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Once you've gone through the effort (and the fun) of learning in the ins and outs of bartending and obtained your MAST Certification, you're ready to show the world (or at least your neighborhood) what you can do. While knowing how to make drinks will get you pretty far, there's a lot more to bartending than just mixing and pouring. Here are the top 3 qualities of a great bartender:
One of the most important things you can do is be precise and consistent in how you make your drinks. Having a careful pour will help your bar manager keep track of liquor inventory better, make ordering new liquor and planning ahead easier, and you'll also have better drink quality. Drink recipes, especially for more complicated drinks, can be ruined by a sloppy pour - it's the difference between returning customers and a customer who'll say, "That Mojito just didn't taste right, let's go somewhere else instead."
For things like shots, it seems like a generous hand will get you better tips, and it might, but you'll also be skewing how your manager keeps track of liquor going out and profit coming in. You're essentially taking money from his or her pocket and putting it in yours, which is no way for a valued employee to act. The best way to deliver a consistent, cost-appropriate drink is to be mindful and precise.
Here's where you can really start making your tips-- a good bartender is a good conversationalist and a good listener. You don't have to play therapist with your customers, but if you treat everyone who walks into your bar with respect and a sympathetic ear, you'll start to get a reputation as a worthwhile bar. One of the top reasons people stop going to a bar is because they feel ignored or dismissed by the bartender. If it's busy, you can be quick with it, but make sure to treat each customer like a real human being who you're glad to see. The results will fill your wallet faster.
Remember, efficiency doesn't mean being rude to the customers – it means remembering orders, processing drinks in the most efficient way, and keeping your workspace tidy so you can continue serving a high volume of customers at the end of the night at the same pace you do at the beginning. When you're first starting out it can be easy to get overwhelmed – stay calm! Anxiety and panic can lead to forgetfulness, and a customer is always going to be much happier with "I'll have your whisky sour in just a couple more minutes" than if you say to him "Are you sure it was you who had the whisky sour?"
Keeping track of all the simultaneous demands of a bar is the hardest part of bartending - not the actual mixing. These skills improve with time, though. Watch your fellow bartenders, see how they process orders and ask them for help when you need it. While you can get your drink making skills from anywhere with a good bartending class, these skills are ones you can only truly master while on the job.
Once you're exhibiting these three qualities, you'll be able to make a living bartending anywhere. But if you're looking to up your game and make even more tips, why not attend a flair bartending course at a Better Business Bureau A+ ranked bartending academy? They'll show you how to dazzle the customers not just with your personality but with stylish mixing techniques that'll have them telling their friends and coming back again and again. Call the Bartending School of Bothell today at (425) 354-7243 to learn the extra skills you need to excel at your new bartending career.