So, what made you want to be a bartender? Was it Tom Cruise juggling bottles in Cocktail or the ladies dancing on the bar in Coyote Ugly? Or maybe you just said, “I hang out in bars enough; I might as well get paid for it!” (That last one was a joke … hopefully.) Whatever the reason, as in most professions, there’s more to it than meets the eye. What are some of the basic for bartenders?
Ø Prep Work and Set-up. One of the first things a bartender does on arrival is to make sure that everything is well-stocked and ready to go. This certainly involves the liquors and beers, but it also includes the mixes, glasses, napkins, and the like. You may have to take time slicing limes and other fruits used as garnishes. Likewise you’ll need to make certain that bar snacks – whether peanuts or pretzels or hor dourves – are ready.
Ø Customer Service. The majority of your work time, of course, will be with the customers. This involves four basic activities
· Taking Orders – This starts with greeting the customers and making them feel at home; we all want to go to “a place where everyone knows our name.” You will also want to be aware of the state’s and bar’s policy regarding ID’s and serving those already intoxicated. You may also have to take food orders if the customers can order food from the bar.
· Mixing Drinks – This is where your “Doctor of Mixology” comes into play. Some bars have automatic pouring machines, but you still need to know the ingredients and proportions.
· Collecting Payments – This could be cash or charge card; and if you are in a hotel, it might be a room charge. Again, know the policy and abide by the company rules. And be prepared: every bartender has been stiffed.
· Schmoozing – This may not be in your formal job description, but let’s face it, if the majority of your income is based on tips you had better be able to maintain an entertaining banter. “…and the waitress is practicing politics…”
Ø Closing. Just because you’ve given last call doesn’t mean the work is over. Now comes the clean-up. Washing-up and wiping down! Restocking inventory and reporting receipts. You might have to sweep up too. This isn’t necessarily the work they show in the movies, but it is an important and essential part of the job.
So there, in a shot-glass, are your bartender basics. The job is usually fast-paced and multi-tasking. And though it may not be all that the movies make it out to be, it can be a fun job.
For more information on hospitality jobs, check out http://www.hospitalityjobsite.com/
By: Joe Fairchild