Tips for Staff Hiring in Bars

June 9, 2022

Anyone who has run a bar before knows all too well that no amount of investment in equipment and top-notch liquors and beers will deliver everything you need. You will also have to get the right people to staff the place. You can look for a bar POS and find what you need in a day, but getting a trustworthy, skilled, and experienced bartender can take longer!

How can you be sure to hire the best people? Here are a few tips to help you out:

Tip #1: Incentivise Talented Individuals

There’s a perception that people who work in bars are all just young college students trying to make some spending money. While many people who work in bars may be transiting upward toward degrees and higher-paid careers, not everyone is like that. There are many people who make their careers working in bars, and have great ambitions in that field. 

If you encounter such driven, bar-focused talent and you want to hire them, then secure them with incentives like offering them management and supervisory positions, better pay, and the chance to learn about the business side of the bar as a part of their own growth. Some may leave you one day, but others will remain loyal to your brand and become your key allies should you want to expand.

Tip #2: Hold Auditions

Holding a simple interview for bar staff is not really a sufficient way to gauge good talent. By all means, start with a simple interview to learn the basics about the candidate, but the real test should be putting them behind the bar and seeing what they can do. Order a drink from them, have a chat with them and see how they carry themselves behind the bar.

Of course, you can make exceptions for those lacking experience (see tip #5 for more), but only through a proper audition can you start to see the real potential that people have for bar work.

Tip #3: Good Looks Are Always Helpful

We aren’t advocating for active discrimination here, but it’s a stone-cold fact that when you have bar staff (male and female) who are easy on the eyes, it’s good for business. People tend to tip more generously, and hang out for longer at places where the beautiful staff members are working. The main message here is that if you get the killer combination of great looks along with skill and experience, that’s someone worth bringing into your team.

Tip #4: Offer Training and Advancement

If you want to get hungry, hard-working staff who will reliably show up, do their jobs well and maintain a strong attitude, then you have to offer them greater value in the job other than just tips and wages. Of course, money is important to them, but if you also offer staff training and opportunities to move up the ladder if they stick around. This ties in well with our first tip as more junior staff who you are training will see how generous you are to the senior staff and will aspire to become more like them.

Staff who feel like there’s really a point of coming to work are more likely to do so. Teach them about how to make special cocktails, about how to properly clean and maintain the bar, how the POS works and its business functions, how to run promotions, how to improve customer service…the list goes on. All of this knowledge will be valuable for your team members if and when they move on.

Tip #5: Give Attitude a Chance 

Finally, if candidates come to your bar without any experience, but with a fantastically positive attitude and willingness to learn, then always consider giving them a chance. You can quickly teach new people how to pour pints of beer, make cocktails and serve food, but it’s much harder to create the right attitude. If they have that already, take a chance on them.

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