Bar Management Guide: How to Run a Successful Bar

You and your bar will hold hands while looking into the eyes of each other. You and your bar will later sneak into a movie together, laughing. Bar management, oh my! It’s like young love when times are good.

That’s what we want for you and your bar. We’ll show you how to run a profitable bar efficiently and profitably. These are smart ordering, cleanliness, organization and making your bar a great place for employees. Next, we’ll discuss bar manager salaries and top tips for bar managers to help you be successful.

It’s the beginning of a wonderful relationship if you read it and take it all in.

Buy Smart and Place Your Order

Smart ordering is key to running a bar. Successful liquor ordering comes down to consistent inventory management, strategic buying, selecting the right distributors and organizing your invoices.

Keep an eye on inventory regularly.

You can rely on a large number of data if you take regular inventory. This will allow you to make informed purchasing and ordering decisions that meet the needs of your bar. This will allow you to keep your customers happy and make a lot of money.

No matter how often you decide to inventory a product, whether daily, weekly or monthly, you should stick to your schedule.

Consistency is the key to making your numbers reliable and demonstrating that you can manage bar inventory. This is the only way to run a successful bar. You must determine what bar items are required. This is so crucial that we have included it in our list of bar managers’ 6 most important duties. This will help you ensure that your restaurant’s accounts are accurate.

Find out what your bar needs.

You will need to take into account two things when taking inventory. These are inventory usage rates as well as par levels. This is how it works:

  1. Take last week’s invoices. Compare these to your inventory usage (read more about how to calculate inventory usage). This will allow you to compare how much you received with how much you used.
  2. The par level is the minimum amount of inventory you should have. This is the minimum inventory that you should keep on hand for any product at any given time.
  3. Consider steps 1 and 2. Create new orders totals for your wine and beer. This will be necessary for each product.
  4. Place the order by contacting your reps.

Before you reach out to distributors, ensure that they are a good match for you.

Select the right distributor of alcohol

Where does alcohol get its source? There are many distributors out there, but there are some things you should consider before choosing one. It is not always about the lowest cost. Also, consider:

  • Delivery costs. They can vary greatly and be quite unexpected. Be aware.
  • Extra services. For example, some keg distributors offer free tap cleaning. Ask. It doesn’t hurt asking.
  • Delivery schedule. While you might need weekly deliveries, others may not. Is it necessary for Prosecco to be delivered on Friday mornings? You might sell lots of it during the weekend and not have enough shelf space on other days. Before you commit, make sure your schedule is flexible enough to work for you and the bar.
  • Volume discounts and breakage fees: Prices can vary depending on how large your order is. Distributors may charge a breakage fee for orders in less than one case. You can also get a discount if you order in bulk.

BinWise EasyList is a great tool for finding distributors. EasyList is used by distributors to digitize their catalogs and makes all of their products and services easily searchable by bar owners and operators around the world.

EasyList allows you to compare prices between suppliers and see how other buyers have priced the products. This way, you will know exactly what you are getting into.

It is important to keep detailed records of all the things you purchase from distributors once you have found them.

Bar Invoices

To determine the order, you need to place, you will need to have an invoice history. You won’t be able to know the exact amount of product coming in and will end up with a stale inventory. This can lead to inaccurate usage, pour costs, and par levels. To find out how to calculate pour cost, check out our guide!

This means that you need to file each invoice one by one and ensure they are organized and easily accessible. This can be quite a hassle.

It is worth noting that you can use bar inventory software such as BinWise Pro to do this for you. It seamlessly tracks inventory, orders, invoices and keeps them all in one place.

This will allow you to make creative and profitable decisions instead of wasting your time in spreadsheets and file cabinets. I’m just saying.

Your purchasing records are not the only thing that you should keep organized. It’s time for you to sell your liquor once it has been ordered. It’s easiest to sell liquor in a clean bar that runs like a well-oiled machine.

Optimize Bar Operations

Negative online reviews about a business’ cleanliness are a major reason why 85% of customers will not go to it.

Your bar and restaurant should have a process-driven approach to their operations and keep your space well-organized. This means creating bar cleaning and closing checklists, a bar operations manual, as well as paying attention to the layout of your bar.

Checklists for Bar Cleaning

Bar cleaning has become a lost art. Are you able to identify the date that your wine-by-the-glass bottles were opened? What about when was the last time your beer lines were cleaned?

Bar cleaning checklists are the key to answering all these questions and many others. You can use them for everything. For everything. You can even download our free bar cleaning checklist.

Different bar cleaning tasks require different times and checklists.

Here are the details:

  • Daily Bar Cleaning Checklist (e.g., wiping down the bar, cleaning out the bottles in speedwells).
  • Weekly Bar Cleaning Checklist (e.g., wiping down barstools, cleaning out the fridge)
  • Monthly bar cleaning list (e.g., flushing tap lines, pest management)
  • Checklist of Bartender Duties (e.g., opening times, closing hours, and side work duties).

Your customers will praise you for setting up a cadence to do everything that you need.

Checklists for Bar Closing and Opening

You can also use daily, weekly and monthly bar cleaning lists.

  • You can set up chairs and mats on the floor, squeeze fresh juices and provide towels for bar openings.
  • Set washed glasses on the drying rack, ensure that everything is stocked and date any wine bottles.
  • These will not only keep your bar’s operations running smoothly, but they’ll also keep your staff focused on their priorities.

To get started, check out our free closing and an opening checklist!

The Bar Operations Manual

Bar operations manuals are the best source of information for all things related to bar management. What are the closing procedures for bars? Manual for bar operations. What is the dress code for staff members? Manual for bar operations. What should I do in an emergency situation? Operation manual for bars.

Your bar manual should contain at a minimum

  • Cleaning checklists
  • Closing and opening procedures
  • Manual for bar staff training
  • Uniform standards
  • Contact list for staff
  • FAQs
  • Notifications for emergencies

It is an important resource that should be maintained and updated with great care.

Keep your bar organized.

A good bar layout is a big picture. It is a whole topic in itself to design a commercial bar layout. Once you have it, everything must be in the right place. Otherwise, your staff will become insane.

These are quick tips for managing your bar and keeping everyone happy.

  • Arrange liquor bottles from the same type together
  • If you don’t have speed racks, get one.
  • All storage shelves should be labeled.
  • Dry goods and bar inventory should be kept separate from alcohol to make finding and grabbing a new bottle easier.
  • This bar supplies and equipment list can be used to help you plan your bar equipment layout.
  • BWise is a bar inventory application. It will help you identify which bottles are flying off the shelves and where they should be kept.

You have now got your bar stocked and organized. Now you need people’s power.

Make your bar a great place to work.

Let’s now talk about how to hire bar employees! Fun and positive work environments have many benefits, including employee retention and building a strong culture in the workplace.

You must find the right people to help you get there. Keep them trained and give them a voice. And lead by example.

The Right People Should Be at Your Bar

This is the most controversial and important part of hiring.

It is possible to hire someone without any experience, but it may not be the best thing. We are talking about someone who is eager to learn. You must have a growth mindset. Bars should be fun. An unhappy employee can ruin your life.

Claremont University found that personality can predict many aspects of job performance, such as leadership and lower counterproductive behaviors.

How do you hire personality?

It’s important to realize that personality isn’t the first impression a candidate makes during a job interview. It is also not about how they get along with the hiring manager. It’s about finding out what makes a candidate tick. Consider how their personality can make a bar a success. Ask them questions to find out how open they are to feedback, their flexibility, aspirations, and how important teamwork is.

Professional psychologists may also be able to answer these questions. Consider including a personality test in the interview process.

Continuously train your staff.

If nobody uses the checklists, training materials and operations manuals they provide, it won’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. You can’t expect your entire team to learn and take responsibility for your processes. Although it would be great, it is not possible. Instead, make learning a part of every shift. It should be a part of your workplace culture.

These are some tips for bar managers to ensure that your bar staff is always trained.

  • Pre-shift meetings: Review pre-shift notes and discuss them.
  • Staff can enjoy tastings and informational sessions that allow them to get involved with the products and be excited about them. It is easier to remember what you care about.
  • Encourage education. Investing in continued education gives your employees a sense of identity and shows that you care. TAM is a common acronym.
  • Create a cocktail bible. Standardize all things, even the simple classics such as a gimlet.
  • Train your staff on standard wine pours and standard liquor pours.
  • Monthly quizzes about policies and procedures should be offered. This is a great way to learn, but it’s also an improvement on casually reviewing information in pre-shift meetings. It should be fun and not just a reminder of high school.

Give your staff a voice.

Employees can anonymously submit their suggestions. This is a great way for them to express themselves and be involved in the management of the bar. An anonymous Google form can be set up to allow employees to submit suggestions online. Or, you could opt for a physical suggestion box. You can then bring up your suggestions during pre-shift meetings.

Crowdsourcing decisions to the group is another way to get your employees involved. You could change the POS system or your wine by the glass. You can talk to the team if you are unsure about something.

Your bartenders can be turned into mixologists. Encourage creativity in your bartenders and let them know that you are open to business. You’ll be able to see the results of their creations, especially if they have a low pour price. People will feel more involved if they are contributors.

A pulse survey is a satisfaction survey that employees take at regular intervals. While some staff members may not be able to make suggestions or speak at meetings with the entire staff, they still have valuable insight.

Be an example

Your workplace culture is your company’s personality and values. It is the place where your employees live every day, every hour of every shift. It is vitally important. You must live it to manage a bar.

Be a boss if you want your bar to be a great work place.

  • Take care of your staff’s professional growth. Encourage and even pay for certification. Talk about your career options and how you can assist. Make it clear that you are invested in their future. They will be grateful.
  • Encourages team building and fun-having. You can organize team outings, reward staff for their achievements with prizes or callouts, or even have weekly or daily contests. Find out who can sell the largest number of Riofava Barolo 2010 bottles.
  • Understanding workplace culture starts at the top. Get involved and put your hand up. Volunteer with your team and attend team-building events. Be open to feedback, curious, inclusive, and kind.

Also, be a great boss.

Salary for Bar Manager

Bartenders have a lot to offer in terms of career advancement. There are many career paths available for those who have been behind bars, from the bar back to bartender to the manager to bar manager. The average bar manager’s salary is an important factor in deciding whether to become a bartender or a bar manager. Let’s take a look at the average bar manager salary in the United States.

Our national average for bar manager jobs was calculated by taking the average of the bar manager salaries from five major employment websites across the country. The average national bar manager salary in the United States is $45,383. Bar manager salaries are approximately $14.55 an hour when you consider that number and the average weekly work hours of bar managers.

This depends on years of experience. Bar managers often move to other positions such as GM, beverage director or in-house wine specialist. It’s safe for us to say that the average salary for bar managers is based on a mid-career level, which is approximately 5-7 years. You must be great at your job to move up the ladder. Let’s take a look at the traits of a great bar manager.

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