WILL BARTENDING SCHOOLS HELP GET YOU BEHIND THE BAR? DON’T COUNT ON IT!
As I take on this ever-increasing (and quite frankly, unexpected) role of helping people obtain a bartending job, I find that people can’t let go of the idea that going to bartending school is the answer to all of their prayers. Despite my warnings and admonishments and downright lobbying against bartending schools, I receive weekly and daily emails from people asking me, “Should I go to bartending school?”
So let’s lay it all out right here. I decided to put all my biases and preconceptions to the side and let the professionals answer this question. I hit the pavement and did some research to find out how helpful bartending schools really are.
The first thing I did was track down all the bar managers and owners that I know (and there’s a lot, over 40 of them), the same managers and owners I interviewed when I wrote my book to help people find a bartending job. The same bar managers and owners who told me exactly what they look for when hiring a bartender and what answers they want to hear in an interview. It was time-consuming, but I eventually contacted them all and presented them with a questionnaire, and I asked them to be honest so that it would be helpful to all of you reading this. Here are the questions I asked 47 bar managers and owners and the results of that survey:
1. How important is it to you that someone you’re hiring went to bartending school?
A) Very important
B) Somewhat important
C) I could go either way
D) Not important at all
E) I will not hire someone who went to bartending school
Results: A = 0; B = 1; C = 18; D = 23; E = 5
Summary: 46 of the 47 bar managers/owners could care less or do not think bartending schools help at all.
2. When someone mentions the term “bartending school”, what comes to mind?
A) I wish all of my bartenders would have attended bartending school
B) I have no real feeling either way
C) What a joke
D) I will crumple up any resume with the words “bartending school” on it
Results: A = 0; B = 21; C = 21; D = 5
Summary: Again, no one wishes they could hire bartending school graduates. Waste of time, and more importantly, money.
3. In all your years in the business, how many bartending schools have contacted you about helping their graduates land a job as a bartender?
D) More than 10
Results: A = 47; B = 0; C = 0; D = 0
Summary: WOW! What helpful schools!
4. As a bar manager/owner, would you recommend bartending school to students looking to get a bartending job?
Results: A = 0; B = 39; C = 8
Summary: That’s all you really need to know right there, from the professionals who hire you. 0% yes’s, 82% no’s, and 18% who are indifferent.
Here it is in a nutshell: Bartending schools are a WASTE of your time and money. They charge you $400-$1,000 to teach you bartending skills that can be learned from a book for $10. This isn’t molecular biology. Memorizing drink recipes, pouring liquid into a glass at the right proportions, pouring beer and wine, these are all simple tasks that bartending schools have depicted as impossibilities without their help. They are taking advantage of an industry that is highly coveted, and they are raking in the dough because of it.
Do you really want to succeed? Make a plan. Bartending schools WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET YOU A BARTENDING JOB!!! Creating goals and a plan and a system for finding a job is where the schools and most people looking for a job fail.
If you want help, I have created the system in my book: How to be a Bartender: Get a bartending job in 30 days or less with little or no experience. You can find it on Amazon. It’s only $9.99 and if you don’t like it, get your money back. I’m serious. I don’t want anyone dissatisfied or unhappy, and you can use the $10 towards a bartending school after that if you feel the need (but I bet you won’t).
The system works and it can be credited to these same 47 bar managers and owners that I know. I spoke with them at length, I interviewed them, and I have laid out exactly what it is they want to hear and what they want to see in a bartender, whether they have experience or not. I never expected the book to be as successful or receive the positive feedback it has, but that just tells me that all the information that was given to me from my colleagues was sincere and true and effective.
So to answer your question, so as not to leave any doubt in your minds: Should you go to bartending school? FUCK NO!!! Clear enough? Excellent.
If you have any further questions or need any advice along the way, send me an email and I’ll respond as quickly as I can: Dave@TheRealBarman.com. I do wish you all the best and if you ever come into my bar, let me know that you found me on my blog and I’ll buy you a drink.
Happy job hunting, and cheers until next time.