Are You a “Neat” Bar or “On the Rocks?”
Over the last five years, the bar industry has seen a nearly three percent increase in revenue. In 2018, it reached $26 billion in annual revenues. A clean and well-organized bar will attract repeat business because there is more people spending money on nightlife.
The bar is small, but it requires a lot of care to keep it looking good. To keep your patrons happy, we spoke with Zachary Kuhn (General Manager, Market Garden Brewery, Cleveland, OH).
To Train Your Staff, Here’s a Complete Checklist for Bar Cleaning
Daily Opening Bartender Checklist
A stale bar or missing ingredients can make a bartender’s day. You don’t want guests to leave you scrambling for things, from cutting lemons and limes to getting your speed opener. To ensure a smooth shift, make sure you check these tasks off your bar-cleaning checklist after clocking in.
- # Use hot water to melt any ice that remains from the night before.
- # Clean out all sinks, bins, and wells
- # Restock ice bins and replenish with fresh ice each day.
- # Make sure to check the keg levels, and notify the rest of your staff if you will need a backup.
- # Stock the fridges with canned and bottled beer.
- # Take down any alcohol, wine, beer, or mixers that are low.
- # Verify the dates on freshly squeezed juices before you discard any older than two days.
- # Use fresh lemons, limes, and other fruits for garnishes and drinks.
- # Keep any other garnishes such as olives, cherries, and herbs in stock.
- # Install bar mats, speedtrays, picks and stirrers.
- # Polish silverware and roll-in napkins are available if you have a restaurant that serves food.
- # Check beer taps for any buildup and clean them with warm water.
- # Pour a few ounces of beer at the taps to clear beer lines
- # Check your glasses carefully for any lipstick marks or cloudiness.
- # Verify the date on wine bottles. After five to seven days, discard.
- # If necessary, fill the caddies with napkins and straws.
- # Buy clean towels, wine keys, beer openers, and pens.
- # Add extra change to the cash and stock in your register.
We believe that first impressions matter. You don’t want a person to sit down and look at the back bar and see it cluttered and messy with papers, bottles, and disorganization.
You can do bar cleaning throughout your shift
One bad impression can turn a guest away from you and make them a regular. You must keep the bar clean and tidy throughout the day. This includes washing glasses, cleaning trash and cleaning up after guests. Make sure you take the time to clean up after visitors.
- # After each patron, wipe down the bar.
- # Straighten your chairs as often as possible
- # Use clean glassware, shakers, and other tools.
- # Fill reach-in coolers up with canned or bottled beer
- # Get rid of the trash when you need it.
I tell people to be proud of their workplace. People return to clean workplaces, but it spreads the word if the place is a bit dirty.
Daily Closing Bartender Checklist
Clear closing procedures are essential to ensure a successful shift next day. Check the following tasks to ensure a clean bar, and that all ingredients are fresh.
- # Balance your register and count.
- # Clean the bartop and stools. Let air dry.
- # Place any soiled napkins in the linen bucket to be washed.
- # Use a warm, clean towel to wipe down the beer and liquor bottle handles.
- # Clean the tap ends with a keg-liner brush.
- # To keep flies away, cap each tap with a rubber faucet tapping.
- # Clean speed rails.
- # Sanitize soda guns.
- # Clean out ice bins.
- # Date wine bottles that have been opened recently
- # Place any remaining garnishes, fruits, and juices in clean containers.
- # Dispose of all service bars and run them through the dishwasher. Garnish containers, shakers and bar mats are all included.
- # Rinse drains.
- # Mop up behind the bar.
- # Empty your trash cans and place bags in the dumpster.
- # Line bins with new trash bags.
“I ask our bartenders that they wipe the floor with a mop before leaving, so when they return, it’s just like a new bar, and they don’t have to clean up after anyone else.”
Weekly Bar Cleaning
Some tasks can be performed on a weekly basis while others can be done more frequently. Kuhn’s staff, for example, has decided to run the dishwasher twice a week before and after the weekend rush. We wash glassware by hand when it is heavy, but we also run it through the dishwasher twice per week to give it an extra clean.
You may choose to prioritize tasks for one day or another depending on how many guests you have and when they are most busy.
- # Clean and empty reach-in coolers
- # Keep clean behind all movable and stored equipment.
- # Sort through and organize cabinets and drawers.
- # Clean shelving for glassesware and liquor bottles
- # Sanitize keg lines.
- # Prevent pests and bugs from happening.
- # Use the power washer outside or the dishwasher to clean your floor mats.
- # Dust and clean display containers or decorations.
“Clean beer lines mean great tasting beer. Our brewer arrives early to service, emptying the beer line and running through the cleaning and sanitizing solutions. After that, he will run water through the beer line and tap the keg again, making sure everything is spotless.
We are here to help keep your bar and restaurant clean
This cleaning checklist will help you avoid dirty martinis and unsavory reviews. Want more? For more information about the restaurant industry, including bathroom design and maintenance, visit our Commercial section.