No matter the time of year it seems that our city is flush with nightlife, locals, and visitors alike. This means big business for bars, restaurants, and service staff alike. Whether it’s a Knights game, restaurant week, or just another Thirty Thursday— bar staff city-wide is banking on a nice night for their pockets. However, when it comes to serving your customers, there is a bit of training involved for serving smart. We want our customers to have fun, mingle with friends, spend money, and also avoid any incident. So, as a bartender, what can you do to ensure just that?
Serving Smart: Keeping Customers in Check
A quick conversation will tell you a lot
Anyone who has worked behind the bar, or even if you haven’t, can typically point out someone who has had one (or five) too many. Maybe they’re slurring their words, swaying from side to side, or even just acting a bit too erratic. No matter their tell, you can usually point out when it’s time to shut down drink service. Serving smart means serving observantly, and most bartenders perfect this within a few weeks of beginning their new profession. So, have a chat with your customers. Ask how their day is going, what brought them out this evening, or even something as simple as ‘hey, I like that shirt’. Gauge reactions, make connections, and maybe even make a few extra dollars along the way.
Don’t be afraid to cut them off
It can be a difficult conversation to tell someone they’ve hit their limit. In fact, you can often face blowback and aggression from your patrons— especially when they’re heavily intoxicated. But, serving smart is the goal and this is unfortunately a big part of it. Write your own script for moments like these and do what makes you comfortable. Blame your manager, push the responsibility onto a bartender who’s a bit more brave… Do what you have to do in these scenarios. Ultimately, you’re the first line of defense when it comes to someone drinking too much. And, at the very least, you can rest assured that you did your part.
Don’t take your responsibility lightly
You’re here to facilitate a good time in the most responsible way possible. By serving smart, you are ensuring that your establishment is protected in a number of ways. You don’t want your patrons to get a DUI, and you also don’t want someone to lose their life after drinking and driving on their way out of your establishment. Maintaining your bar means doing a lot of different things. So, serve smart, be observant, and ask the tough questions when need be. You never know when you might just be the difference between someone getting home safely or not.