Bar managers are critical to the success of the bar. A great bar manager will oversee the daily operations, ensure customer satisfaction, manage staff, and be responsible for the financial health of the establishment. A great bar manager can boost profits, improve staff morale, and enhance the bar’s reputation. On the flip side, a poor manager can lead to dwindling sales, high staff turnover, and a tarnished reputation. This is why you should really take your time and understand the process for how to hire a bar manager if you want to get the right person.
Bar Manager Responsibilities
These are the basic essential duties that a great bar manager must handle:
- Overseeing daily bar operations
- Hiring, training, and managing staff
- Ensuring customer satisfaction and handling customer complaints
- Managing inventory and ordering supplies
- Enforcing compliance with alcohol regulations and other laws
- Financial responsibilities: budgeting, setting prices, accounting, etc.
- Promotional and marketing activities in response to the latest industry trends
- Maintaining health and safety standards
Qualities of an Excellent Bar Manager
In addition to performing all the required duties, a great bar manager can be a cut above other bar managers if they have the traits of the best bar managers:
- Leadership and management skills
- Strong communication abilities
- Customer service skills
- Financial acumen
- Problem-solving and decision-making abilities
- Knowledge of the bar industry and current trends
- Organizational skills
Steps to Hire a Bar Manager
To find the right person, you should first develop the standards for your hiring process.
Creating a Comprehensive Bar Manager Job Description
Clearly outline the responsibilities, required experience, skills, and expectations. Mention specific responsibilities like shift scheduling, inventory management, staff management, etc. Don’t forget to mention the rewards of the position (such as bonuses) in the bar manager job description.
Where to Find Good Bar Manager Candidates
You can search for good bar manager candidates using different job platforms like online job boards (e.g., Indeed, Glassdoor), hospitality industry-specific websites, local classifieds, referrals, and hospitality and/or bartending schools.
Interview Rejection Letter
It’s a good idea to have an interview rejection letter ready for applicants who do not meet your requirements.
Essential Certifications and Qualifications for a Bar Manager
Depending on your region, a bar manager might be required to have certifications in responsible alcohol service (like TIPS or ServSafe Alcohol in the U.S.). Other useful qualifications might include degrees or certifications in hospitality management.
Management training in other fields may be applicable to the skills needed by a bar manager. Also, a bartender who has taken mixology classes will have a in-depth knowledge of safe and legal operations of a bar.
Interviewing Potential Bar Manager
Here is a sample of great questions to ask someone interviewing for the bar manager position:
- Tell me about a time when you handled a difficult customer situation.
- How do you motivate a team during a slow business period?
- Describe a situation when you had to handle a conflict between bar staff members.
- How do you manage inventory and reduce waste?
Training Plan Template
Before making the job offer, prepare a training plan template to streamline the onboarding process for the new bar manager.
Reduce Hiring Bias
It is essential to reduce hiring bias during the selection process to ensure that you get the most competent person for the job.
Should I Hire a Family Member?
The question of should I hire a family member may arise. Carefully consider the potential conflicts and benefits before making a decision.
Presenting scenarios can be highly beneficial.
For example: “How would you handle a situation where a regular customer has had too much to drink?” or “A bartender calls in sick during a busy night, what do you do?”
Checking References and Past Experience
Of course, you’ll need to check references and review the application to note past bar manager experience. Or, you may be hiring a former bartender who has taken management courses or who has demonstrable management skills.
You can call references, although the respondent may be limited as to how much information to provide. Another barometer of a bar manager’s past experience is the length of time spent at each location. During the interview, if the length of time spent at each job is short or long, you can ask questions about that.
Job Offer, Salary and Onboarding
Generally, the average bar manager salary will correlate with the size and revenue of the bar. Larger establishments or those in prime locations may pay more due to the increased responsibilities and potential for higher profits.
Your job offer should be fair and clear, outlining the job responsibilities and requirements. Be sure to review the offer in detail with the candidate and work out any details that need clarification.
During onboarding, the bar owner may oversee and mentor the new bar manager as needed, especially at opening and closing times. Having a process for how to onboard new employees can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Unusual Ways to Promote a Job Opening
Sometimes, using unusual ways to promote a job opening can help you find the perfect candidate outside the standard recruitment channels.
Training and Development Opportunities for Bar Managers
It’s essential for a bar manager to stay updated with the latest trends in the beverage and hospitality industry. That’s one of the bar manager’s duties. Trends influence customer expectations, and staying current can give a competitive edge. Compliance issues, especially those related to licensing and serving alcohol, are crucial. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines or closure.
|Duration & Frequency
|To enhance skills in drink preparation and mixing
|In-person workshops or online courses
|One-week to one-month workshops; semi-annually
|Customer Service Training
|To improve customer interaction and satisfaction
|Role-playing exercises, webinars
|Bi-monthly sessions; 1-2 hours each
|To optimize stock levels and reduce waste
|Software training, seminars
|Quarterly; 2-3 days
|To understand budgeting, pricing, and P&L
|Classroom training, online courses
|Monthly; 2-4 hours
|To effectively handle disputes among staff or with customers
|Interactive seminars, case studies
|Annually; 1 day
|To enhance managerial capabilities
|Team-building exercises, mentorship programs
|Licensing & Compliance
|To keep up-to-date with laws and regulations
|Online modules, legal seminars
|Annually; 1-2 days
|Marketing & Social Media
|To increase bar visibility and promotions
|Online courses, workshops
|Bi-annually; 3-5 days
|Health & Safety Standards
|To ensure hygiene and safety protocols are met
|In-house training, certification programs
|Annually; 1-2 days
|Wine & Spirit Education
|To enhance knowledge of various beverages
|Tastings, workshops, certified courses
Bar Profit Margin
One critical metric to pay attention to is the bar profit margin. Compliance issues, especially those related to licensing and serving alcohol, are crucial. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines or closure.
Tools and Software for Bar Managers
The right tools and software can make bar management much easier for staff and bar managers.
- Point of Sale (POS) systems: Helps with sales tracking, inventory management, and financial reporting.
- Scheduling software: Tools like Deputy or 7shifts for staff scheduling.
- Inventory management software: Systems like Barkeep or Partender.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software: To manage customer databases and marketing campaigns.
FAQs: How to Hire a Bar Manager
What’s the difference between a bar manager and a bartender?
A bartender is a mixologist who serves drinks to the customers. They are skilled in customer service and have ongoing experience in how bars are managed.
A bar manager oversees all aspects of the bar, from inventory to operations and profitability. Many bar managers get their start in the business as bartenders.
How much experience should a bar manager have?
Typically, individuals should have several years of experience in the bar or hospitality industry, having served roles like a bartender or assistant manager. This ensures they understand the intricacies of the business and have demonstrated an ability to handle responsibilities.
What certifications should a bar manager possess?
A bar manager might be required to have certifications in responsible alcohol service (like TIPS or ServSafe Alcohol in the U.S.). Other useful qualifications might include degrees or certifications in hospitality management.
Management training in other fields may be appicable to the skills needed by a bar manager. Also, a bartender who has taken mixology classes will have a in-depth knowledge of safe and legal operations of a bar.
How does choosing the Right Bar Manager impact the Success of a Bar?
Having the right bar manager is crucial to the success of the bar. The bar manager will oversee the daily operations, ensure customer satisfaction, manage staff, and are responsible for the financial health of the establishment.
A bar with a great manager will have increased profits and a motivated staff. As a result, as a team they will enhance the reputation of the bar.
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