Last Updated On / Written By Daphne Blake

Top 6 Bar Management Tips

Lead your bar staff to success and your patrons to a good time

Bar management can be a blast, but don't let your guard down just yet. The job is complicated, add in the possibility of inebriated guests, and things can get tricky. Here are our top 6 tips for successful and safe bar management.

Organize ahead of time to save headaches

An awesome organization is your best tool in avoiding issues with staff, patrons, or the business itself. Organization includes inventory management (which we will cover in a moment), keeping files in order, managing schedules and checklists of daily duties, employee records, and training, and keeping tabs on every aspect of the business. It also entails creating and sticking to a plan of action for daily tasks as well as emergency situations. It's a huge job if you look at it as a whole, but when you break it down into smaller steps, you'll have the whole place organized in no time. Part of your organization efforts should be to streamline employee tasks, too, not just your own. Using checklist apps and employee records apps are one way to make this part of your organization efforts smooth and simple.

We have a short guide on digital records and checklist apps right here. Getting your employees involved in organization is a good way to make the job simpler and go much faster. Assign employees to specific tasks (cleaning, restocking, file sorting, etc.) and the job will be done quicker and more efficiently. In addition to the time-saving aspects of assigning organizational tasks to employees, it also helps them feel like a bigger and more important part of the team.

Track inventory the smart way

Bar management is a lot like any other food service industry, though it comes with its issues. Counting and tracking the specialized equipment and supplies for running a successful bar takes time and patience. Old style inventory used reams of paper, heavy logbooks, and messy printed materials. What happens if there's a leak or a fire? All your logs are gone in an instant. Solve that organizational nightmare by using digital inventory control. We go into more detail on a time and money-saving tool in this article.

Keep an eye out for thieves

Nobody wants to think their employees would steal from them, but it is a fact of life. Not every staff member will be honest. While you don't want to spend your days worrying if every single employee is a thief, it's a good idea to keep a close eye on activity behind the bar. Some indicators of theft include regular shortages, unusually high numbers of comp drinks, and a lot of "no sale" records on the registers. That said, it's important to note that each of those three issues will crop up from time to time and it doesn't automatically mean someone is stealing from you. It's just wise to keep an eye on things and log any inconsistencies. If you suspect theft from one or more employees, handle the situation carefully. In many cases, it's not just a single employee doing it, and if you make a big deal of catching one, his or her partners will likely back off, and you may never know who else was involved. A good course of action if you suspect theft is to keep detailed records of each incident, who was working that shift, and any changes in employee behavior. Records will be your best tool against thieves, so be diligent and keep them in a safe location. Keeping notes in private employee records is a good way to keep track without risking an information leak.

Learn to recognize the right time to cut someone off

In the service industry, such as hotels, restaurants, and bars, customer service is number one. The adage "The customer is always right" usually applies, but not in the realm of bar management. While not every patron will turn into a raging, crazy drunk, you should be aware of how much each person is drinking and how their behavior is changing over time. Cutting someone off too soon can give your bar a bad reputation. Letting someone go too long and too far down the rabbit hole will also tarnish your reputation. Both scenarios lead to fewer customers and bad reviews—two things you need to avoid. Know the signs of inebriation and have a plan in place to deal with patrons who have had too much.

Harness the power of technology

There's a lot to keep track of when managing a bar, but it doesn't have to be stressful, daunting, or time-consuming. Thanks to modern technology, there is a wide range of devices and apps that can take the guesswork out of your job and bring you both time and money-saving options. If you've been managing a bar for a long time, you may be worried about learning a new skill. Don't be. Any good app will be easy to learn, fast to setup, and maybe even fun to use. We've explored some of the worries people have with adding technology to their business in this article.

Be sure your bar is in compliance will all local rules and regulations

From tax paperwork to employee records, to inventory logs, all the way down to staff checklists of cleaning duties, you'll need to keep immaculate records. Instead of spending all of your time digging through paperwork and logbooks and old dusty boxes, this is another area where technology can be a lifesaver. Use productivity software to keep track of staff duties and employee records, inventory apps to track inventory, and an extensive list of other apps to help with nearly every aspect of your bar management position. We've gone into greater detail in this article regarding business compliance and how certain apps can be of great use.

Look for ways to ease your burden

The bottom line for bar management is to stay organized, keep focused, and to find new ways to minimize downtime and headaches. Train your employees well, treat your customers with respect, and stick to your plans, and you should find plenty of time to enjoy managing your bar.