Do You Have What It Takes To be An Awesome Bartender?

What are the skills needed to get started and be a Bartender?

By Evelyn
Do You Have What It Takes To be An Awesome Bartender?

Isn't a Bartender just mixing drinks?

What's the most appealing thing about being a bartender? Are you a bartender? Do you consider your job as just someone who mixes drinks and serves them? Is that all it takes to have a successful career as a bartender? Is that all it takes to be an awesome one? Well, being a bartender (an awesome one) is more than just mixing and serving drinks, this is a misconception in the hospitality industry and owners of bars and restaurants should strive to change this and ask of their bartenders so much more.

Mixing and serving drinks is a by-product of your function as bartender The most important thing or the primary purpose of being a bartender is to deliver customer service in a warm and welcoming way, in other words, to give your customers the best night of their lives.

There is a difference between an experienced bartender and a good one. Now, don't get us wrong, the experience is much appreciated but if you don't pair it with excellent customer service, you just won't cut it. There are many bartenders that are extremely knowledgeable, they know all there is to know about mixing and serving drinks but that doesn't make them awesome bartenders because they lack what's most important in this job: genuine customer service.

How to Become An Awesome Bartender

Imagine this scenario: A group of people enters a bar, they want to have a good time and order some drinks. The bartender sees them enter but instead of approaching the group right away, he or she just continues chatting on the phone. Once he or she finishes texting, then he approaches the group. At this point, the level of energy of the group has dropped a little. The bartender takes their order, makes the drinks and starts a tab for them, he checks the other customers at the bar and then goes back to his phone.

This group of people is a funny bunch and they were ready to spend some money, if the service is good they tip well, the bartender didn't know this and didn't make the effort to get to know them, he provided them with terrible service and his personality kind of sucked. This was not the case on nights when the bar was packed though, on those nights the bartender was on fire, he was all smiles and fast deliveries. But, since this night the bar wasn't busy enough, he didn't care.

The funny bunch came to this bar because they like the atmosphere, it had everything to make them want to come back, except an awesome bartender, so they got one more round (they waited a long time to get it), paid the tab and left. They won't be coming back and it's the bartender's fault because he was terrible.

This is not how you become an awesome bartender, it isn't enough to know your drinks and how to serve them, you need to have a positive attitude, you'll need this to keep you motivated so you can keep your customers happy so they come back. If you're plagued with negative thoughts and bad attitude due to a crappy day, you need to check those out when your shift starts. Put them in an imaginary box and try not to think about them or talk about them while you're bartending. 

Your personality is a huge factor to become an awesome bartender it plays a big role when providing your customers all they need to have the best night of their lives. A good personality is what they are going to remember and what will determine if they'll come back to the bar. So you need to develop and maintain a good and memorable personality. 

Përsonality of an Awesome Bartender

To be a good bartender you'll need two qualities, or at least that's what people expect. You need to have extensive cocktail knowledge and excellent mixing skills. Those two qualities will help you provide your customers with good customer service but, you if you want to become an awesome bartender you'll need to upgrade your skills because apart from those qualities, customers also want to see a bartender with a friendly personality, one that goes above and beyond to provide them a great time and they want to see one that's a team member.

There are three personality traits that you need to focus on if you want to be an awesome bartender. Maybe you already possess these qualities and you need to polish them, if not, then work on them because you'll need them. Your appearance is also important so be sure to pair an awesome personality with looking smart and stylish.

1. Friendliness

A friendly person is one that's kind and pleasant, one that goes beyond and above to help others and that always greets them with a smile. Part of having a personality of an awesome bartender is always being friendly to the customers. Remember that they come to a bar to have a good time and a bartender is a crucial part of that experience.

2. Approachability

When a person is deemed approachable what it means is that he or she is nice, open and easy to talk to. Sometimes people go to a bar to have some company, to have someone to talk while having a beer or a cocktail or a glass of wine. If you're able to provide that for them as well as serving them great drinks, they will become regulars in your bar. Being approachable pays off when you're a bartender, your customers will feel comfortable talking to you and that will contribute to the whole experience in a very positive way.

3. Confidence

You need not only to know what you're doing but show it, not in an arrogant way or just to show off. You need to be sure of yourself and your abilities as a bartender. You know what you need to do and how to do it and your customers need to be aware of that because that will give them assurance. A sense that you've got their backs.

Technical skills to be an Awesome Bartender

What determines the success of any establishment is the kind of experience customers have inside said establishment and this is crucial in a bar. As a bartender, you're the face of the business, you're that link between the business and the customers. so you need to be all kinds of awesome so that the bar where you're working can become "the place to go" when people want an unforgettable and fun time.

What technical skills do you need to be an awesome bartender and deliver what the customers expect? Take a look.

1. Know your drinks

We've established that this skill is a must, you need to be knowledgable when it comes to the drinks you'll serve at the bar. To do great mixology you need to know the drinks. The ones that are common you'll need to know how to mix them off-handly. Always be on the look-out for new drinks and trends so you can be prepared.

2. A good memory

You need to have a great memory to be an awesome bartender. This will serve two purposes. One, with the drinks, you have to be able to remember what goes in each cocktail or drink you serve without having to look for a recipe. You'll have to memorize recipes for syrups, ratios for the classic cocktails and ingredients. Two, a great memory will come handy when it comes to remembering your customer's orders and their names. They will very much appreciate that you remember their names and their drink of choice.

3. Exceptional communication skills

This skill is crucial for a bartender so that chaos can't reign in the bar. An awesome bartender not only knows how to communicate with his customers, he or she knows how to communicate with the team too. You'll need to communicate with your customers in a friendly and clear way (also you'll need to listen so you can serve them better), and with your team relaying orders and asking for help when needed.  

4. Organizational skills

You'll need to be on top of many things while bartending. Apart from running all over the bar serving various customers at the same time, you need to keep track of who has already been served, who already paid for their drinks and who's still waiting to be served. You'll need to be able to multitask. keep your bar surface clean and well-stocked, to make your work more efficient and ensure that you don't run out of supplies during your shift. 

5. Good at handling money

You'll need to apply a little math so you can keep very good track or your money and the customer's money. You'll need to know how to calculate percentages, add up drinks and make the proper change when a customer pays a tab.

6. Be cool under pressure

Not all customers are going to be friendly and you'll have to deal with plenty of difficult situations in a bar, so you need a cool head and the ability to maintain calm when an incident like a fight or a drunk customer who refuses to leave or pay arises.

How to Get Hired with No Experience?

Getting a job as a bartender could be frustrating especially if you don't have any experience. So how can you get hired as a bartender with zero experience? There are some steps that you need to take to achieve your goal.

Meet the requirements

There are two basic requirements: Age and a bartending license. The minimum age (depending on the State) is between 18-21 years. You may also need a bartending license or a liquor serving license which is a certification (extend by the state's government) that you're aware of how to serve alcohol responsibly. 

Write a resume

Make sure to keep your resume clear, short, simple, accurate and relevant. Don't forget your contact information and highlighting any experience in the hospitality industry and relatable skills like customer service, multitasking, and teamwork.

Apply for the job

This is a long process and you may need to send lots of resumes before you land an interview. You can look and apply for a bartending job on websites or use the resume drop method, which is more effective. Print your resume and hit the streets while during the quieter times of bars and restaurants (between 3-5 pm). Ask to speak to the manager and hand him or her your resume, ask for an interview or a trial shift.

Start as barback

If you're given an interview and then a shift trial smash both of them (you've come this far). Be prepared for both of them and also be prepared to start as a bareback or a server and be the best one anyone has ever seen. This is a sure way to gain the experience you'll need and be an awesome bartender.

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Summary

Being an awesome bartender is more than just mixing and serving drinks. You'll need a positive and friendly personality so you can make your customers happy and help them have an awesome experience. 

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