As a bartender, your barback can help you stay organized, increase your tips and maintain a busy bar. Your relationship is mutually beneficial because both of you depend on each other to make money and deliver good service — that’s why it’s crucial to develop a healthy, positive work relationship.
Here are five suggestions for how you can get your barback to love you and become the ultimate dream team.
Bonding with your barback is one of the easiest and most important things to do as a bartender.
Since you’ll be spending eight or more hours each shift working closely together, start each shift with a smile and a few rapport-building questions such as:
“How are your classes going this semester?”
“What did you get up to this weekend?”
“How’s your family doing?”
Questions like these promote open dialogue between you two, and will allow you to learn about each other. Doing this will make each shift more enjoyable and seem much faster! Plus, once you two establish a work friendship, you’ll feel comfortable making requests of each other and working as a united team.
Always Lend A Hand
When you’re not busy with customers and see your barback hard at work stocking glasses, liquor or cleaning, lend a hand. Your barback doesn’t work for you, your barback works with you. So make sure you’re never standing around or playing on your phone when your barback is working because this can build resentment and tension.
As a bartender, there are always tasks awaiting to be done because maintaining a clean and organized bar takes continuous work.
Over-tip On Slammed Nights
When the bar is packed and busy, everyone has to work extra hard to ensure customers are being served in a timely and professional manner, and your barback is no exception. In fact, during slammed shifts, your barback is probably working harder than anyone. The bar has to constantly be cleaned, the dishes washed and re-stocked, ice has to be refilled, and bar inventory runs out and has to be restocked as well. In addition to this, a lot of barbacks will help the bartenders take drink orders and serve customers.
Rather than tipping at the normal percentage during extra busy shifts, overtip your barback. This will immediately show appreciation, and raise morale.
In the future, it’ll also mean your barback will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you have all of the tools necessary to maximize tips by serving everyone as quickly and efficiently as possible so this is a win-win for both of you.
Offer To Teach Your Barback How To Bartend
A lot of people interested in bartending, managing and owning a restaurant often start off in any position they can. If your barback shows interest in bartending, offer to teach him/her during slow shifts. Depending on your barback’s level of knowledge and experience, this might mean just teaching him/her how to make your venue’s specialty cocktails, or maybe you spend a little bit of time everyday going over different spirits, history, classic cocktails etc.
If your barback knows how to bartend too, then this offers an opportunity for him/her to transition into bartending and make more money. Also, during busy shifts, or if you need to take a break and are the only bartender on duty, then you’ll have someone who can cover you who also knows the menu and how to service customers.
Assist With The End Of Night Breakdown
Cleaning up and breaking down at the end of the night is rarely fun, but it is important. Chances are, you already have a closing checklist of responsibilities and your barback has one too. But, if you don’t or if you finish your work first, help your barback finish completing his/her checklist.
Your barback might have certain procedures and steps in place for closing, so ask how you can help. Offer to organize the inventory, wipe down the bottles or re-stock the glasses. This way one person won’t be stuck with the majority of the closing tasks.
Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to establish a work friendship with your barback because it benefits both of you. By utilizing the five suggestions listed above, the two of you will easily be able to handle any shift and customer while staying organized and increasing your tips!