Whether it's for a trendy small cocktail bar, or a quite busy bar in a Hotel, in addition to serving tasty cocktails, ice cold beers and being social with the guests there are lots of things that lead to a successful bar management.
With the proper tools, quality resources, and right people behind you, you can expect to achieve more with less pain.
Having been for long behind the bar, I have gathered some tips that could help someone in this position to succeed without mistakes.
1. Get to learn your local Market
What's the market like where you work? For example, who are you competing against in the area? Why might someone go to the next corner Bar instead of yours? Are there things you can improve, or is the bar you manage just another place to go? If we speak about a Hotel Bar someone might tell that there is no competition. Wrong ! There is competition as well. There is a digital world that happy customers write reviews about the Hotel. Imagine how important is when the Hotel review rates, get higher because of happy Bar customers.
2. Do it because you like it
Being a bar manager isn't as easy as you firstly think. If you want to manage a bar because you love it, you are on the right path, so be passionate with it. With this attitude, your customers will remember their experience and would possibly come again because you left nice memories in them.
3. Don’t be afraid to “jump in”
If you're jumping in and help with bartending duties, you'll have a better understanding of the feelings of both your customers and your team. No insights or marketing research can replace the experience of working with your staff,from time to time and it will only enrich the respect of your staff and the satisfaction of your customers, seeing the manager involved.
4. Make cleaning, your team’s second nature
Don’t underestimate the bad impression of a sloppy and dirty establishment. 19% of consumers have reported lack of cleanliness and 92% consider cleanliness first when choosing a resort. In your bar, broken glasses, sticky surfaces, and dusty tables would give a bad picture to the customers. You work there ... but they enjoy, so they have more time than you, to look around and find all the small details that make the difference.
5. Don’t be afraid to be social
Some might say that business isn't personal. When bar managers form relationships with customers, they establish a connection with someone who could become a promoter for the bar and maybe the entire Hotel. Interact with limits, and learn your staff to do the same. Explain them that this job is something more than make a drink and bring the bill.
6. What about an extra touch of marketing
Learn about bar marketing. Bar blogs and websites are a highly effective source of information. You will see articles about new trends, new sale techniques, new gadgets, new tools, and of course new products. What you have to do is to use what you learn, trying to show that you are not still, but your head spins around to give cutting edge guest experience. Add to this a good use of social media and they can skyrocket your value.
7. Develop your leadership skills.
When you're in charge of a team, the right leadership can make the people work better and become more effective. If you are new to the job, these things can sound Chinese to you, but there are many young bar managers in charge of a team without a lot of experience. Ask other leaders in the Hotel how they operate, how they treat their staff and learn from the older. The Restaurant managers most of the times have passed from the Bar job and they could teach you many things about leadership.
8. Make senior management to love you
Most of the employers or general managers prefer hiring people with nice attitude. A French Manager back in the past told me once...
Vassilios … don’t chase the skills! Hire attitude and train them afterwards, to develop skills and speed. Skills are coming by time, attitude comes by birth.
So if you succeed to be a fair & good leader, having nice people around you, you will push these people, asking to learn from you, and get higher being around you, so they will bring good results. These good results will cause, better income for your bar, better tips for them, better results for your employer. With this combination everyone will be happy.
9. Economy is gold
When you are in charge of a Bar, practically you are responsible for the financial balance. Sometimes when it’s not possible to raise the sales, it is very possible to reduce the costs. Payroll is something you should think of, all the time. It can make a big difference within a month, for the operational cost of your bar. In addition to that, using your resources with care, can reduce damages to equipment, unnecessary waste of products etc. All of these can change totally the monthly balance even if you didn’t raise your sales at all.
Ideally if you want to be a Bar Manager you must be a pleasant personality, with communication skills, self-confident and innovative. You’ll also need to be energetic and have your mind on business to stay in business. Being in touch with bar trends will also help you understand what your customers want. Understanding your customers makes you able to satisfy them and if the customers are satisfied, consume more,tip you more and keep you in the job.
Vassilios Canellos is a Hospitality Professional Hospitality Professional with more than 20 years of experience in leading service staff, managing teams and ensuring food safety standards, procedures and processes are followed. During this time, he's coached and mentored emerging talents, shared knowledge with several teams and spoken at Hotel industry events.