From tiki bars to sports bars, bar managers face unique challenges to run a successful establishment and keep guests happy. In this role you’re tasked with everything from managing staff, developing relationships with distributors, maintaining proper inventory, and keeping customers. It can feel like an overwhelming endeavor, so we’ve compiled 6 tips on how to be the best bar manager you can be.
1. Lead by Example
The best bar managers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. How can you train your staff if you can’t do the job well yourself? You need to know how to make all the drinks on your menu, work efficiently during busy times, and deal with difficult customers.
A true leader is willing to do the hard work with their employees instead of just observing and delegating. Your staff will respect you more when they know you have been in the trenches with them. When waves of thirsty guests are inundating your bar, hop in and serve drinks with your staff. Teamwork is critical to run a successful bar.
2. Know your Regulars
It’s important that not only are you being a good manager to your staff, but also to your customers. Regulars are the bread and butter of your business—it is much more cost effective to retain current customers instead of seeking new ones! Bar managers should get to know their regulars by name and by order. That kind of customer service is going to make a huge difference in your guest experience. Feeling like a VIP is going to keep them coming back time and time again.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Tough Calls
Running a bar can be a fun and exciting job. It’s easy to get caught up in the good times and want to be both your employees’ friend and your customers’, but sometimes you must be the enforcer. Ultimately, these calls will be better for your business, even if in the moment it feels like you are letting your staff or customers down.
If you notice an employee is giving away too many free drinks, it may be time to let them go—even if they are the customer favorite. Likewise, if a customer is overly intoxicated, you can’t be afraid to cut them off—and even throw them out if they are disturbing other guests. Not only is it a bar manager’s legal obligation not to overserve, but your other customers will respect that you aren’t letting one person bring down the vibe of the entire bar.
4. Prioritize Ongoing Training
Even if they’ve worked there for years, all staff members could use a refresher every so often to keep their skills sharp. Host regular ongoing training sessions on the finer points of service. This will make them more knowledgeable and effective. Plus, frequent meetings between the staff and bar managers ensures that everyone is on the same page and working cohesively towards the same goal.
5. Be Approachable
You want your staff to feel like they can come to you if they have any issues or if they have ideas on how to improve service. Oftentimes the best ideas come from staff members—whether it’s a new drink, an easier more efficient way to do something, or an event idea. The best bar managers offer an open-door policy, so you can head off problems and be open to new ideas.
6. Plan Ahead
Effective bar management also means knowing what the competition is doing. What are the latest trends in the industry? What’s working and what isn’t? Things may be working smoothly now, but you always need to be thinking and planning for the future of your bar. Always be looking for ways to innovate and update to become more efficient and profitable.
It may seem like an insurmountable task to keep your bar running smoothly, but by keeping these 6 tips in mind, you can create an effective bar management strategy. For more information about how the right point of sale software can contribute to effective bar management, contact Focus today.