Bartending is one of the most coveted position of the blue collar professions, which is why it isn’t always easy to get in. For starters, you’ll need to make sure you possess the right characteristics and skills or you can forget it. Just being aware of them can help you improve in each area so you can better your chance at getting your foot in the door. Let’s take a look:
1. Personality – It keeps them coming back again and again. Think of yourself as a theatre performer. People go out to bars in for the possibility of finding something that they don’t find at work every day. Do you know why personality is so important to bar owners and managers? Because the bar takes on the personality of the bartenders. Dull bartenders = dull bar. Enthusiastic, entertaining bartenders = busy bar.
2. Knowledge – It’s simple: if you don’t know the drinks, you’re just a jackass with a cool job and a bottle opener.
3. Attentiveness – Attention to details, such as placing a bar napkin under each drink, clearing off empty glasses, and keeping guests drinks full is all about paying attention and giving supreme customer service. Imagine yourself as a personal assistant to someone very important. Every detail counts.
4. Memory – In a fast-paced, high-volume environment, you’d better be able to remember multiple drink orders so you can get them out efficiently or you will have a lot of angry guests, not to mention an unhappy bar manager.
5. Speed and Efficiency – If you have a great memory but you have no multi-tasking ability, the memory does you little good. Guests want their drinks NOW!
6. Personal Grooming – Whether the bar you work for requires full uniforms or if you are allowed to wear a t-shirt and jeans, make sure you are clean and look sharp. This isn’t a John Wayne movie. No one wants a dusty, sloppy bartender any more than they want to watch a John Wayne movie.
7. Endurance – Bartending is a job that requires both mental and physical stamina. Not only do you have to know all the drinks and deal with drunken buffoons, you are often on your feet 6-10 hours per shift, depending on the hours of operation. It can wear you down if you’re not prepared.
8. Good Cash Handling and Math Skills – You are part of a team back there, so if you have problems handling cash, the other bartenders will not be happy at all. Also, good math skills allow you to add up drink prices in your head so you can call out the total to guests before you even have to ring it in. Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.
9. A Thick Skin – Remember, you are dealing with drunks all night long. Never take anything personal, and once your shift is over, leave it at the bar. Don’t brood over a bad tip or the cheapskate who gave it to you for the next three days. It’s pointless, and you won’t survive.
10. Eye-Contact, A Great Smile and a Firm Handshake – Those three things will take you a long way in building a clientele of regulars, not top mention the best shifts from the manager.