Drink Magazine

10 Reasons Bartenders Hate Managers

By Therealbarman @TheRealBarman

poor manager pic

It is not secret that in order for a business to run smoothly the staff needs to work as a cohesive group, despite rank or status. Or maybe it is a secret, because it seems that I find more bars than not where managers and staff are bitching and whining about each other to the rest of the staff like the cast of every reality tv show ever made does on confessional videos. Very little communication or action is being taken face-to-face to make things better.

Without a great leader taking control and consistently enforcing a code of standards, bars are certain to suffer. It’s a fact that the #1 reason that bars fail (outside of enough financial backing in the beginning) is poor bar management.

You can’t have a soldier leading soldiers. You need a general, or at least a captain, which can be difficult because remember, there are no bar manager schools. Bar managers are often bartenders who stepped into the role of management, and just because they are able to perform true wizardry in the area of craft cocktails does not mean they know how to lead others or maintain the accounts.

With that said, if you want to be a leader to your staff and have them follow you, make sure you don’t do these things or it will be chaos, like releasing those monkeys out of their cages in Planet of the Apes, but different…sort of.

10 WAYS TO ALIENATE YOUR BARTENDERS

1. Don’t practice what you preach. A great way to stop bartenders to stop from following your lead is to not follow any of your own rules. People follow actions, not words.

2. Never be around when they need you. This is not only one of the most frustrating things for bartenders, but for bar owners. To manage a bar means to take care of your guests and take care of your staff, and you can’t do that while sitting in the office playing Hay Day.

3Feel that you are above the “dirty work”. You want mad respect from your staff. Do these things: clear tables, unload the dishwasher, empty bus tubs, greet and seat guests. If they see you rolling your sleeves up, they have no excuse not to do the same.

4. Play favorites. This causes all sorts of problems, especially if favorites are determined by the amount of flirting (or boot-knocking) going on between a manager and a staff member. Treat everyone the same and you’ll be happy you did.

5. Don’t back up the staff. Brace yourself because I’m going to tell you something that goes against everything that has been ingrained in you since you entered the hospitality industry: The customer is NOT always right. Now, don’t send me a bunch of emails claiming that I said it’s ok to argue with guests. It’s not, but on this planet there are a minority of people who need to be told that they can’t do whatever they want just because they are the customer. This especially includes cutting off an over-intoxicated guest. If your bartender cuts off a guest and you override him/her and serve that guest, you can go ahead and expect immediate dissension in the ranks.

6. Don’t keep the bar stocked. Running out of something occasionally happens in each and every bar in America. If you aren’t running out of products once in awhile, you are probably ordering too much which means you are carrying too much inventory, but when the staff cannot give the guests what they want because you are lazy when it comes to ordering, you will get dirty looks that could burn through steel.

7. Get wasted on the job. Drinking should never be done on the job. That’s my advice. With that said, I would bet that more than 50% of the bars in America participate in staff drinking during their shift. As a manager, you had better be responsible or your staff will view you as a child, or at best a frat nob.

8. Act unprofessional. This could be a subheading of the previous one. Any time you are not acting like a manager, you are hurting the business and losing the respect of your staff. It’s time to grow up.

9. Say one thing and do another. You cannot tell your staff to not eat on the clock or text on your cell phone while your mouth is full and your eyes are down on your phone texting love notes to your girl/guy.

10. Take the bartender’s tips to make up for a short drawer. I get it, the bartender screwed up and either lost money, stole money or performed math horrifically, but this is flat-out illegal in most states. If the bartender’s drawer is way off, the best procedure is to give them a written notice that they sign. In most states, after three notices you are allowed to let them go. But if it is an honest mistake from the bartender and you start taking his/her tips, they will start to question if you are pulling a scam so you can skim a little cream for yourself.

To sum it all up: It’s ok to be the manager. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend and be liked all the time. Run the business and once you’re off work you can go be a jackass all you want.

Cheers, until next time.

The RB


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