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Bar Practices: The Best and the Worst

Bar Management, Staff Training - June 15, 2017 Written By: Charles Deibel, CPA

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Bar Practices:  The Best and the Worst

A well run, profitable bar reflects a disciplined code of conduct.  When you establish a clear set of rules and expectations, you set the scene for success.  When you communicate your expectations both verbally and in writing, you’ll leave no room for doubt.  You’re also able to create a benchmark for performance measurement, incentive programs, staff rewards or disciplinary action.

Things You Should ALWAYS Do:

  • Card anyone who looks 30 and under
  • Secure a credit card before running a tab
  • Ring up drinks as they are ordered and created
  • Look for opportunities to upsell
  • Repeat a customer’s order out loud to him
  • Get management's permission before comping a drink
  • Close cash tabs immediately after receiving payment
  • Fan and count change, and present customers with a receipt
  • Use designated glassware
  • Fill glasses with ice before pouring a drink
  • Shake martinis for at least ten seconds before serving
  • Record spills/returns/wasted product

Things You Should NEVER Do:

  • Drink behind the bar
  • Allow anyone other than bartenders/barbacks and management behind the bar
  • Substitute brands without informing the customer
  • Allow cocktailers/servers to verbally order a drink
  • Overpour or underpour. If you have a great customer you want to reward, it’s better to comp one drink than to overpour several drinks.  The comped drink can be tracked.
  • Serve multiple drinks to a patron without making a good faith effort to determine where he or she is going.
  • Void a drink that has already been made
  • Use modifiers or bump keys unless necessary
  • Allow cash advances from a credit card
  • Keep the register drawer open between transactions
  • Share a drawer with another employee
  • Pocket a tip, openly express dissatisfaction with a tip or keep tips in your drawer
  • Take delivery of inventory without checking it off against the invoice

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