12 Tips for Managing Bar Staff

12 Tips for Managing Bar Staff

Running a great bar depends a great deal on a great staff. However, managing a bar staff can be pretty challenging. So here are some valuable tips and tricks from the experts on how you can efficiently manage bar staff;

Training and development opportunities are crucial to the success of any bar manager. Make sure that each bartender is trained in every aspect of the job. Show them how you want things done and let them practice until they can do it independently. 

1. Be Stern, But Treat Them Well

Manage your bar staff with an iron fist, but treat everyone well behind closed doors. Be professional around bartenders, even if they’ve had one too many. Don’t let your anger boil over, but also don’t be afraid to speak up about a problem. 

2. Fun Weekly Challenges

Keep the bar staff active with fun weekly challenges. This will not only increase morale among bartenders but will also get them more involved in their work and help them stay on top of things when they become bored or complacent.

3. Keep Personal and Professional Lives Separate

The bar staff’s personal lives should be kept separate from their work lives. When things come up at home, make sure that they have time to deal with them before bringing any personal issues into the workplace. This will only lead to problems for you down the road! 

4. Regular Breaks

Ensure you provide regular breaks throughout the day, both before and after lunch service, so bartenders aren’t stressed out from working long hours. 

5. Open and Friendly Environment 

You need to create an open and friendly environment where employees feel comfortable asking questions. Don’t be afraid to promote from within as well! This will provide consistency in the workplace for your staff who are familiar with each other. 

Ella Hao, Chief Marketing Officer at WellPCB

6. Create A Schedule For Bar Staff

One of the easiest ways to manage bar staff is by creating a schedule. You should make sure that everyone works at least one shift per week, and it’s good to have at least two bartenders working at all times (one may get sick or go on break). 

7. Train Your Bartenders On The Basics Of Customer Service

Bartenders should be well versed in the basics of customer service. Make sure they know how to take a drink order, make drinks and serve food.  They also need to know about bar etiquette and safety, such as washing their hands frequently, not taking food from customers, and using safe ice practices.

8. Implement A System To Take Drink Orders And Send Them To The Bartender

One of the most important things you can do is create a system for taking drink orders and sending them to your bartenders. 

To start, create a flowchart so that there are no questions about who gets served first. You should also be able to look at this chart in real-time so you can see when there are new customers at the bar. 

9. Give Out Prizes For The Best Salesperson Each Month – It Will Motivate Them!

Motivating your bartenders by rewarding the person with the highest sales each month is good for both your employees and your business. Make sure you don’t do this too frequently, or they won’t have a sense of urgency to make more sales.

Shahzaib Arshad Co-founder and Editor at TheBalanceWork.com

10. Have Periodic Employee Training Sessions

Holding periodic employee training sessions allows your employees to practice current abilities while also learning new ones. Keep track of your schedule to keep your crew informed and your bar running well. Liquor inventory must be taken regularly in order to run a profitable bar. Encourage your staff to speak up about their problems and ideas. 

Dan Barrett, Co-Founder Pacific Precious Metals

11. Efficient Scheduling

One of the most important pillars of a successful bar or restaurant is efficient scheduling.  Without proper scheduling, labor costs are high, coverage is low and sporadic, and shifts are unpredictable for your employees, which causes a high turnover rate.  One of the reasons for that is the methodology many managers use, scheduling their weekly roster around their employees’ availability first and then the restaurant’s needs second.  

We’ve built a system that is the reverse of that and is in use by just over 100 restaurants in Canada, and we’ve seen a definite increase in scheduling efficiency.  By scheduling day by day with the roles required first and filling in staff members that are available, managers are able to see the gaps in their scheduling operations much clearer, and can either focus on closing that gap with their existing employees or by hiring new ones. 

With the scheduling gaps filled, employee shifts become more predictable, estimated labor costs can be forecasted with greater accuracy, and employee turnover is greatly reduced.

Brian Howard, Owner BarSight Restaurant Systems

12. Make Communication Easy And Information Accessible

It is vital to communicate with your bar team in an efficient yet simple way. For our team, we use email and Google workspace to provide info on bartending events; supplies needed, directions, etc. The apps can be downloaded to their phones for convenience. Incentivize the team: We reward bartenders for taking images of weddings/events on their phones and provide referral fees when they refer other great team members. 

This incentivizes them to help us market our business and provides extra money, which they love. We also pay our TIPS-certified bartenders more than those who are not certified and give them first pick for working events. Support the team’s goals: Ask your team their goals. We ask our team whether they are just looking to pick up a few extra shifts, or this is their main source of income, and staff accordingly. We find transparency helps keep everyone happy and productive. 

For example, we have a couple of bartenders who enjoy bartending at a specific venue because it is near the beach. They don’t mind the longer drive because they make a beach day out of it. Some bartenders don’t like driving, don’t want to do solo gigs, etc. So we have an onboarding questionnaire when they join the team. We also ask them about their personal goals because we find that the more we support their long-term goals, the more loyal they are. Win-win! 

Courtney Smith, Co-Owner of Chesapeake Bartenders, a professional bartending company.