Inside the Mind of Your Favorite Bartender

Controlling the crowd

As a bartender, one of the most important duties you must learn how to do is control your crowd. Sometimes, your bar could be serene and stress free; however, when that changes and you feel like you have more than you can handle, you must be able to control your crowd efficiently, especially if you are by yourself.

The following tips are guidelines to controlling your crowd in a restaurant bar setting. I’ll discuss clubs and other bar settings another time.

The first rule to controlling your crowd is eye contact when greeting or communicating with your guests. Kindly let the guest know you will be with them shortly. Never get too busy where you can’t acknowledge a guest’s needs even if you cannot meet them right away. Unless your guest is a complete asshole, they will understand.

If its a new guest, get a menu and possibly a glass of water in front of them as soon as possible. A menu and a glass of water will almost always buy you some time. It will also give the guest time to make up their mind as to what they want, saving you some time later explaining things to indecisive guests. And when you do come across a guest that is still indecisive even after they had some time to look over the menu, make a few suggestions, give them a few seconds to bite and if they’re still indecisive, kindly excuse yourself and go complete another task, then come back.

Be sure to keep a mental timeline as to what order each guest came to the bar. For guests that may have sat in a blind spot of your bar, assume they have been sitting there longer than they really have and attempt to serve them as soon as possible.

If its a guest that has already been at the bar, when they request something, especially something that’s in arm’s reach, get it immediately if you can. If they ask for something you cannot get to immediately, smile, look them in the eyes and let them know you’ll get whatever it is they need shortly.

The second rule is ask for help. Get a manager, a server, cocktail server, barback, etc., to help you with your duties. This way, your time is freed up to help more guests in a shorter period of time.

Managers will typically jump in to help even without you having to ask. If you have a barback, give them specific tasks to complete, for example, they can drop menus, give guests water, take orders or, depending on the restaurant rules of operation, pour wines and beers.

Learn how to cut deals with servers. Logically, if your bar is getting slammed, the service well is more than likely getting backed up. In that case, servers will usually be hanging around the service well waiting for their drinks. Put the servers to good use and let them know you will start on their drink ticket next if they go to the kitchen and check on your food, for example. There is always something for someone to do in a busy setting, therefore servers should never be just standing in the well waiting for drinks, figure out what it is they should be doing and cut a deal with them to get it done.

The third rule is follow up. After your guests are served, ensure they have everything they need. It may not be immediately, but at some point in the process, the sooner the better, check on them. Let them know you are concerned about their needs. When you do, especially when busy, your guests will appreciate you more. The more your guests appreciate you, the more they will tip you.

And if a situation arises where you forgot something a guest requested, don’t make excuses, own up to it immediately and correct the issue. Making excuses will only make the problem worse. Remember, you’re a bartender. Remain calm under pressure. Never let them see you sweat.

Comments are closed.