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4 Tips To Being A Better Bartender

February 3, 2020

Like many professions, bartending comes with its own unique quirks and challenges, most of which pertain to dealing with other people. Constantly dealing with other people, whether they’re customers, coworkers, or vendors can be tiring and frustrating. In addition to completing our On-Premise BASSET certification course online, here are four tips to being a better bartender:

 

Stay Cool

As with most things, staying cool is harder than it seems. It means even when customers are rude, you stay professional and polite. It means even when customers are shouting out orders and waving their money at you, you serve according to who ordered first. It doesn’t mean you should disregard how long customers are waiting or take a leisurely pace. It means you acknowledge every customer while continuing to calmly and efficiently get drinks out in order. Staying cool despite being stressed will also help your customers feel good and calm at your bar.

 

Be Confident But Don’t Act Like You Know Everything

Many people, including some in the service industry, don’t realize the amount of experience it often takes to make it behind the bar. Bartending positions are much more difficult to find and they often require first paying your dues as a server for at least a few years. Although bartenders are often the most experienced employees, no bartender knows everything. Your customers are going to request some crazy drinks with weird names you’ve never heard, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to say you’ve never heard of it. If they insist on the drink and you have the time, you can always look it up on your phone or ask your manager to do so. Just let the customer know it’s your first time making it and it might not taste exactly like they’re used to. If you don’t have time to look it up, then simply communicate that to the customer. If they don’t like it, that’s their problem. They can order something else, wait, or go somewhere else. It’s an opportunity for you to emphasize the unique offerings at your bar and your own areas of expertise. But be motivated to keep expanding your knowledge and repertoire. It’s a simple but unavoidable fact – the more a bartender knows his or her way around the bar, the better the bartender will be. Up-selling is less likely to come across as up-selling when done knowledgeably. Exude competence no matter what, but keep training and learning.

 

Be Conversational But Don’t Ignore Other Customers

Many customers, especially your regulars, will choose to eat or drink at your bar because they genuinely enjoy conversing with you and getting to know you. As a bartender, it’s incredibly helpful to have the “gift of gab.” That is, you must have the ability to have conversations with your customers and make them feel comfortable and welcome at your bar. But don’t do it at the expense of your other customers and coworkers. Great bartenders have the ability to carry on conversations while also keeping an eye on their other customers, if other bartenders or barbacks need help, and for drinks that need to be made for servers. If you’re in the middle of a conversation with a customer and need to step away, just tell them. They’ll understand.

 

Let Customers See What You’re Doing

Turning your back to customers is not only unprofessional, but it can also lead them to wonder if you’re doing something questionable or slacking off. Avoid mixing drinks on the back bar. Keeping things up in front displays confidence and gives customers a greater sense of ease. Many customers enjoy sitting at the bar because they like the show. As weird as it may sound, many people enjoy watching bartenders pour and mix drinks. Take it as a compliment. They find your profession and skillset interesting, so give the people what they want and let them see you work. This is also true for chefs, which is why many restaurants utilize an open kitchen design.

BASSET On The Fly is a leading provider of online BASSET certification for seller-servers of alcohol in Illinois, licensed by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC).

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