November 15, 2013 Awesome Bar Management Tips

bar management tips

Managing a bar is tough work. You’re in charge of making sure that everything’s running smoothly, and it can be a lot to handle! But by keeping these tips in mind, you can make managing more manageable.

1. Train your staff.

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many managers simply throw their staff behind the bar and assume they’ll know what to do. Even if your bartenders and servers have tons of experience and come highly recommended, you still need to train them in the particular ways you do things at your bar. If your customers expect a certain kind and quality of service, you want to make sure your staff can give it to them.

2. Watch for theft.

Of course, you don’t like to think about any of your employees stealing from you, but it can and does happen occasionally. That’s why you need to be vigilant. You don’t want to be suspicious of every employee, but keep an eye out for common tactics that thieves use. Regular shortages, a high number of “no sales” rings on the register, and a lot of comp-ed drinks can be signals that a bartender may be stealing from you.

3. Know what’s going on behind the bar.

Just because you’re the manager doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend any time behind the bar. It can be worth your while to pick up a shift or two a week. You can make sure everything’s in order, keep an eye on your employees, and get your customers’ opinions on how things are going.

4. Keep things organized.

As a manager, you likely delegate your cleaning and organizing tasks to your employees. But, it’s still ultimately your responsibility to make sure everything’s organized as well as it can be to keep your restaurant running smoothly. Check out the stock behind your bar, the kitchen, and even the supply closets.

5. Keep your equipment up-to-date.

When you have a limited budget, it can be tempting not to splurge on new equipment. But you’re only hurting your bar if you make employees rely on outdated, barely-working machines. Try looking at used equipment stores or waiting for sales to get what you need.

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6. Keep it clean.

It doesn’t matter what kind of bar you have—filthiness is unacceptable. Watch your bartenders and make sure that every glass they use is spotless and every countertop is wiped down routinely.

7. Establish a relationship with your suppliers.

You depend on your suppliers, so develop a relationship with them early on. They’re the ones who can cut you deals and specials. Beer and liquor suppliers can also get you branded merchandise like napkins, coasters, etc., which means that you don’t have to pay for them.

8. Change it up.

Change out your beer and drink offerings every few months to make room for seasonal beers and new cocktails. This will keep your bar from becoming stale.

9. Know when to cut someone off.

One of the most important things you can do as a bar manager is make sure that everyone on your staff both knows how to recognize a customer who’s had too much to drink and knows how to cut the customer off. The safety of your patrons should always be your biggest concern, not just because you care about your customers but because you want to stay on the right side of the law.

Managing a bar is a big job, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start by keeping these tips in mind!