Recently, for some weird reason, people have been led to believe that if you aren’t hand-making classic or modern creations, muddling, flipping bottles, or have extensive knowledge on wine then you’re not a real bartender. Excuse me? This is incorrect.
When people ask me what to write for their objective on their resumes, I always tell them to say, To provide an excellent experience for guests at your establishment. And how does a bartender provide an excellent experience? It depends. If you’re working in a dive on the waterfront selling mostly beer and whiskey shots to oil riggers and you greet them with a smile, remember their names (or at least what they drink), make their drinks fast, and they leave feeling good--then you have provided an excellent experience for those guests.
Every bar is different and you’ll have to act a different way in each bar. What you do at a Honky Tonk will totally be different from a hotel bar down the street. In some bars, you’ll have many different types of guests and through their personality and body language you will learn how they want to be treated. A guest at the end of the bar reading the newspaper does not want you to interrupt them and tell them a joke. They want a clean place to sit and a full drink.
I could make a long do and don’t list, but there’s no need. Because you only have to combine The Golden Rule with The Platinum Rule and everything will fall into place.
The Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.
The Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated.
This doesn’t just apply to guests; this goes for all your co-workers, your boss, and anyone else for that matter.
In this line of business you’re dealing with humans. To know what makes these creatures tick is to your advantage. Entire books have been written on the basics of human nature and they all boil down to one sentence:everybody, everywhere, always, wants to feel good about themselves.
The Top 10 Bartender Qualities
2. Good grooming.
3. Great memory.
4. Knowledge of liquor, beer, wines, cocktails, and your local area.
5. Good money handling skills with average math skills.
6. Responsible and dependable team player.
7. Fast and efficient.
8. Something unique.
9. Physical strength.
10. A people person with good eye contact and a firm handshake.
The Top 10 Questions To Ask On Your First Day
If you ask these questions then the bartender you’re working with will think that you’ve worked at a bar before. How else would you know to ask? (Besides reading this.)
1. Start opening cabinets and coolers familiarizing yourself where things are kept and ask questions like, Do we stock at the end of the night? Where are the kegs kept? and anything else you think of as you are looking inside. All experienced bartenders will do this.
2. Where are the restrooms for the guests? Where are the restrooms for the employees?
3. What bottled beers do we serve?
4 .Do we run tabs and if we do what’s the procedure? Do we hold guests' credit card? Do you have many walk-outs?
5. Where are the backup mixers kept?
6. Can you run me through the glassware? (Meaning that every bar uses different glassware so you have to go over it. You should ask something like, What are we using for a highball? The bartender will then touch or point to the rest of the glassware naming its use.)
7. What do we charge for a double? (Some places just double the price, however many places add like $1.50 or $2.00. It’s different everywhere so that’s that‘s why you have to ask.)
8. If there is no coffee machine at the bar ask about where you get the coffee for a coffee drink.
9. Do the servers cut the fruit or do we?
10. What liquors are we using for our house Cosmos? Sex on the Beach? Long Island Iced Teas here? Are there any standard drinks we make differently? Are our Martinis 2 ounces? I just want to be consistent with everybody because I know how different places can make drinks a little different…blah blah blah.
Note: Bring a pocket-sized spiral notebook and write down everything you need to know. You’ll be given a number. Write it down. You’ll use the # in the POS system. The system only knows you as a #. Write down every step of the POS procedure shown to you. Just so you know, it will not seem weird or make you seem like an inexperienced bartender by writing everything down. It’s actually smart. Experienced bartenders know that the cash register is the #1 thing behind the bar that will slow you down on a busy night. It will kick your butt. You must master it. Memorize where the keys are so that you can whiz through. Find out where the backup button or delete button is right away.
Know that experienced bartenders can walk behind practically any bar and bartend. The only training required is the POS and to be shown where things are kept.