we love you bby forget them you know karma will kick them in the ass eventually
Now, to speak directly to a certain terrifying subset of this species. These are the lowest, most shameless sorts of customers. Their existence is a constant, chilling reminder that evil exists in the world. They are the non-tippers.
Basic Bartending Laws
Keep the bar clean: Nobody wants to put a hat, purse or their shirt sleeve in a puddle of liquid on the bar. Maybe they should look first but many bars are dark. It’s not their job to keep the bar clean, and their expectation that it is clean is perfectly fair. Change the napkin or coaster under the drink when it is soaked. Pick up loose straws, empty glasses and any clutter off the bar. While we are on the subject, understand you are the establishment’s ambassador; keep yourself clean and neat, clothes fresh and hair combed.
Keep the bar stocked: Nothing is worse than waiting for a drink while the bartender has to get the keys and head to the stockroom or worse, hunt down a manager and hope they aren’t too busy to get a bottle of liquor for a drink ordered. If you have a bottle below the half full line and guests are drinking that brand at the time, get a backup before it’s an emergency. Most bars keep a backup stock of well and call liquors behind the bar, but not many do with top shelf brands. Keep your beer well stocked and icy cold. When you wash beer glasses or mugs, make sure they get in the refrigerator immediately. Even in the winter people want ice cold beer glasses. Your garnishing tray should always be filled with fresh fruit and vegetables. Mixes ought to be ready and in a central location for easy access. Every shift has a duty to make sure the incoming shift’s bar is stocked the way they would want it for themselves.
Treat your customers with respect: Not everyone is as well versed in drink language or customs as a bartender. It is not your place to shame the person who doesn’t know the difference between an Irish whiskey and a Scotch whiskey. It is your place to educate, not emasculate. Customer service is the backbone of your income. People want to be entertained but not annoyed. There is a fine line. Know when to let a private discussion remain private while still giving good drink service. And know when your participation is going to be a positive addition to the conversation. Most importantly, be a sober bartender. Enough said. And do not bring your personal problems to work. I know at times it’s easier said than done, but a sulking bartender whining about their significant other is not an atmosphere people are looking for when they are out for a drink. Suck it up, be a professional, and put on the show.
I’m a strong believer in coworker harmony: Yes, every place has those coworkers who seem to get away with all kinds of shady behaviors without consequences; don’t be that person. Being a team player in the service industry is not a cliché. It is how things run smooth when you are five deep and the restaurant has a wait. Being a good coworker is just common sense in an industry that has a million details. It consists of assisting a fellow employee even if it’s not your job. For example, if the dishwasher is having a hard time keeping up, what is so difficult about bringing a bucket of silverware out to the stations on your way back to the bar? Little things like that keep the establishment at a comfortable hum. I’m not even going to make the suggestion not to gossip, because that happens. I’m just asking you to keep it to a minimum and not be mean spirited. A good coworker also pays people back for covering their shift by returning the favor. Arriving on time if not a little early every time you are scheduled is golden. Even if you are not the fastest bartender in the bar, if you are the most dependable, then you are more valuable than you know.
This is the short list of good basic bartender skills that can be taken to any type of bar.
Compliments Are Not Currency
How easy it would be if I could cash in on kind words and pay my rent in praise? Sadly, the old-fashioned American dollar is still the only acceptable method of payment.
Too often I have been left lousy tips by people I would consider impeccable character witnesses. They had raved I was charming, funny and good-looking, only to leave behind a measly couple of bucks. In the business, we servers refer to these people as “verbal tippers,” perhaps the worst kind of diner you can encounter.
You VTs are as good at stroking an ego as you are at throwing down a lackluster gratuity, and I’m hip to your game. You must realize that while flattery will get you everywhere, it won’t pay the bills. So, please don’t think that your niceties will ever take the place of a good tip. Proof is in the pudding, people.
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