If every shift is busy, chaotic and clad in sales – stay where you’re at for as long as you can and bask in the glory. If you’re like the rest of us, you will encounter slow shifts at the bar from time to time. Instead of being bored to tears or leaning over the bar to watch a game, here are 6 things you can do during a slow bar shift that will contribute to the overall business goals.
1) Get ahead of the game
- Wash an extra rack of glasses to be prepared for the next busy shift.
- Prep garnishes, such as lemons, limes and oranges ahead of time if permitted.
- Why not broaden your drink repertoire and research new drinks and unique delivery techniques. This will give you a step up among other bartenders.
- Help out a fellow server by rolling a few more sets of silverware.
- If all else fails, ask a manager if you can help with anything around the restaurant. Although the task may not be glamorous, it will still help the overall operation of the establishment.
2) Customer Engagement
- With the increase and emphasis on social media and engagement, tap into your creative side and create a contest or social media messages for customers to enjoy.
- For example, take photographs of interesting things occurring at the restaurant and upload them to your various sites.
- Strengthen relationships with existing customers. This is a key, but often intangible, aspect of your business. Sit down and talk with your loyal guests – act truly engaged in the conversation and ask meaningful questions. Be sure to understand the four components of customer engagement.
3) Sales and Marketing
- Plan the next pre-shift meeting by coming up with points to cover that will help increase sales by utilizing unique marketing tactics.
- Think of new weekly drink promotions that include your top spirits, innovative beverages such as infusions, or a beverage with a celebratory champagne component.
- Develop a new table tent design or content for in-venue digital signage. Try to think outside of the box and use appealing visuals and language to snag customers’ attention.
- If you do not already have a happy hour in place, consider the benefits of one and the increased revenue you could receive if you implement such a promotion.
4) Generate a buzz near the bar (only if this makes sense in your bar)
- If a legal patron is celebrating their birthday in your establishment, have servers bring them over for a free drink. This may encourage other members of their party to order a beverage.
- If a game is on, cheer loudly for the home team and snag patrons’ attention. You may have an avid fan in the house who will join you to watch the last few minutes of the game.
5) Clean, clean, clean
- Having a clean and pristine bar is one the most quintessential qualities of a successful bar. Customers will notice dust and grim on glasses, bottles or the counter. Remember, we are trying to increase the number of customers, not scare them away. Wipe down every square inch if time permits. If not, here are a few essential pieces of equipment you should ensure are clean.
- Your POS terminal
- Beverage gun
- Blender/ other ancillary beverage maker
- Remove old stock and make sure you have the premium products necessary and in plain sight for customers to view.
- Think of a busy night at the bar and how a streamlined process amongst all bartenders would help facilitate easier and faster transactions. Running back and forth, bumping into each other, inhibits such transactions.
No matter how slow a shift may be, you can always find a task or two to accomplish which will help the overarching goal of the establishment. Whether you cleaning, creating new ways to engage with customers, designing new promotions or drink concoctions, or simply lending a help hand to a fellow co-worker, your time and effort are always needed.
What do you do during a slow shift behind the bar counter?