It’s almost here. Perhaps the shift most dreaded by bartenders and servers everywhere, St. Patrick’s Day. A day of unchecked drinking, parades, and green beer. Here are some tips to ease the pain of the Saint Patrick’s Day shift.
If you live in a major city, like I do, this day can mean literally hundreds of thousands of people descending on your town to run rampant in the mild spring weather. It’s a very long day; one that all service industry staff can expect to be working upwards of 12 hours. But don’t worry, it’s some ways to get through the day.
Eat and Sleep
Seriously. Eat at every chance you get. Go to work with a full stomach and bring snacks. Healthy ones, like bananas and protein bars. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve skipped breakfast to get some extra sleep and had my stomach growling all day, and my energy fade as the day wore on. What made it worse is it gets so busy that the chance to order food is almost impossible.
Be sure to get some sleep the night before. Go to bed as early as possible so you can wake up refreshed. This won’t help the inevitable feeling of dread in your stomach when you get up, but at least you won’t be tired throughout the day.
This is going to be a really long day, and you may not have the 18th off. If your bar is the kind of place that lets you take a few shots with customers, maybe save those for the end of your shift. There’s no worse feeling than being a little drunk when you still have to work for ten hours. Also, you need to be hyper-vigilant about over-serving customers on St. Patrick’s Day and you can’t do that if you’re wasted.
Take Deep Breaths
This might sound clichéd but it really works. Someone is going to make you mad on this day, it can’t be avoided. You will get stiffed on a check, bumped on your way to the service station, or shouted at for attention. All of these little things aren’t so bad when they happen every once in awhile on a normal night. But on St. Patrick’s day it happens again, and again… and again. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take 3 or 4 deep breaths and I promise the world will look a little brighter.
Keep Your Cash Organized
In one place I worked, the manager would periodically go around to all the registers and take some cash down to the office. This was amazingly helpful. Not only was I not struggling to stuff 200 one dollar bills into a tiny bucket, but there was far less to count at the end of the night.
If you have any time at all throughout the day, count and bundle your cash. Even organize your receipts if you can. This will allow you to get out quicker when the night (finally) ends.
Brush Up on Serving Laws in Your Area
St. Patrick’s day is a good time to get to know your own liability as a bartender. While it’s a chronic day of over-serving, never ever put yourself at risk. If someone really seems like they’ve had too much, or talks about driving home, get your manager, cut them off, and take any other necessary steps to protect yourself and the establishment.
Remember, It Is Only One Day
What always gets me through, is thinking about the beer I’ll have at my local spot when I’m finished. The crowds will have long since dissipated and I can finally relax. There’s nothing like that feeling of camaraderie between bartenders after a day like St. Patrick’s.
Oh and also, if anyone was rude to you, take comfort when you’re done and counting all of their money. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!