3 Hiring Tips for Building Amazing Bartender Teams

By Sarah Pekala


Sarah Pekala

June 7, 2018

Posted in Restaurant Management, Industry & Culture

We all know it; employee turnover is a huge problem in the food and beverage industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual employee turnover rate in the restaurants and accommodations sector is 73%. Think about that for a second. That means that only a quarter of your employees will still be around at the end of the year. Recruiting, hiring, and training new people is costly and time consuming. The best way to avoid it? Hire an amazing bar team from the beginning. Easier said than done. 

In our most recent webinar, Customer Education Manager Trevor Bernatchez, gave us 3 bar hiring tips for owners who want to create a thriving work culture that will keep those star bartenders and bar managers at at their bar.

Recording of Building the Best Bar Team Webinar from BevSpot

Tip 1: Craft a winning bar work culture


Why is culture such an important part of hiring and running a successful bar team? Your work culture ultimately defines expectations around how the bar team is meant to function before, during, and after a shift. Trevor has seen first hand how easy it is to lose control of culture. “In 15 years in the industry, I worked in many different establishments, and I can probably count on one hand the number of truly functional teams I got to be a part of. That’s just sad!”

Your bar managers and head bartenders are the ones who’ll help you cultivate and maintain culture. Trevor explains the six basic traits effective bar managers need to have in order to create an effective team work culture. 

Tip 2: Become a master recruiter and interviewer


So, how can you actually find qualified candidates for your bar? You may work 60+ hour weeks running your bars and restaurants, but you gotta get out on the town! 

  • Visit the industry hangout after a shift
  • Research events happening near you
  • Tap into your Facebook (yes, Facebook) network
  • Get creative with your job listings

The applications are rolling in, and you’re ready to start interviewing. There’s an infinite number of questions you can ask a candidate, but here are a handful of key interview questions to ask potential bar team members:

  1. How do you cut off patrons?
  2. How would you make [sample drink]?
  3. What do you know about our menu or venue?

This is the point where you should channel your inner psychic. Trevor explains some key body language cues to watch for during the interview.

Tip 3: Build a training plan that creates accountability


Everyone learns in different ways, so build an adaptive training program that is geared toward results.

  • Create formal checklists for key procedures ensure everyone is on the same page in your bar
  • Software solutions like POS systems, scheduling tools, and bar inventory and sales performance insights software help you manage of every component of your bar business

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