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Ten Do's and Don'ts Behind the Bar

Following these do’s and don’ts can help bartenders create a positive and enjoyable experience for their customers while upholding safety and professionalism.

DON’T: Settling for mediocrity is unprofessional. Bartenders shouldn’t serve drinks that have been improperly prepared or inferior in any respect. Amateurism is not a tipped quality.

DON’T: It is highly unprofessional to gossip, argue, gamble, or loan out money to the clientele. By any means possible, bartenders should also avoid becoming embroiled in inflammatory conversations. Taking sides in a heated debate exacts a heavy toll on gratuities.

DON’T: Bartenders should avoid listening in on customers’ conversations and only comment on something that was said if addressed directly.

DON’T: When customers place an order and include a drink for a person who is not yet present, the bartender should wait to prepare the cocktail until the person arrives. The missing person could be a minor or already intoxicated.

DO: Bartenders should treat all guests fairly and equitably. It is a mistake to provide select customers with obviously preferential service.

DO: Bartenders should strive to keep the bar as clean as possible. One adage states that “a bartender’s profession can be measured by the cleanliness of her bar.”

DO: “Upselling” is considered a basic reflex. Bartenders should automatically inquire of a customer who orders generic call if there is a particular name-brand product that he would prefer the drink made with. Upgrade the sale and upgrade the gratuity.

DO: Bartenders should maintain eye contact whenever speaking directly to customers. Not only is this a tried-and-true means of establishing a positive impression, but it also is a reliable means of assessing customers’ alcohol-induced impairment.

DO: Bartenders should only handle glassware by the bottom half, carefully avoiding the area of the glass that will be in contact with the customer’s mouth or the drink itself. Touching the top half, the rim, or the inside of the glass is unsanitary and unprofessional.