Finding the right bartender for your bar can set you apart from all your competition and make your bar the place to be after work and on the weekends. A great bartender obviously has knowledge of liquors, wine and beer, but a great bartender is also an entertainer, a manager and a salesman. If you find a good head bartender, then he or she can take on a number of responsibilities, including:
- Keeping up with drink orders from the floor (from the wait staff)
- Taking care of customers seated at the bar or waiting at the bar
- Ordering liquor and beer
- Changing the beer gas
- Ordering non-alcoholic drinks, such as soda and juice
- Stocking the beer cooler and liquor shelves
- Creating nightly and/or weekly drink specials and other promotions
- Cashing out the servers at the end of the end of the night
- Serving food to customers at the bar or taking care of to go orders
Here are some traits to look for in a good bartender:
- Trustworthy. Typically your head bartender will have almost as much responsibility as you do, and will be in constant contact with cash and customer credit cards. You also have to be able to trust your bartender with following the very letter of the law with regards to dram laws – not being tempted to over serve customers who are tipsy or to serve underage drinkers.
- Good people skills. Many people think that bartenders must be good listeners – they really need to be able to interact, stay engaged and keep their mind on business, which does involve both listening and management skills. A good bartender is friendly and engaging, but retains a certain detachment and keeps his or her mind on business first.
- Sales Skills. A good bartender can gentle lead your customers to ordering premium or top shelf drinks and should be able to suggest food items as well. The bartender should also be knowledgeable about the nuances between the different wines and beers you carry and make recommendation to novices and experts alike.
- Experience. Look for bartenders who have experience, especially when staffing up a new bar. Nothing beats hands-on experience in such a fast-paced job, especially on busy weekend nights and for special parties or events.
Keep a close eye on your bartender when you first get started – he or she is the star attraction and you want to make sure that your customers are well served and pleased with the experience. Hiring a good bartender is a critical step in the successful management of your bar!