THE BARTENDER BACK TO BASICS
By Andrew O’ Gorman, Head of Department Bar and Meat Management, Dublin Institute of Technology, Honorary Life Member The Irish Guild of Sommeliers, Honorary Life Member Bartenders Association of Ireland.
The first impression that the Bartender makes upon a customer is most important. His personal appearance, cleanliness and greeting will ensure that this first meeting is a positive one. To ensure proper appearance, the Bartender should:
1. Check him/herself before going on duty and frequently during the day
2. Uniform should be proper, clean, neat, well pressed and sharp looking.
3. Shoes should be black, conservative and well shined.
4. Wear a proper name tag, if appropriate.
5. Ensure personal hygiene, by frequent showers, use of deodorants,
colognes, perfumes and mouthwash.
6. Remember: ''No staff member should be permitted on duty unless he/she is of neat appearance."
The Bartender's first verbal contact with the customer is most important. Make him/her feel comfortable by using a pleasant and courteous voice, the greeting should be friendly and dignified.
Look the guest in the eye and when appropriate say: Good morning, (Identify yourself my name is..……… your Bartender. “May I help you?” By being familiar with the entire list of drinks the Bartender will be able to answer all questions. REMEMBER TO SMILE. A smile can mean a great deal to a customer. Do not permit personal problems or feelings to affect the quality of service to customers. Always greet the customer with a “good morning, sir” or “good evening madam (or miss)” spoken with sincerity and courtesy.
Do not become overfriendly, As some customers may mistake this for disrespect and resent it. Always treat your customers with respect and a smile.
Two golden Rules for bar staff which should be followed:
1.Complete honesty is required at all times. No bartender is to give, or floor staff to receive, any drink from the bar (including “just a coke”) without the drink being properly rung on the cash register and the receipt being presented to the customer.
2. All personnel in the bar are there to serve the customer in the most positive and courteous manner. Should a customer complain, the bar manager must be advised immediately.
Failure to comply with these two rules may result in dismissal.
It is an excellent habit to report for work 15-20 minutes prior to your scheduled time, to enable you to check your bar and be prepared. Your supervisor will check your appearance and uniform before service will begin. Check the posted schedules to be sure you know when and where to report for work.
The bartender will be taught the proper cash, bar check, bar and lounge procedures used in the bar.
They are in brief as follows:
1. All drinks must be rung correctly on the register.
2. Each party will have a separate docket.
3. The floor staff member should present the receipt to each party after completing service.
4. To avoid confusion over proper change for large bills, do not take the offered bill with you to make change. If you do not have enough change, go to the service area, get the change and bring to the table, accept the bill and provide the change, counting it with the customer.
5. Always use a measure when pouring spirits.
6. Each lounge boy or waitress will be assigned a work section or a section in the lounge.
7. By law alcoholic beverages should not be served to anyone under the age of 18. If this creates a problem, immediately call the bar manager to resolve this situation.
8. When returning change to a table, place the change on a tray, verify its accuracy with the customer. Do not stand by the table forcing the customer to fumble with the change while you are staring at him. ALWAYS say “thank you, sir/madam", in a positive courteous, respectful manner. Remember to say ''goodnight, sir/madam", when the customer leaves your bar.
9. We have all seen customers seated at table, frantically trying to get the bartender or floor staffs' attention. The customer breaks up his conversation with his companion and gazes spellbound at a disappearing back. An alert bartender does not permit this to happen. When the lounge boy/ waitress is serving at another table, it is permissible to nod recognition to a customer's signal. The customer can then relax and resume his conversation knowing that the bartender will be there in a moment. If you are busy when a new party arrives take a brief moment to greet them and say. “I’II be with you shortly”.
10. Do not try to serve too many orders at one time. At times you may think it advantageous to attempt to serve 5 or 6 tables with one trip to the service bar, this may mean 13 or 14 drinks on one tray with 5 or 6 receipts. Invariably, one or two of the tables will complain of the wrong drink and still another of the wrong receipt. Try to limit drink orders at one trip to under 10.
11. Should you be free when guests enter the lounge, escort them to a table and seat them. Greet them politely and take the order.
It will take some time and training until new bar staff are able to perform their job with confidence and have pride in their ability to cope with all of the situations and problems of quality service. During these first weeks the bar manager and head bartenders will check with new bar staff daily to answer all questions and provide them with the proper answers, procedures and tools to learn their job.
Should the bartender have any questions about the nature of the job, feel absolutely free to ask a senior member of staff.
Bartenders have every opportunity for promotion to higher positions. Many bar managers start as apprentices.
Lastly, but most important, a word about customer relations. If a bartender has any problem or trouble with customers, DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT ARGUE - UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WITH THE CUSTOMERS.
Excuse yourself, in an accommodating manner, call your manager or senior member of staff to immediately resolve the situation.
Duties for all bar staff
1. Have a neat clean personal appearance and be punctual when restarting for duty.
2. Be in proper uniform, complete with name tag, if appropriate.
3. Check work schedules to determine where and when you will work - be sure to know at which bar you will work.
4. Be familiar with proper procedures to clean and sanitize bars, equipment, refrigerators and ice machines.
5. Comply with policies in replenishing bars with beverages, fruit and supplies.
6. Stock refrigerators with beers, soft drinks and wines.
7. Be familiar with procedures for preparing fruit for garnishes.
8. Be familiar with glass washing and storage of glass procedures.
9. Be familiar with proper sanitation procedures. Always wash your hands thoroughly after sanitary use and before handling fruit garnishes.
10. Be familiar with the food hygiene regulations.
11. Be familiar with the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act
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