3 Essential Tips for Becoming a Better Bar Manager

By Rachael Perry


Rachael Perry

December 28, 2015

Posted in Restaurant Management, Industry & Culture

Becoming a Better Bar Manager

There’s that crazy period, the rush. Your brain is functioning at the speed of light and your hands are moving even faster. You’re trying to chat with the couple at the end of the bar while shaking several different drinks for a table of six. One of your staff members just walked out on their shift.

You’ve got three more hours until last call, and then the tedious clean up and inventory checks begin. Will you ever make it to bed? How will you get through this again tomorrow?

Whether you manage a high-end whiskey bar or a busy local pub, there’s more to successful bar management than pouring beer and balancing the cash register. We all know this, but often it’s difficult to implement new practices, even when we realize we need them.

These three simple tips should get you on your way to becoming a better bar manager.

1. Take Care of Your People

You’re managing a team, and your team is everything. They’re the product, the face of your business, and the links to ensuring your business runs smoothly. Here are some of the big ones:

  • Taking the time to train new staff members is crucial, but explaining the importance of everything they do is even more so. Most staff don’t understand the reasons behind what they do, but their work is a central part of your profit and loss statement. So, by explaining this to them, they’ll feel more invested in the success of the business.
  • Provide feedback in a constructive way, whether it be positive or negative. The ability to do this will build a solid foundation of skillful staff who feel comfortable in what they can do.
  • Develop an effective rostering system. Determine how much help you need, who should be in what role, and avoid understaffing — this is when disasters happen. Using software like Find My Shift can help manage staff, balance spending and ensure schedule organization.
  • Be available. Get to know your team and allow them time to speak with you if they need it. More importantly, let them know they’re welcome to.
  • Outline regular goals and ask for your team’s input. You’ll be surprised at how helpful suggestions from the floor can be.
  • Provide valuable incentives and rewards for good performance.

Basically, if you create a system that allows the staff do their job well, it’ll make yours a hell of a lot easier.

2. Keep Up With the Industry

We know you’re busy, but taking the time to observe industry trends is crucial. Reading blogs and websites, participating in forums, and even taking educational courses will help. Both the internet and the beverage industry community hold useful information that can improve some of the practices in your own bar. Reach out and you’ll learn a lot.

Staying on top of the latest marketing trends is also part of keeping up with industry practices. Creating an inventive cocktail menu and an inviting space is important, but knowing how to market them is, too. Maintain a presence on social media — it’s an easy way to create a buzz around your bar.

A successful bar manager should also keep up with tech. The bar management industry has made a lot of progress, but there are still a ton of products out there that will make your job a lot easier. New tech may seem pricey, but an overhaul of old software makes it worth it. Ancient cash registers, outdated sales systems, and a paper printout of the weekly roster are only going to slow down the rest of your business.

3. Control Your Inventory and How It’s Used

Efficient inventory management is one of the most difficult aspects of running a bar and is crucial for its success. We know because we’ve been there. We started Bevspot because we were fascinated by how many people still spend hours in the storeroom counting bottles on a piece of paper. Guys — it doesn’t have to be that hard!

There are several factors that determine your inventory usage. These include monitoring over-pour, calculating product margins and understanding product worth. For an easy formula to determine your own inventory usage, see our free Guide to Bar Management. Understanding your sitting inventory and regulating stock levels are also important aspects of inventory management.

We realize, however, that finding an easy way to do all of this in your own storeroom can seem impossible — too many bottles and not enough time. It may seem too complicated but gaining control of your inventory process will save you hours and cut your pour costs. It can be done. We created Bevspot to make it simple. Interested in seeing how it works? Get a live demo with one of our product specialists!

For more tips and tricks on successful bar management, head here.

Do you have any advice of your own? Let us know in the comments!

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