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How to Train New Bartenders - Expert Advice and Useful Tips

Anna Sebastian, a food and beverage consultant, shares her insights on the best ways to train your staff.

Training for me is such an important part of one’s professional growth: without training there is no consistency, focus, or development. For every role in the industry, having the proper training not only helps you understand the ethos of the venue but also the goal a venue wants to achieve operationally.


BASIC BAR SKILLS FOR BRILLIANT BARTENDING

Two members of bar staff training to make cocktails together

There are essential skills all new bartenders should know and master. Here is a quick guide for preparing your staff and setting them up for success:

1. Heighten Your Drinks Knowledge

While this might seem like an obvious one, it is important that bartenders have a great knowledge of drinks. Some key things that every bartender should understand are:

2. Get Ahead with Organisation and Setting Priorities

The hospitality industry is one that can be demanding - prioritising organisation and a good set up before guests arrive will reduce stress and help your team flourish.

Create consistency through mise-en-place or ‘set up of the bar’. This is important as it lays the foundations for every shift. When training new bartenders, having clear guidelines and “how to” manuals, and even cocktail recipe books, provides structure and ensures consistency. Consistency helps customers to trust your venue and revisit with the confidence they will have the same experience every time.

3. Becoming Communicative and Calm

Venues with the most successful training programmes and staff are those that prize an open communication style with all staff.

Introduce an ‘open-door’ policy for work-related matters where the team can approach you easily to communicate any issues they are facing.

Problems will arise – even for people who have been in the industry for years – so it is important to keep calm and collected when dealing with difficult moments. Listen to this podcast episode on mindfulness techniques by wellness expert Andrew Johnson who works with people in the hospitality sector:

4. DEVELOP CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS

A bartender learning how to use smoke to influence taste in a cocktail

An important trait for every new bartender is great customer service skills. Offering new staff the basics can help them shape their customer service style.


HOW TO STRUCTURE the TRAINING SESSIONS

bartenders behind the bar chatting as they serve drinks

Monthly training is important as it sets standards and allows staff to feel confident in their role and the tasks that they perform on a day-to-day basis.

Training sessions should be mapped out like this:

Senior Staff Training: I really believe in ‘Up training’ and ‘Up mentoring’ for senior members of staff. Having more junior staff give 360 feedback to senior staff, and showing different elements of their day-to-day, gives an opportunity for greater understanding of every element of the business as well as building relationships between team members - no matter what the role is.

Training New Staff

Having a staff handbook in place can help your bartenders understand their role, what their responsibilities are, and what your business goals are.

Your staff should understand each bar tool and it’s uses. Show them best practices for delivering drinks to tables – this will ensure drinks are consistent and delivered to a high standard.

There are plenty of online resources that your staff can utilise to help them grow


Five Key Takeaways

1. Be transparent when setting expectations with the team.

2. Create a timeline and dates with clear achievable goals for the team.

3. Create manuals for cocktail creation, service standards and in-depth information about where they are working to get a good understanding.

4. Regular trainings each day / week / month.

5. Ask for feedback from staff members all the time.



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