Common Rookie Bartender Mistakes & How to Prevent Them

16 November 2018
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rookie bartender
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear right from the start – bartending is hard. Even for an experienced bartender, the job can become overwhelming from time to time. For a rookie, even a relatively quiet weeknight can get out of hand without the right training and a good deal of confidence. Whether you are a new bartender yourself or you are training a staff of rookies, the tips offered below may help things run smoothly on those busy nights.

Scooping Ice with a Glass

Sure, scooping ice out of the bin with a glass will probably work out just fine on most occasions. The one time it goes wrong, however, will be enough to convince you that this method should never be employed. If the glass breaks when you go in for some ice, you’ll suddenly have a bin full of ice and small pieces of glass – meaning you can’t use that ice to serve customers. If this happens when the bar is busy, you’ll be in a world of trouble. By staying away from this bad habit and using the ice scoop instead, you won’t have to worry about bringing business to a halt.

Go Ahead and Measure

Some new bartenders will want to prove their abilities by skipping over a measuring jigger and just pouring the drinks freehand. Some bartenders have the ability to do so accurately, but it’s unlikely a new bartender will have that advanced skill. When you measure, you get things right for the customer and you will ensure that the right amount of product is being used – essential for the bottom line.

Keep it Clean

There is no difference between serving food and serving drinks. Anytime customers are being served something that will be consumed, sanitation needs to be a top priority. Even something as simple as holding glasses the right way in order to avoid contaminating the part of the glass which holds the drink, is important. On this point, proper training of new bartenders is essential, as they will need to develop good habits right from the start.

The Right Way to Pour, Shake, and Stir

Technique is critical in the bartending business. As a new bartender, it’s important to learn how to pour a pint of beer correctly, as well as knowing which drinks are stirred and which are shaken. If customers are going to return to your bar time after time, it will largely be because they know the drinks will be right and the staff will be friendly. You can’t expect people to spend their hard-earned money on sub-par drinks.

There is a lot to like about the bartending business, but it certainly comes with its share of challenges – especially for those who are just getting started. To learn how to be a quality bartender, asking questions is perhaps the most important skill of all. By asking plenty of questions and learning from those with more experience, the stumbling blocks that pop up early in the process will soon be a thing of the past.

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