What do Bartenders Do?
Bartenders are a key component of any bar, as well as many restaurants and night clubs. As a bartender you would not only be responsible for keeping the beverages flowing, but you would also engage in conversations with patrons and many times develop loyal customers. You must also be able to successfully manage the area behind the bar, as well as take and deliver orders in some establishments. In this position, you must be an ultimate multi-tasker.
Bartender Skills and Abilities
Outside of multi-tasking, you will also have to have a strong proficiency in making drinks. An understanding of drafts, crafts and wines can be beneficial, though it can also be learned as you go, considering it can vary between different establishments. It is also important to have an understanding of how to handle the various pouring and chopping mechanisms used to create common drinks. Interpersonal skills are also a must, seeing as you will be on the front lines. This includes being able to quickly troubleshoot and address any issues or complaints.
Along with making drinks, the main duties of a bartender include maintaining both the seating and mixing areas of the bar. This includes making sure that the bar stays stocked with clean glasses and utensils, and alerting management when more product is needed. Depending upon the establishment, you may only be responsible for the bar area, or you may have table top sections to manage as well. The table tops usually require serving food, in which case your duties would expand to placing food orders and sometimes fetching them, if servers are not assigned to assist you. You will be responsible for checking patrons’ identifications to ensure that you do not illegally serve minors. You will have to process customer bills for payment and balance your receipts at the end of the night. You will also be responsible for cleaning the bar area at the end of your shift and possibly prepping it for the next day or shift coming up.
Bartender Tools and Technology
Bartenders utilize a few different technologies, which include:
- Beverage dispensers
- Cocktail shakers and accessories
- Commercial grade cutlery and strainers
- Point of Sale (POS) software
- Bar code readers (inventory)To fulfill this position you must be able to utilize all of
These tools and technologies interchangeably, and sometimes simultaneously, throughout your shifts.
Education and Training for Bartenders
There is no formal education required to become a bartender, but most individuals do have at least a high school diploma. There are Bartending schools and training courses that you may attend, though a short period of on the job training or personal aptitude can sometimes suffice. It is really up to the hiring personnel at an establishment to determine the requirements, outside of you being of legal age to serve alcohol.
Bartender salaries tend to vary. There are a few different factors that can play a strong part in how much you will make
- Your hours
- Minimum wage
- The percentage cuts between hosts and servers
- The type of establishment (high-end establishment, family restaurant, dive bar, etc.)
- If you do any side gigs
- Your social skills
The median salary for a bartender was reported as $19,100 in 2014, with the high being around $35,000. Keep in mind that most individuals in the service industry do not report all of their tips, so chances are that the actually numbers are higher.
Bartender Jobs by Geography
States such as New York, California, Texas and Florida have the highest number of bartenders and show continued room for growth. Bartending can have a high turnover rate at times, so new opportunities tend to constantly be available in various areas.