This is no secret: Already having a job in a restaurant or bar is the quickest way for inexperienced bartenders to get their first bartending job.

Go out and get a food server job! Or, maybe even a job as a cook, parking cars, room service, or a busboy. The whole idea here is to get your foot in the door.

Side Note: In my opinion, the second best way to get your first bartending job is to apply at hotels and become a banquet bartender. I discuss Banquet Bartending in Section 14 – the previous section.

I highly recommend this strategy – especially if you need a job immediately. Getting your first job in a restaurant or bar is much easier if you’re applying for any position but a bartender.

The Advantages:

  • Any work in in the Food & Beverage Industry counts as experience
  • Management is able to observe your work ethic
  • You can get a job quickly and make some money
  • You can start gaining experience even if you are under the age of 21
  • You’ll get a very good idea of how a restaurant/bar operates
  • You’ll gain valuable experience using a “POS” System
  • You’ll be dealing with problem customers
  • You learn all about “Suggestive Selling”
  • There are tons of things that will apply to customer service and, more importantly, the “Customer Experience”
  • Bar managers look favorably on applicants who have “been in the business.”

Remember to use all of the same tips and techniques that I provide throughout the course on getting a bartending job. You know – things like staying organized, applying online, tweaking your cover letter and resume – all of it.

And, be sure to adjust your resume! “Fine Tune” it to the position you’re applying for.

Examples of Places to Get a Restaurant Job First

The list below is not all-inclusive. Most large metropolitan areas have all of these restaurants and bars. Keep an open mind, and check out the yellow pages/online listings in your area. Apply at all of these places!

And, do not forget that many hotels have separate bars. And valet service. And room service. Apply at all of them!

I have also included the below list in Section 20 – Resources, as an Excel Spreadsheet. Use it as a checklist for applying online at many of these places.

Red Lobster
Olive Garden (Darden Restaurants)
Texas Roadhouse
Outback Steakhouse
The Cheesecake Factory
Longhorn Steakhouse
BJ’s Restaurants
TGI Friday’s
P. F. Chang’s
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Morton’s The Steakhouse
Miller’s Ale House
Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom
Black Angus Steakhouse
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
Buffalo Wild Wings
Twin Peaks
Miller’s Ale House
Dave & Buster’s
Hurricane Grill & Wings
Duff’s Sports Grill
Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar
Bar Louie
Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom
Buffalo Wings & Rings

If you’re following along in the Basic Bartending Course:

Next Lesson: Bars to Apply At

Previous Lesson: Basic Resume and Cover Letter

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