How to Choose a Bartender

Learning How to Choose the Right Bartender

Your restaurant thrives on the patronage of dedicated customers. While the food which you provide is the primary draw for repeat visitors, your bar area is an equally effective showpiece for the style and theme of your restaurant. Additionally, the cost to the customer for drinks sold in your bar is at an optimal level for maintaining a superior profit margin.

While your bar area can be the most profitable offering within your restaurant, it is also the facet of your business which requires the most attention to detail. When bar patrons are kept comfortable, they will remember your restaurant as a haven for relaxation and socializing. Staffing this section of your restaurant is key. Unlike the dining section, the bar is generally run by a relatively slim complement of specialized staff. Learning how to choose the right bartender to run the show is critical for making sure that the needs of your guests are met. There are numerous tips for hiring the right bartender for the job, and this guide will help distill the key points for your decision making process.

What qualities are necessary for an effective bartending staff? For one, these individuals need to have basic competency and high energy. This means that your candidates should have at least a high school education, and are preferably among the younger age groups. Those who have participated in athletic activities are also ideal, as they possess manual dexterity and are encouraged to handle multiple tasks quickly and effectively. Endurance is also a key success factor, as your bar staff will be expected to perform their job consistently over the course of long shifts.

Motivation, social skills and a responsible attitude are also very important for your bar staff. They will need to be very attentive to customer needs and the state of affairs both within the bar area and throughout the restaurant in order to anticipate situations which may arise. Having an encompassing awareness allows your bar staff to maintain a comfortable atmosphere within the bar area, as well as a smooth overall operation. They will need to keep track of orders, supplies, and the influx of cash from multiple patrons. Candidates who have demonstrated basic computer skills and the ability to handle money and logistics in previous positions are ideal for this reason. Proper hygiene, the ability to maintain a clean workspace, and an overall patient and positive attitude is also very important.

Conducting a Bartender Interview Test

Acquiring a new bartender for your establishment involves taking the appropriate steps to ensure that they are fully competent when addressing the tasks ahead. You can assess the abilities of potential candidates by performing a bartender interview test. Have your candidates demonstrate the basic skills which they will need to effectively run your bar. Outline a scenario where multiple patrons approach the bar, and ask your candidates to prioritize the order in which they will serve each guest. Ask them which bars they attend recreationally, and use their answer to determine if their off-hours experience is a good model for the type of environment you would like to provide. This information can help determine how much training is required to bring a potential new hire up to speed with your establishment’s standards. Ask potential hires how they would react to and handle a belligerent or overly intoxicated guest, as they may need to be trained on how to approach these situations.

Your bartender interview test should also involve a series of mock ordering scenarios. Pose as a customer, and place an order with your candidate, including some special instructions for certain items. Have them read back the order to you, and then have them determine the cost for the entire order based on a price list. Observe the speed and efficiency with which the candidate prepares the order, as well as a variety of supply preparation and cleanup tasks.

Social skills, attention to detail, organization, efficiency and a positive attitude are all key qualities for an effective bartender. By performing successfully on your bartender interview test, a potential new hire should demonstrate all of these qualities in order to maintain a smooth and hospitable bar experience to your patrons. From there, your potential hires will be required to get in the groove of the mood and theme of your restaurant. With all of these requirements met, a candidate will have every tool which they will require in order to keep your guests comfortable and ensure repeat visitors. Remember, your bar has the potential to be a key revenue stream for your restaurant, so choose your bar staff wisely!

Contact Bottom Line Restaurant Consulting today and speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives about the best methods for effectively training your bar staff on mixing up stellar and original cocktails.

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