In this lesson we’re simply going to distinguish between what YOU can control (and are responsible for), and what the “House” or other employees will control. A very short lesson here.

Let’s talk about some common customer service scenarios here that every bartender will come across during their career. I go into some pretty good detail in Section 12, Bartender vs. Customer, so let’s discuss here what the difference in duties is between bartenders and management.

What I’m trying to point out here is that sometimes bartenders get involved with customer service issues that they should stay away from. I’m not telling you to throw the manager under the bus, but be aware that there are certain things that the manager should be handling.

Customer Service Issues That the Manger Controls

As I have mentioned many times before, all bar employees work hand-in-hand with management to create a great customer experience. That being said, below is a list of what the manager has control over. All of these items will affect customer service in one way or another.

  • Ambiance – the character and atmosphere of the bar
  • Pricing – all food and beverage items
  • Hiring/Training – you, the bartender, and your fellow employees
  • Staffing – hiring enough employees to handle the amount of business
  • Problem solving – the big issues
  • Unruly customers

Customer Service Issues That the Bartender Controls

Again, Section 12 – Bartender vs. Customer will go into great detail on the common (and not so common), scenarios that all bartenders will run across during their career. Here are some general bartender responsibilities:

  • Professional, efficient service
  • Monitoring customers’ alcohol intake
  • Making drinks according to house specifications
  • Unruly customers. There is a time to pass it off to management!
  • Following house policies

Unruly Customers

I’m going to go into more detail on this subject in a later lesson. And, yes, handling unruly customers is a customer service issue. For now, you really need to know what the house policies are concerning customers that get out of hand. Times have changed – bartenders no longer jump over the bar with a baseball bat in hand to take care of business.

Below are a few things to keep in mind. I go into much more detail in later sections of the course.

  • Never put your hands on a customer (or anyone, for that matter)
  • Keep all customers’ needs in mind when making decisions
  • No, when it comes to alcohol – the customer is not always right!
  • Protect yourself first
  • Avoid any type of physical altercation if possible
  • Protect fellow employees
  • Protect your customers
  • Protect the house (cash register, equipment, furnishing, etc.)
  • Never be afraid to call the police – more on this later
  • Inform management immediately of any problems – that’s what they’re there for

I don’t want to make this lesson too long – it’s all about common sense. The issue that I’ve seen, in my experience, is that too many bartenders (and other employees), overstep their bounds and start making decisions that they have no business making.

Be very careful here. Changing the thermostat, checking in unauthorized products, making drinks “your” way instead of according to house policy – can all get you into trouble.

When first hired, you’ll most likely be given a list of your general duties. I know – sometimes there will be some ambiguity, but roll with it and be sure to ask management if you’re unsure of making any big decisions.

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

Next Lesson: The Customer is NOT Always Right!

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Back to the Course Start Page: Basic Bartending Course