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Behind the Bar: That Extra Minute

By November 1, 2015Top News

By David T. Kratt

Many wine glasses hanging above the barThe last drink of a wave of server drink orders was just sent out. Yeah! You’re caught up!

You have learned to work fast enough to get through those waves of drink orders. You have learned  the importance of continuously scanning the bar, prioritizing what needs to be done next and what could be put off and doing more than one thing at a time. But here’s a question: What’s the first thing you think of when you make it through that wave of drink orders?

It’s time to take a quick break? That would be nice; but now, in that minute or so in between the waves of drink orders, you need to quickly move from the “drink-making mode” into the “non-drink-making mode.”

Here are some areas to focus on when you get that extra minute:

Regular resetting of the bar: Put the service station back in shape. This is particularly important when you share a service station with another bartender. No one wants to work in someone else’s mess. Examples: Rinse out the blender cup. Put that top shelf liquor bottle back where it belongs. Get ice. Get glasses.

Give the bar a full scan: On your way to getting a bucket of ice, you’re scanning the bar in a way that will jog your memory into remembering things that you had prioritized earlier as something to do later. Remember you sold the last bottle of an import beer a little while ago. Get a six pack, but first get caught up on dirty glasses. While you’re washing glasses ask yourself: Have all tabs been started that need to be started? Are all tabs current with sales?

Saying some hellos and whatnots: Were you able to do this when you were waist deep in drink orders? Do you want to turn okay tips into good tips? Then scan the bar. Decide who you can make a quick connect with before taking a little break. As you place that customer’s credit card slip in front of him, you say, “Hey, we didn’t have time to catch up, did we?” And as you’re putting that six-pack of import beer in the cooler, you ask the couple eating dinner, “So what’s the occasion tonight?”

Learning from experience: Okay, all chores are caught up and you said a few hellos, goodbyes or whatever. Now you take a little break. It’s a long shift. And you’ve learned that you can’t always be in high gear. But you also learned what happens when you take your eyes off the bar…for a minute.

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