Bartender Skills (With Definition And 10 Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Bartenders work in the hospitality industry, mixing and serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to customers. They require a wide range of skills to perform their duties properly by understanding customer requirements and ensuring their satisfaction to maintain the business' reputation. If you are thinking of starting your career as a bartender, knowing the skills required to succeed in this role is important. In this article, we define bartending skills, review examples of these skills, discuss how to improve them and apply them in the workplace and explain ways to highlight them during the job application process.

What are bartender skills?

Bartender skills are abilities and traits that a bartender uses to prepare and serve beverages. A bartender uses a combination of hard and soft skills, including teamwork, memory, mixology and customer service skills, to mix drinks and provide a better customer experience. They usually work in a restaurant, bar or club as part of a team to fulfil orders and manage inventory.

10 examples of bartender skills

Here are ten important skills to help you succeed as a bartender:

1. Mixology and preparation

A professional bartender possesses extensive knowledge of mixing and concocting drinks accurately. They keep themselves updated on seasonal trends about beverages' popularity and sometimes develop their own recipes. Bartenders can practise free pouring to enhance their efficiency in mixing alcohol proportions with precision. Bartenders may repeat the same drinks with precision to satisfy the guest's expectation that the next drink tastes the same as the previous one.

2. Communication

Effective communication with customers and teammates is very important for good bartending. As a bartender, you serve many customers during a shift. The ability to communicate with various customers while maintaining positive and kind behaviour is an important job skill. Bartending is a team-oriented profession where effective communication can facilitate team relationships and increase productivity. For instance, you may coordinate with employees in the bar and kitchen, along with servers and security, to efficiently organise and operate the bar to ensure maximum customer convenience and satisfaction by serving orders promptly and accurately.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

3. Memory

The bartender's job can be fast-paced and can require the ability to memorise multiple orders simultaneously. Knowledge of mixing various drinks, such as cosmopolitan or mojito, is also essential in this role. You can improve your short-term and long-term memory by forming easy to remember phrases or rhymes to help you recall drink ingredients and measurements. Getting to know regulars by their first names is another helpful way to improve your memory. This can help you remember their usual orders and preferences, allowing you to make a cordial relationship.

4. Organisation

Strong organisational abilities can benefit bartenders in many ways. Organisational skills may include arranging and cleaning the work area so that necessary tools and glassware are easily available for mixing and serving drinks to guests. Organisational skills can also help you manage bar inventory, including beers, popular alcohols, mixers and garnishing items to meet the customer demands. Being organised is very important for a bartender to operate bars or hotels, manage customers' orders and track stocks properly.

5. Cash management

As a bartender, you may also manage cash and billing during the shift. Cash management skills can help you calculate bill amounts fast and accurate. For instance, if a customer pays off a portion of an existing bill, it is important for you to calculate and remember the paid and due amounts for that customer.

6. Flexibility

Bartenders may work varying shifts, including evenings and weekends. Their availability is flexible and shifts may vary every week. Flexibility in the workplace also helps a bartender to take on any additional tasks if any staff is absent. This reflects your ability to adapt to sudden changes and can fulfil a variety of tasks.

Related: How To Be Flexible At Work: A Complete Guide

7. Teamwork

Bartenders work with servers, kitchen staff and management. They recognise the collaborative nature of great customer service and contribute to order fulfilment or assist other staff members who may require help. Bartenders constantly watch for changing circumstances and stay prepared to assist with any important tasks when necessary.

Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)

8. Friendliness

Bartenders create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere for bar guests, making them feel comfortable. A bartender with friendly behaviour can effectively address the concerns of a customer. They may also engage in conversation with guests when the bar is less busy. They serve a wide range of individuals with diverse backgrounds, and their pleasant behaviour can help make the guest feel comfortable.

9. Fast learner

Bartenders perform many duties, apart from serving drinks. They also take and fulfil orders, handle cash, manage inventory and lists items and stocks the bar as required. Various job responsibilities require learning to manage job obligations efficiently to finish duties on time without sacrificing customer service. Being a fast learner can help you learn a new culture and process easily.

10. Consistency

Customers ordering drinks at bars expect the drink to taste similar to the previous one, regardless of where they ordered it. This requires bartenders to be good at mixology so that guests enjoy the consistency of the drinks. Consistently using the same ingredient amounts also benefits businesses and ensures profits, as in that case, bartenders can maximise the utilisation of the ingredients.

How to improve your bartender skills

Here are some steps you can consider following to improve your skills:

1. Attend a bartending school

Consider attending a bartending school to develop and improve skills you can apply as a bartender. You can find bartender training courses that provide fundamental and advanced lessons in mixology and proper serving techniques for alcoholic beverages. You can also find online videos to learn skills you want to improve. Advancing your bartending skills, along with proven relevant experience, can help you increase the chances of getting hired in a reputed bar or hotel.

2. Practise free-pouring

You can practise pouring alcohol and other ingredients into a cocktail without using a measuring tool. This technique is known as free-pouring. You can start with a jigger to ensure consistency and accuracy in ratios and proportions. While practising, you can count the time in your head to calculate the number of mixers you are pouring. Using water instead of something more expensive, like alcohol, is a great way to rehearse counts and free-pouring and enhance your bartending skills.

3. Work in a high-volume bar or club

Working in an actual setting helps you learn quickly. You can consider working in a high-volume and demanding hotel, resort and late-night bars and clubs to improve your skills by serving large customer volumes during your shifts. By consistently mixing drinks and fulfilling customers' requirements, you can quickly develop and enhance your bartending skills.

Bartender's skills in the workplace

Here are some ways you can use bartending skills in the workplace:

  • Keep areas clean and organised. Consider using your organisation and cleanliness skills to manage a stock of items and keep all areas and restaurant utensils clean, organised and sanitised.

  • Be vigilant. Working with alcoholic drinks requires vigilance for signs of intoxication and minors getting alcoholic beverages. While working in any setting, consider practising safe serving methods.

  • Listen to customers. You can use your communication skills while welcoming guests and recommending them popular drinks and cocktails. You can also apply your multitasking ability to listen to and speak with customers while preparing and serving beverages.

  • Remember complex beverage names. You can use your memory skills to remember complex beverage names to take orders correctly and serve them to the right customer effectively.

Ways to highlight your skills during your job search

Here are some ways you can follow to highlight your skills during your job search:

On a resume

You can highlight your skills in different sections of your resume, including the work experience and skills sections. Consider explaining how you used your skills in previous jobs under the work experience section. For instance, you can mention how you used organisational skills to manage bar inventory or your communication skills to talk to guests to make them repeat customers. Keep the skills list brief and include all skills relevant to the position.

Related: Include These Personal Details In A Resume (Learn How And Why)

In a cover letter

A cover letter is an excellent place to share relevant professional information about your skills in bartending. Your cover letter allows you to explain how you are a good fit for a job based on your knowledge, skills and professional and educational background. You can choose one to three examples from professional experiences where you directly used bartending skills in your role. You can also mention how you can apply your skills in the new position to improve customer experience and business revenue.

In an interview

An interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate your communication, attention to detail and hospitality skills to the interviewer. While responding to questions, you can mention some of your experiences and accomplishments to supplement your skills relevant to the position. The interviewer may ask questions related to the skills you mentioned in your resume and cover letter. Consider preparing effective responses to some common questions prior to your interview.

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