My ten-year experience in hospitality has allowed me to perfect my craft, from serving cocktails in high-end bars in Edinburgh to running down the local taverns in Sydney. These are my top five tips for becoming a great bartender.
1. ARRIVE 15 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR SHIFT STARTS
This is a crucial part of the bartender’s life. “Why? I hear you ask, I’m not getting paid”. It’s a sign of enthusiasm to show up on time. There is no need to do any work yet.
Get your coffee and change into your uniform. You must make sure your station is properly set up. Make sure all garnishes are in place for the busy night ahead. It is better to be prepared and professional before you even step on the bar.
2. WHEN LOOKING FOR A HOSPITALITY JOB, KNOCKING ON DOORS IS THE SECRET
You can get a job as a bartender at the most prestigious bar in the city, but this is not the norm. You must sell yourself and be confident when you walk in. Give examples of how you can help their business. Always wear a bartender’s uniform before you set out on foot: black, black, and black. Black shirt, pants, and the appropriate shoes. Print your resume and attach a photocopied RSA to the back.
3. AFFECT YOUR SHORT-TERM MEMORY
There will be waitresses shouting drink orders, drinkers who don’t like empty glasses in front, and 20 items that you need to verify stock. Bartenders need to have a good memory for short-term tasks. This is key to success. It is important to remember multiple orders of drinks and associate them in a party so that they can all go out together.
4. A JOB IS A JOB
Don’t stress too much. You are the front-of-house staff member and represent the company. Smile, be professional and keep your mouth open. If you are having trouble finding the malty scotch whisky or getting stuck on the cocktails, your colleagues will be there to help. Enjoy yourself; customers want to socialize and have fun. It’s just a job.
5. LEARN MORE ABOUT MULTI-TASKS
Do not make more than one drink at once. Learn how to combine orders and create multiple cocktails in a short time span. You’ll be amazed at how many customers are ordering the exact same drink if you take multiple orders. On busy weekends, cash handling skills are essential. Practice your counting and learn the colours of each note. You can take orders from other customers while the machine processes, which reduces the customer’s time.