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The bar industry has multiple avenues for career progression, but it can be unclear how to demonstrate to your bar manager or bar owner that you want to take the next step. Luke Whearty, owner of renowned bars, Operation Dagger and Byrdi, takes us through his six ways to get promoted and what you need to do to get noticed in this helpful video.

How to Get Promoted in the Bar Industry

With a versatile trajectory, whether you are bar staff looking to make the leap into bartending or are a bartender ready to be promoted to a lead role, there are a few clear ways of highlighting to management that you want to progress:

  1. Get comfortable with drink creation
  2. Absorbing and creating training material
  3. Honing your communication skills
  4. Highlighting your organizational talents
  5. Demonstrating your leadership or your willingness to learn
  6. Taking advantage of opportunities

The bar industry is fast-paced and taking the initiative to improve yourself, be that bartending skills or personal growth, proves to your management team that you are ready to take more responsibility and progress within the business. Here are six ways you can help advance your career, whatever stage you are at:

Tip One: Showcasing Your Creativity with Drinks Development

Most people working in the bar industry have a passion for service and sharing their cocktail creations with their guests. One major way of demonstrating to your superiors that you want more responsibility behind the bar is by taking ownership of drink creation.

Once you understand the basics of drinks production, you should take every opportunity to learn new serves, enhance your bar’s current offering, and add your own twist to classic cocktails.

What to Do to Improve Drinks Development

Understanding how to create syrups and infuse ingredients is a great starting point to working on drinks development. As you advance, appreciating the complexities of flavor and texture in spirits will allow you to stand out from the crowd.

Developing this knowledge will show bar managers and owners that you are comfortable creating unique serves and curating bar menus. Creating training material to help others make your signature serves is a great way of showcasing to managers that you are happy to run training programs and can see you move into a role like lead bartender.

If you are bar staff wanting to make the jump to bartending, ask for more training and show initiative by learning the basics of cocktail making.

Tip Two: Absorb and Create Training Material

Are you constantly trying to learn more and bring an added layer of expertise to your cocktails and your service? Consuming training material and sharing your findings with your colleagues and manager is a great way to showcase your desire to learn, improve, and help others develop.

Superiors will notice you taking responsibility to help streamline operations in your bar and it could put you in a prime position for a promotion to lead bartender.

How to Get Started with Training Material

A starting point could be creating training material to document how you can make one of your custom serves for others to use too.

If you are trying to learn more to move into bartending, get involved with masterclasses, watch videos and read articles on bartending, and ask your managers what they would recommend for developing your skillset

Tip Three: Hone Your Communication Skills

Communication is an integral skill for bar management, as well as bartending. Being an open communicator with great interpersonal skills can help you stand out to bar managers and owners and allow them to feel comfortable with giving you more responsibility with operations.

Communication happens between customers, your team, and even suppliers, so finding ways of enhancing your interactions is important for career growth.

Ways to Improve Communication

Offer to take ownership over some communication pieces, perhaps with suppliers, to show your manager that you are willing to take part in critical business processes.

Tip Four: Highlight Your Organizational Talents

Whether you are bar staff or part of the bartending team, being organized is a vital part of daily operations in the hospitality industry. Being able to prioritize filters into the organization and allows your manager to give you more responsibility as you can cope under pressure.

How to Enhance Your Organizational Skills

Showcasing mis-en-place or demonstrating your efficient methods for opening/closing can highlight to your manager that you are organized and productive. Train in your spare time to use spreadsheets and other software programs that help with inventory or ordering. You can do this on platform websites or use websites with free resources, like YouTube, to train in these spaces.

Another great tool would be learning task management software that can help delegate tasks and keep on top of deadlines for ordering stock shows great initiative as well.

Tip Five: Demonstrate Your Leadership or Willingness to Learn

Whether you are behind the bar or working as service staff, there will be opportunities for leadership that arise during daily operations. Taking advantage of these to showcase your ability to communicate with your team and guests creates confidence in you.

Becoming a Leader in the Workplace

Ask your manager how you could demonstrate leadership skills or ask what materials they would recommend for developing this skill set.

If you are bar staff hoping to move into a bartending role, ask for more responsibility or ask for more ownership over a particular task. This willingness to learn emphasizes your desire to push to the next level of your career.

Tip Six: Take Advantage of Opportunities

Is there an opportunity in your bar to take more responsibility or do the leadership team need someone to step into a role that they need fulfilling? Being willing to help out can demonstrate to higher management that you are a team player who wants to grow with the business.

How to Take Advantage of Opportunities

Speak to management about your role and set out your goals within the business. Ask to be considered if there is a role that needs to be filled. If you notice something lacking in the business, come to your leadership team and offer solutions. If there are training programs being offered, attend them and develop your skill set.

Five Key Takeaways:

  1. Consume training materials to develop your skill-sets – this can be done through videos, articles, books, and even podcasts.
  2. Get creative with your cocktails and don’t be afraid to try new serves to showcase new learnings and enhance your bar menu.
  3. Organization is critical – use it behind the bar and learn software skills that help with organizing business operations.
  4. Don’t be afraid to communicate openly and honestly with your team and develop your interpersonal skills to help with suppliers and guests.
  5. Take advantage of opportunities and let your manager know that you want to progress in your role.