Last Updated:
September 1, 2022

Top Qualities Your Next Bar Manager Needs To Have

Are you looking for a career in bartending? Check out the top qualities that bar managers are looking for in their employees.
Top Qualities Your Next Bar Manager Needs To Have
By
Angelo Esposito
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DISCLAIMER: Please note that this information is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You're responsible to comply with all applicable laws in your state. Contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.
Table of Contents

With demand and competition increasing for bartender jobs in 2021, let’s take a look at what it takes to rise up the ranks from a standard bartender to a bar manager.

Bar management is not an easy job, there are common physical and emotional tolls from late nights to carrying heavy loads and dealing with unhappy customers. It can also be an incredibly rewarding job, though, when in the right hands.

So, what makes someone the right fit for a bar manager position? Read on to see the top qualities to look for when hiring or promoting.

What is a Bar Manager?

A good bar manager is a person who can handle any situation, from understaffed employees to overindulged patrons, while maintaining calm and keeping your bar or restaurant business open by overseeing daily operations, managing resources, and handling personnel. A bar manager creates a distinctive and attractive ambiance for your bar and restaurant while also ensuring the safety, comfort, and satisfaction of every customer. This results in high profits and satisfied customers. Pub managers are also referred to as bar managers.

Bar Manager Responsibilities

A general manager must possess strong leadership skills and project management abilities to make sure customer satisfaction and financial success. This role has a seemingly unending range of responsibilities and it demands a diverse skill set that is undoubtedly exclusive to the hospitality industry.

Generally, bar managers are in charge of the following duties:

  • Advertise the daily, weekly, and monthly promotions of the bar
  • Assuring profitability
  • Compliance and keeping food control, health and safety regulations
  • Ensure accurate inventory
  • Handle customer complaints
  • Hiring process (Recruit, interview, hire and train bar employees)
  • Have great mixology abilities and experience in high-volume bars.
  • Keep customers enthralled, and offer new ideas for bar menu options on a regular basis.
  • Oversee the bar's day-to-day operations, including busy night activities and special events.
  • Negotiating with vendors

Certainly, the duties and experience requirements may vary depending on the bar or restaurant. Whether you're trying to hire a bar manager or want to become one, it's crucial to comprehend the skills and personal qualities that will set a great bar manager apart from the competition and result in a superior experience for the customers.

What Bar Manager Qualities To Look For

Let's be honest - running a bar is not for the faint of heart. A great bar manager must be well-versed in all aspects of the hospitality industry. Not only will bartenders look up to them, but the bar and restaurant owners will also entrust them. They are the establishment's heart and soul being in charge of the team and business operations.

Undoubtedly, the best bar managers will create a profitable bar and boost the business reputation considerably. A bad one will drive your margins into a tailspin.

We've compiled a list of the most important characteristics to search for when recruiting or promoting for the bar manager position.

Ability to coach

Instead of using criticism and accusations, best bar managers know how to refocus and encourage behavior in a positive way. They may employ the "compliment sandwich" or have a knack for framing negative actions as chances for growth.

Bar and restaurant is a highly challenging field to operate in, thus a good bar manager who can win and preserve the team's respect is essential. Building your team's respect starts with doing this.

Organization

Running a bar is a fast-paced environment with lots of activities going on at the same time. The most crucial quality for a bar manager to have is good organizational skills. When it comes to organization, we should speak about the capacity to multitask as well. On a daily basis, a bar manager will have to deal with a variety of circumstances simultaneously. Imagine a customer complaining, a new bartender looking for anything, and a vendor on the phone attempting to negotiate the specifics of a large purchase. Anybody would want to flee away from here after hearing this! Prioritization and multitasking skills are necessary for a successful bar manager, who must also exhibit professionalism.

Bar management involves asset tracking, correctly using inventory management software, being in charge of employees, and interacting with customers. In addition to juggling all these responsibilities, skilled bar managers must be able to accurately track key metrics to keep your business profitable.

Passion and dedication

The job of bar manager is not your standard 9 to 5 job. For a bar manager to be successful, their line of work requires passion, perseverance, and dedication. You will be in charge of overseeing and making sure that everything runs efficiently in your bar.

Skilled bar managers are always looking to learn and expand their horizons. Having a true enthusiasm for the profession fuels the industry's zeal for bars. The team's creativity will grow and inspire fresh concepts for your bar.

Disciplined

A bar manager is responsible for ensuring that the establishment runs smoothly and efficiently. This means creating a disciplined quality control system that can anticipate and correct problems before they cause too much disruption.

A bar manager who is unexpectedly rammed with customers needs to be highly disciplined in order to serve each customer in a timely, professional manner while always offering top-notch service. This type of situation test the limits of a bar manager's organizational skills and product knowledge. Being able to juggle all of these demands and still provide quality service is what separates a good bar manager from a great one.

Personable

Speaking of friendliness, a bar manager must have good interpersonal skills. They’ll not only regularly interact with customers and vendors as the face of your business, but they’ll also be central to the happiness of the rest of the team.

Friendliness and professionalism are key qualities to be able to perform these duties effectively. Spend some time learning about the personal goals of each bar staff, then seek ways to support their growth.

Creative

A pub manager needs to be creative for many reasons. They often have to come up with new ideas in creating a unique atmosphere that will attract customers and keep coming back. This may include offering live music entertainment for their patrons, booking bands, working with DJs, or even putting together a house band.

As mentioned, there are a number of tricky tasks assigned to a bar manager. Being able to get their hands dirty to troubleshoot problems that arise, such as dealing with an unruly patron or a broken piece of equipment and even inventory management can be simplified with creative hacks. As someone who will lead the team, finding solutions such as easy-to-use inventory control online trackers, and handling difficult customers takes not only tact but creative problem-solving abilities.

While many of these problems might need a team effort to solve, it helps to have a creatively-minded bar manager leading the way. So, if you're thinking about becoming a bar manager, make sure you have some creativity to bring to the table!

Reliability

Reliability is an important quality to have in any position; it’s certainly not unique to bar managers. However, it is especially important to this role. A reliable bar manager sets the standard for the whole team and will save your business time, money, and unnecessary stress in the long run.

When hiring, be sure to prepare interview questions to ask for specific examples of when your candidate displayed these qualities to assess fit. And, if promoting from within your existing team, look for displays of these qualities early and often. Once you've found the perfect hire by following the guidelines above, the next step is helping them build the right staff for your bar. Overall, finding a bar manager with these qualities is tough, but absolutely necessary in the long run

Customer service skills

The restaurant industry is a challenging and demanding field, and restaurant management is a complex and nuanced job. As the bar manager, you are in a unique position to provide cost-effective customer service that often goes above and beyond what is expected. Customers come to your bar for a variety of reasons, and it is the responsibility of a bar manager to comprehend and react appropriately in order to nurture these connections.

Because you have a large team of employees working for you at any one time, it is critical that you are able to delegate responsibilities and manage people effectively. You must also be able to deal with customer complaints and difficult customer service situations in an objective and professional manner. You may establish the tone for your whole team by demonstrating excellent customer service abilities.

Mixology and product knowledge

Soft skills and personal qualities are important in the job, but they cannot substitute a solid technical knowledge of beverage preparation, cocktail mixing, and product background. This helps in a variety of tasks, such as storing and ensuring well-stocked goods to sell, training staff, and performance evaluation.

It's important to keep up with current trends and hone your knowledge of the field of mixology since it serves as a fundamental competency for any bar manager.

Establish a solid system

When it comes to managing your own bar, having solid systems in place is essential. Other bars can be a great source of inspiration for creating systems that work well. Observing how they operate can give you insights into what works and what doesn't.

An effective system in place will keep the staff happy and the menu running smoothly. That means having a good handle on the menu and inventory, keeping the shelves stocked, and rotating the stock so that nothing gets too old. It also means having a well-designed menu that offers something for everyone. A bar manager's capacity to operate a successful bar may be better assessed by taking into account the processes they have in place.

Looking for solutions to help even the most organized bar manager? Create a customized inventory spreadsheet to simplify your processes or, better yet, invest in a bar inventory app.

How Can a Bar Manager Be Successful in Their Job?

You might be surprised to learn that poor direct management causes 75% of workers to leave their employment. The road to a bar's success is paved with leadership challenges, and one of the most difficult tasks you'll have to accomplish as a leader is rising through the position among your staff members.

However, this role will become significantly simpler if you will act as a "leader" rather than a "manager" and implement a strategic management style.

When you're in charge, your staff will carry out the tasks you give them willingly and without reluctance, and you won't need the "badge of authority" your supervisor will have given you to exert pressure when delegating a task. You have power over other people.

By exerting strong leadership qualities, you may counter the trend and keep your team engaged and motivated, thus saving you time and money during the hiring and training process.

Implement an effective management strategy

As a rule of thumb, if your bar management skills are good enough, becoming a leader will be much simpler (you'll get respect faster, which is one of the essential elements of leadership). This degree of leadership in the restaurant industry may take a while to achieve, and you might not immediately recognize it.

There is no greater thrill than when everything in your workplace runs according to plan when you implement a strategic management approach. You won't have to worry about the little stuff if everything operates automatically in your place (although some degree of micromanagement will always be necessary for your job), and hopefully, you'll realize that the more you methodize, the less you'll have to delegate tasks to your staff members.

You'll get that sense of accomplishment when you're doing what you love and results are visible if you can improve your job. It is important to keep in mind that this is a continuing process that will influence a team dynamic. Good management will result in bars running smoothly and effectively, which leads to:

  • Employee turnover decreases
  • When the value of your business improves, so does your profit
  • Inspire more people to respect you; you become an effective leader

Learn from a great mentor

A mentor can provide you with useful insights into the day-to-day reality of working as a bar manager and offer professional advice on how to succeed in this role. If you don't have a personal connection with other relevant advisor in the restaurant industry, there are many online mentoring programs that can connect you with experienced bar managers who can help you advice specific guides to your career. Seek out a mentor who can help you learn the ropes of this challenging but rewarding job. With their guidance, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful bar manager.

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