After year of bartending, I’m still very new to the profession. But along the way, I’ve picked up tons of tips, tricks, and wisdom that keep my customers coming back. Returning customers are happy customers, and the number one essential ingredient to keeping any business alive. These simple tips will up your bartending game and make you serious moolah.
1. Spark conversation
Any bartender can and will spark conversation with customers. You don’t want them to only talk with you, you want them to talk to one another. You can’t possibly talk to everyone at the bar simlultaneously while also making drinks and completing whatever other duties you have. Even a little “Oh my gosh, you guys like the same IPA,” can go a long way.
2. ID everyone
You may be thinking, “Duh, that is so obvious.” But it’s true that not everyone does it, and you as the bartender are responsible if any under-agers get caught drinking (even after they leave your bar). ID event the older looking crowd. From personal experience, 9 times out of 10 they love this. ID someone visibly over 30 and it will totally boost their ego and boost your tip.
3. Turn on the charm
The bartender’s game is all about personality. Charisma keeps the people coming back. You have to be outgoing, fun, and a good listener. It’s good to have ton of stories on lock that can make people laugh or share wisdom. The greatest compliment you can get as a bartender is when someone asks you, “What days do you work?” It means they want to come back for you.
4. Enjoy yourself
Bartending is one of the best jobs ever! You get to meet and talk to new people all the time.Let’s face it: everyone can’t help but love the person supplying the booze. Nobody wants to feel as if they’re annoying you by asking for another drink. Not to mention happiness is contagious. If you’re having a genuinely good time, it will spread.
5. Ask questions
As a young bartender, there are so many drinks I don’t know. People will ask for so many crazy-named drinks, and I honestly think some are made up just to mess with me. Fortunately, no one has ever been offended by me asking “What’s in it?” Customers are much happier when they receive their drink just they way they wanted it.
6. Be fast
Sorry, but if you move at the pace of a sloth, this job is just not for you. You have got to be quick on your feet to make sure everyone is getting served. Not only that, but you gotta be a quick thinker because you will encounter problems so you must think of quick solutions like “I’m sorry, we ran out of Captain Morgan. Maybe try some Sailor Jerry?”
7. Ask for refills before their drink is gone
This will make you a much more efficient bartender, especially on a super busy night. You never want to leave anyone in “drink prison” where they have a cup, but no liquid in it. Also, the more drinks you get them, to buy the higher their tab runs. Everyone knows the higher the tab, the higher the tip. And the higher the tabm, the happier you make your boss. It’s a win-win-win.
8. Dress to impress
This isn’t necessarily a new concept. You always want to look professional when going to work. You want to look good, put together, and wear something that makes you feel confident, yet comfortable enough to work. Remember, bartending generally involves a lot of moving, reaching, and bending, so something short or too tight may not be the best option.
9. Give out freebies
ONLY IF YOUR BAR ALLOWS IT. I am not saying it’s okay to steal from your employer, but if your boss gives you the power to give a few drinks away every once in awhile, do it! Free booze shows a regular that’s loyal to you and treats you well that you appreciate them too. A free drink will also encourage a new customer to come back.
10. Treat your drinkers like family
If they’re having a bad day, comfort them. If they’re having a celebration, celebrate as well. If they’ve had a little too much to drink, make sure the get a safe ride home. If they try to drive home, don’t let them. Love everybody that comes to you bar. After all, they are paying your bills.
As long as you’re trying your best, people can see that, and they respect it. So go out and be kickass bartenders!