Bartending is one of the most desirable positions in the blue-collar profession, which is why it’s not always easy to get into. For starters, you need to make sure you have the right traits and skills, or you can forget it. Being aware of them will allow you to improve in any area, increasing your chance of getting your foot in the door. Let’s take a look:
1. Personality – You keep coming back. Consider yourself a theater actor. People go to bars to find something they don’t find at work every day. Do you know why personality is so important for bar owners and managers? Because the bar takes on the personality of the bartenders. Dull bartenders = boring bar. Enthusiastic, fun bartenders = busy bar.
2. Knowledge – Very simple: If you don’t know the drinks, you’re just an idiot with a cool job and a bottle opener.
3. Attention – Attention to detail, like placing a bar napkin under each drink, clearing away empty glasses and filling drinks for guests, is all about attention and superior customer service. Imagine you are a personal assistant to a very important person. Every detail counts.
4. Memory – In a fast-paced, drink-heavy environment, you better be able to remember multiple drink orders so you can spend them efficiently, or you’ll end up with a lot of disgruntled patrons, let alone a dissatisfied bar manager.
5. Speed and Efficiency – If you have an excellent memory but don’t have the ability to multitask, memory is of little use to you. Guests want their drinks NOW!
6. Personal Grooming – Whether the bar you work for requires full uniforms or you are allowed to wear a t-shirt and jeans, make sure you are clean and looking good. This isn’t a John Wayne film. Nobody wants a dusty, sloppy bartender any more than they want to see a John Wayne movie.
7. Stamina – Bartending is a job that requires both mental and physical stamina. Not only do you have to know all the drinks and deal with drunken buffoons, but you’re often on your feet 6-10 hours per shift depending on the hours of operation. It can wear you down if you’re not prepared.
8. Good cash handling and math skills – You’re part of a team back there. So if you have trouble handling cash, the other bartenders won’t be happy at all. Plus, if you have good math skills, you can add up drink prices in your head so you can call out the total to guests before you even have to call them. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.
9. Thick Skin – Remember, you’re dealing with drunks all night. Never take anything personal and leave it at the bar after your shift. Don’t spend the next three days brooding over a bad tip or the curmudgeon who gave it to you. It’s pointless and you won’t survive.
10. Eye contact, a great smile, and a firm handshake – These three things will go a long way in building a regular clientele, not to mention the manager’s best shifts.
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