Bartenders mix and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to customers according to standard recipes. They are employed in restaurants, hotels, bars, taverns, private clubs, banquet halls, and other licensed establishments.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Bartenders are required to complete.
- Setting up and maintaining the bar:
- Cleaning and organizing the bar area and washing the glassware, keeping the flow of glasses being washed at a level so that customers can always be served when they need to;
- planning and presenting a bar menu;
- arranging glasses and bottles into attractive and functional displays;
- anticipating volume of customers and preparing items to meet the demand; and
- making garnishes for drinks (peeling, slicing, and pitting fruit) and preparing and replenishing appetizers, such as peanuts, olives, pretzels, etc.
- Taking care of bar operations:
- Taking beverage orders from serving staff or directly from customers;
- mixing liquor, soft drinks, water, and other ingredients to prepare cocktails and other drinks;
- preparing non-alcoholic beverages, pouring wine, and serving draft or bottled beer for food and beverage Servers or serve directly to customers;
- serving customers quickly and efficiently, while ensuring that no alcohol is served to minors or overly intoxicated customers;
- serving snacks or food to customers seated at the bar; and
- thanking and greeting guests with genuine appreciation before they leave.
- Communicating with customers:
- Getting feedback from customers in order to ensure satisfaction with both beverages and service;
- anticipating and addressing customers service needs; and
- ensuring all information provided to the customer is current and accurate.
- Maintaining a warm and inviting environment for the customers’ enjoyment at all times, ensuring the best experience, so that they always come back for the first class service.
- Using carbonated beverage dispensers, cocktail shakers and other accessories, commercial strainers, mist and trigger sprayers, and ice shaver machines.
- Maintaining inventory and control of bar stock and ordering necessary supplies.
- Managing administrative operations:
- Accepting and processing payment from guests and/or patrons for food and beverage;
- recording the customers’ payments;
- balancing the cash register at the start and close of each shift; and
- using MICROS or any other point of sale software to record orders.
- Following all company safety and security policies and procedures at all times:
- Completing safety training and certifications;
- reporting accidents, injuries, and unsafe work conditions to the Manager; and
- following all safety and sanitation policies when handling food and beverages.
- Training and supervising other bartenders and bar staff.
The average Bartender salary is $24,821 per year or $13 per hour. This is around 0.8 times less than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $17,000 while most experienced workers make up to $35,000. These results are based on 193 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Sincere desire to please others and provide the best service:
- Being enthusiastic, friendly, outgoing, positive, and upbeat; and
- willing to have conversations with customers, while still remaining focused on the job at hand.
- Interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, especially verbally, in order to create a clear and communicative environment with customers;
- having great listening skills in order to provide a sense of comfort to the customer;
- displaying an inherent ability to make others feel cared about; and
- displaying strong customer service skills;
- speaking with customers or staff using clear, professional, and respectful language at all times; and
- being able to deal with a diverse group of people in potentially adversarial situations using a calm, polite, tactful, discreet, and effective approach.
- Organizational and time management skills:
- Having strong multitasking skills; being able to work under pressure in a dynamic, fast-paced environment;
- being highly responsible and reliable; and
- being organized, detail oriented, and structured.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- being able to handle difficult customers, deciding whether or not to continue serving to certain customers.
- Ability to work cohesively as part of a team and possess good judgment, as well as working independently with minimal supervision.
- Self-motivated, decisive, responsible, honest, and always driven to provide the best service.
- Motor coordination and physical strength:
- Being able to stand during their entire shifts; and
- moving, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and placing objects weighing less than or equal to 30 pounds without assistance (e.g. kegs of beer and cases of liquor).
Aside from the skills listed above, Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks correctly, quickly, and without waste. They must also work well with Servers and other kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service. Bartenders are usually required to be over 21 years old in order to be able to dispense and manage alcoholic beverages.
Since most Bartenders usually learn through short-term, on-the-job training, formal education isn’t required for this position, but general knowledge about food and beverages is always preferred. However, some aspiring bartenders acquire their skills by attending a school for bartending or bartending classes at a vocational or technical school. These programs often include instruction on provincial and local laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcohol, cocktail recipes, proper attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. The length of each program varies, but most courses last only a few weeks.
Bartenders usually perform repetitive tasks and their work can become stressful, because they often deal with heavily intoxicated customers to whom they must deny service.
Since Bartenders often are in the front line of customer service in bars and restaurants, a neat appearance is always important. Those who work in upscale restaurants and bars may be required to wear uniforms, including ties or aprons, which are typically provided by their employers.
Some Bartenders get to eventually run their own bar or catering business. In these cases, in addition to their standard bartending duties, they also are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff, budgeting and ordering supplies, and setting prices.
Although most Bartenders work indoors, some work outdoors at pool or beach bars or when tending a bar at catered events. They must be able to work flexible schedules, including weekends and holidays, especially late nights, as well as to stand and walk for a 6 to 8-hour long shift.