with customers to effective teamwork and more, we’ve got it covered.
Get your free copy below.