Bartending is all about interacting with guests, serving great drinks and making people happy. One of the most important aspects of the job is serving your customers.

bartenders better serve customers


Here are several tips to ensure you are serving your customers with the best possible care.


Be Prepared


Come to work prepared for the day. You can not serve your customers very well on only a few hours of sleep. This also applies to your work area. Make sure everything is in it’s proper place and the bar is well stocked. Customers hate it when you say that you are out of something they want. If you are well prepared it will really help you serve your customers to the best of your ability.


Anticipate Problems


Many problems can be prevented if you pay close attention. If a customer has their glass too close to the edge of the bar, or a customer seems to have had too much to drink, you can fix the issues before they become a problem. This also applies to things like running out of ice, or not having enough clean glasses for drinks. If you pay attention to your surroundings and foresee possible problems you can keep things running smoothly.


Know The Menu


As a bartender you should know the menu at your establishment even if you only serve drinks. If you are knowledgeable, you come off as more credible to your customers. Keep in mind a few things on the menu that are great for recommendations when helping a customer decide what to order. Don’t just hand your customers a menu and let them review it themselves. Tell them about specials and things you like on the menu. This will build up good rapport with your customers and regulars.


Work Fast and Efficiently


Bars get busy. If you want to better serve your clients you have to be willing to work fast without dropping the ball on your customer service. Customers do not like to wait, so it is important to get to them as soon as possible. However, if you are fast but messy, you are more likely to give poor service and upset customers. So, you need to find that happy medium.


Pay Attention To Customers


If your customer’s drink is almost empty offer to refill it. If their meal is almost finished ask if they want the check. It’s in the little details of your service that makes you a great bartender. Customers will come back if you are paying attention to their needs. If you make their experience personable and have things ready even before they ask you will be rewarded with loyalty.




There are things that are okay to talk about and then there are things to avoid. Knowing when to tell a good joke or when to see yourself out of a conversation are key. Keep in mind you are there to serve and be there for your clients but there are also lines you can’t cross. A good rule of thumb is to always stay away from topics on politics and religion. Also, don’t over assert your opinions or push ideas onto your customers. It’s okay to play the role of a good friend and listener, but it’s not a good idea to get into controversial material.


Keep Your Work Area Clean


Nobody wants to order drinks at a dirty bar. People go to bars to have a good time and escape life for a while. So your bar has to keep up with the illusion of a fun place to be. Also, a messy bar poses health risks, so be sure to keep it clean. Your customers will appreciate it.


Control Your Environment


A lot goes on at the bar. In order to serve your customers you have to be mindful of the atmosphere. Is it too cold or too hot? Is the music too loud? Is a customer upsetting another customer? Are your customers into the television show that is on? If you control what’s going on you will make your customers more comfortable and be able to serve them better. Also keep in mind there are things you can not control like the weather. But you can always find a way to make the best out of things you can control.


Good Money Handling Skills Are Key 


A good bartender knows how important money is to people. The way you handle people’s money or credit cards ensures that you have satisfied customers. Take the time to make sure you are giving correct change every time and don’t count your tips until you are off work. Serving your customers also means handling bar tabs and bills with great care.

Pros and Cons of Bartending vs. Serving

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Bartending is more than just serving customers drinks. Walk into any bar on a Friday night and you will see an array of drinks being served, music blasting and happy customers enjoying themselves.


Are you unsure when to stop serving drinks?

If you are a bartender, you will come across some interesting people who are pretty difficult to deal with.  You have the customers that will repeat things over and over to the point that it becomes extremely annoying. Then you have those who will expect you to read their mind, and then get mad at your drink recommendation.  


There are several things bartenders can teach you.

It’s been one of those days where all you want to do is have a drink. But unlike George Thorogood’s famous song, you don’t feel like ‘drinking alone.’  So instead you make your way over to your favorite bar where the bartenders know your name. And can tell by the expression on your face exactly what you need.


Bartenders Can Teach


Before you even manage to sit, there’s a drink waiting for you and a smile on the face of the bartender. You take a sip and suddenly things fall into place. And all is right with the world once again.  This is what I love about bars.

Being in my mid-twenties I have visited my fair share of bars and have spoken to many bartenders from all over the world.  I have come to realize that bartenders can unknowingly teach you valuable lessons about life.


1. Bartenders Can Teach about Alcohol


Bartenders are obviously exposed to the world of liquor at many different levels. If you ever have a question about any type of alcohol or drink, the best person to ask is a seasoned bartender.  They can tell you about the best liquors and what to avoid.  



2. Bartenders Can Teach about Limits


Dealing with intoxicated people comes with the territory of the job.  As a bartender gains experience on they job, they become excellent at determining what someone’s limit is. This is great for anyone to learn in order to keep themselves and their friends safe from alcohol poisoning and getting themselves out of trouble.


3. Diffusing


There are always going to be those incidences where bartenders are going to have to diffuse a situation between two patrons. Bartenders will rarely use physical force for this, only if necessary and more commonly use different verbal methods to rein the situation under control.


4. Storytelling


If you are a writer or someone who wants to be able to learn how to tell a great story, ask a bartender to tell you one. You cannot work in a bar and not have some juicy tales to spill, and for some reason bartenders just have the charisma that allows them to be exceptional storytellers.  Maybe it’s the drinks.  


5. Patience


If patience is a virtue then bartenders are the holy saints of it. In a bar you deal with people from all walks of life. And while that makes for an interesting work environment, it can also be pretty frustrating. There are always going to be those nasty customers who are rude, disrespectful and very critical right from the start and a bartender has to take it all while providing good service and timely drinks.


6. Understanding People


Bartending is one part providing and creating drinks and one part people watching. If you work in a bar long enough, you will figure out someone from the moment they step through the door.



7. Maintaining Stamina


People don’t think that bartending is a physically demanding job and they are completely wrong. You are standing/running around for up to 12 hours shifts with barely any breaks. Bartenders definitely know some tricks of the trade when it comes to keeping their stamina.


Bartenders Can Teach


Next time you go to a bar don’t just think of your bartender as someone who lives to serve you. Think of them as a teacher, a Jedi perhaps, who can teach you some valuable life lessons.


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In the bartending game, tips aren't everything although that's how so many approach the profession.  In order to have massive success, you have to focus on a long-term strategy. 


You’re either a bartender or looking to become one right?  And you’re just checking to see if you already do these things or trying to figure ways to get better.  This kickass list is simple and straight to the point sharing ways to nail bartending.



Being a bartender can be a pretty fun and enjoyable profession. It can also be pretty lucrative given the right approach. 


bartender following


Being as though the majority of a bartender's income comes from tips, it is important to provide excellent service and leverage the very best customers to build a good bartender following.

A considerable amount of bartenders get into the profession as a second or third job, yet many are left wondering how to turn that part-time bartending gig into a real money maker.  Well the best way to do that is to get the very best tippers to come back to see you over again and to get customers to refer others to you.   So how do you build that loyalty and a following with customers?  



First impressions are the best impressions



It is important to know that first impressions are lasting impressions.  There are 3 rules to follow with any customer.

     1.  Greet the person as soon as they sit down.  Acknowledging their presence right away helps them feel valued and important.

     2.  Ask them for their name and tell them yours.  Be sure to remember their name and address them by the name they provide when taking their order and engaging in dialogue.

     3.  Ask them one simple question, "how is your day going?"  Even though you may not truly care, saying this will get them to think that you do care and this goes a long way in customer retention.


Take it serious


No matter how you got started with bartending, or how you view the job long-term, it is a profession and needs to be taken seriously.  Be sure to do the following:

Be professional


Bartending is your job and you must be competent person at all times even in a bar environment. This doesn't mean you can't have fun, just means you have take your profession seriously and continue to improve your craft.

Don't make things too personal


It's important to get to know the customer and that means that some conversations may get personal.  It's pretty common for this to happen in a bar setting, just be careful about sharing too many details about your personal life.  Be sure to protect you and your brand while learning as much about the customer that's useful.

Good service can equal good tips


It is common that good service equals good tips.  Smile often, listen, and set expectation from the start.  Yes it is hard to provide quality service and meeting all the different customers demands at the same time.  But by setting expectations and doing so with a smile, people will understand and not get frustrated if things are taking longer than they expect.  They will appreciate that you took the time to explain.

Create and track weekly income goals


Figure out how much you want to make during each shift.  Take into the consideration the following factors:

Once you factor in this, factor how much you can make for each scenario.  For example, with morning shifts you typically make $300 vs. $450 at night.  Now you've determined how much you should make during each type of shift, write down you weekly income goal and then compare how much you made at week's end.

 For example, your monetary goal for the week may be $350 for a morning shift and $500 for a night shift. At the end of the week you made $375 in the morning and $450 for nights.  You can download this spreadsheet to keep track of your goals vs. actual income earned.  The objective is to figure out expected vs. real income.  Once you start tracking and monitoring, you can decide if you want to raise or lower your goals weekly/monthly/yearly.  Set weekly goals that challenge you and track them moving forward.



Figure out the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Influencers



It is important that you learn who your customers are and do so quickly.  There is a reason why they visited the bar so you figure out why by listening effectively.  From there, mentally place them in 4 distinct buckets to determine who will get the majority of your time when you get some down time.

The Good


The good customers tip well because they recognize the value of a good bartender.  You will know who they are and if you show them great service, they will be back to tip well again.  Spend the majority of your time in conversations with this type of customer.

The Bad


The bad customers may not tip well.  They probably are not bad people, they just may not understand the value of a good bartender.  Listen closely to their concerns and leave the door open for a return.  They will take more time to win over than 'the good' so spend time conversing with them but not as much as 'the good' customers.

The Ugly


The ugly customers may not tip at all.  Provide good service but don't spend much time in conversations with this type as they will waste your time.  You don't have much time with customers so make it count.  And don't feel you can ignore this customer completely as others are watching.  Be sure to treat all customers with your professional respect, just don't spend too much time with 'the ugly.'

The Influencers


The influencers are potentially your biggest assets.  They may not tip good or bad, but if they like you and appreciate your service, they will tell others about you and that means more referrals coming through the door and more money in your pockets.  If someone visits you at the bar as says, "Susie told me about you," this shows the referrer is an influencer.  Be sure to spend time with an influencer almost as much as you do with 'the good' and don't be bashful about letting them know that referrals and good tips are welcome.

In part 2, we will go into more details of how to build a following as a bartender.


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Bartending is a lifestyle all of it’s own. In order to survive busy nights behind the bar, you not only have to take care of your customers, you have to take care of yourself.


Busy Nights Bartending


Much of this could be considered common knowledge, however, sometimes in this fast-paced world, you tend to put your needs on hold while putting the customers first.

There are 7 tips that will help you get through a hectic night of bartending while still taking care of your own needs.




1. Be Prepared


Not every situation can be planned out. However, if you know how to prepare yourself and your bar for a busy night, you are one step ahead of the game. Being prepared for a busy night includes:



2. Bring Snacks


Everyone knows breaks are few and far between when you are behind the bar. Most seasoned bartenders know that having a quick snack such as trail mix, fresh fruit, an energy bar or a protein packed tuna sandwich will keep you going until you can slip away for a break. However, be sure to know your establishment's policy about food behind the bar before you bring it in.


3. Set Your Tools in the Right Place


Bartending, especially on a busy night is a strenuous job. In order to work efficiently you need to have your bartending tools arranged in a way that you can use them fast and with ease. It’s very important to know exactly where everything is and have items in a specific order which will allow you to do your job without fumbling for objects. There is a french saying ‘mise en place’ meaning everything in it’s place. If you always have your items in a specific place that makes sense, you will develop a habitual serving pattern that will allow you to serve drinks in an efficient manner.


4. Drink Plenty of Water


There are some bars and clubs that allow the bartenders to have an occasional drink with customers. Be sure to pace yourself and drink plenty of water between drinks. Nobody likes a boozy bartender. In fact, if someone orders you a vodka shot, it’s okay to fill your shot glass with water to give the illusion that you are drinking with your customers. On another note, even if you are not drinking with your customers, a busy environment can quickly dehydrate you. Drinking water will keep you going strong all night.


5. Learn Good Bartending Techniques


Multitasking is a critical skill to have success as a bartender. It’s even more important on a busy night. It’s essential to know different techniques that will allow you to quickly mix drinks and get onto the next customer quickly. Here are several techniques to learn and practice, if you don’t do them already:


6. Be Alert and Anticipate


You can’t plan everything, however, you can be aware of your surroundings. Being alert and anticipating customers needs ahead of time will help your night go smoothly. If a customer's drink is almost empty be ready to get mix another one. If you see a customer who looks like they had too much to drink, offer them water or be prepared to cut them off. Anything can happen on a busy night, so if you are alert you will be able to anticipate the next step and prevent disasters.



7. Find Time For a Break


During the busiest nights, even the best bartenders get tired. Sneaking out for a quick break can be a challenge when the tips are flying in and the counter is deep with customers. However, even a five minute break will refresh you and keep you going until closing. Bartending is hard work, but it’s not slave labor. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of your customers.


Want to connect with people at the bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!


Bartenders actively listen to your customers to have a productive and lucrative career in bartending. 

Bartending is a skill that incorporates more than slinging a few drinks together. It really involves actively listening to your customers and responding appropriately. If you do not have great communication skills you will need to learn some in order to have success in the profession.


Bartender actively listen to your customers


Make Good Use of Your Bartender Time


So, what does it mean to actively listen to customers? Actively listening is an acquired skill that involves:




Bartender Actively Listen by Understanding the Right Cues


Nonverbal Cues


On any good Friday night a bartender is rushing about looking for customers who need refills, greeting customers who just walked into the establishment, paying close attention to how much customers are drinking and finally watching for any bad situations that may arise in the bar.

With all this going on, a bartender has to be mindful of the verbal and nonverbal cues around him. Nonverbal communication makes up 90% of all communication so it plays a big role in bartending. Important nonverbal cues include:

Verbal Cues


Verbal cues are anything your customer says. It’s important to listen intently to their likes and dislikes. If a customer offers a complaint. It’s a good idea to paraphrase what they said and offer a solution as quickly as possible. For example, a customer complains that it took so long to get a drink. You could paraphrase it back this way and add a solution:

“ I understand that you had to wait a bit longer than usually for your drink. Your next drink is on me.”

Now in the world of bartending we can not give everyone free drinks when they have to wait.This is just a quick example of how to paraphrase in order to let your customer know that you understand why they are upset. If you understand your customers needs nonverbally and verbally you are on the right track to actively listening.


Making Appropriate Eye Contact 


When learning to how to actively listen to your customers it is important to have appropriate eye contact. This can be tricky for some. Too much eye contact can scare your customers, while too little eye contact can make your customers feel like you are not interested in what they have to say.

A good rule of thumb is to look at your customers when they are speaking to you. Once they have gotten their point across you can continue doing what you were doing.


Having Good Posture 


Posture says a lot about a person. Standing erect with your shoulders back says that you are very confident in yourself. Slouchy or leaning on the bar can come across as either laziness or self-doubt. Your customers want someone they can rely on. Always be aware of your posture while serving drinks.


Listening Without Being Distracted


In a busy bar this is easily said than done. However, it is important to let your customers know they are important to you. With that being said, take care of one customer at a time and carefully listen to each one. Multitasking is important but not at the expense of your customers needs.


Asking Good Questions


A great bartender who actively listens will ask appropriate questions when trying to help their customers. Sometimes the question is a simple as, would you like ice with that?

And sometimes the questions can be a bit more complex. Either way, being able to ask the right questions at the correct time will allow you to better serve your customers. When asking your customers questions:



Asking good questions is practically common sense. Yet so many people don’t ask the right questions or misinterpret what their customers are saying. In order to actively listen to your customer and serve them you really need to learn how to ask the best questions.

As a bartender we tend to be a counselor, caregiver and public servant to our customers. It’s important to actively listen and have good communication skills in this field.

I implore you to start implementing good actively listening skills into your job and to continue learning new communication skills that will help with your customer service. Your customers will be happy that you took the time to really take care of their needs.


Want to connect with people at your bar in a whole new way? Download the BOTY App on iTunes or Google Play for free!




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