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How to Hire a Bartender

Learn how to hire a bartender with the advice from restaurateur Paul Bolles-Beaven in this Howcast video.


If your restaurant has a bar, or if it serves alcoholic beverages that are created, like cocktails, you're going to need a bartender. A bartender is a position that combines all of the skills of a server in terms of service capability and hospitality, with the ability to make cocktails and care for beverage alcohol inventory.

If you're bar also serves food, they're going to need to have all of the capabilities that a server has when it comes to serving food properly. If your bartender doesn't serve food, they should still know about the food because they may have important interactions with guests who may ask them about the food and about a particular dish that they saw on the menu before they go to their table.

The bar in a restaurant can be a place that people seek out, in specific, as a place that they want to go. It can also be the place that people wait for their table or for other guests. It can also be a place that they go after their meal if they want to continue to spend the evening in the restaurant before they go home.

The bartender needs to provide a particular capability, quality, and style of hospitality. It needs to feel like a safe place at the bar. It needs to feel like a fun place even if you're alone. Maybe you're waiting and you're not sure if your guest is going to arrive, or if you're concerned because your table is delayed and you're feeling uncomfortable and nervous. The bartender needs to make it feel comfortable and okay.

When you're hiring a bartender, you need to hire a very important person in the cast of your restaurant. They need to be able to provide great service with great accuracy and great speed. They need to be able to make great cocktails. They need to be able to control the cash register properly and be entrusted with that. They also need to handle your beverage inventory and keep it safe and not overuse it.

One of the classic ways that restaurant can lose money is bartenders pouring too much alcohol into a drink. Even a slight overpour multiplied by thousands of times can add up to a great deal of money.

Looking for bartenders is something that you should start with inside your restaurant. You may have a server who wants to become a bartender. They already know the restaurant. They already know the food. Maybe they need to be trained on how to make cocktails. They could be trained by one of your managers. If you have that situation, it's a great opportunity because then it's someone that you trust, that you already know and you can give them an opportunity to step up and take on more responsibility.

If you don't have anyone on the inside of the restaurant that you think is ready to be a bartender, you can look for them much the same way that you would look for service staff, with advertisements on internet websites and through word of mouth with other staff members. Often restaurant people talk together and to each other. You can ask your staff if they know anyone who's looking for a bartender position, who they think would be a great addition to the team.

It's very important that you hire a bartender that not only has the technical skill and will fit in with your restaurant, but also someone who can provide the very specific and special hospitality that's required at the bar in your restaurant.

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