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Hiring a Bartender: Job Description Template

By Ammar Ahmed

Published:

Crafting the right bartender job description is more than a task; it sets the groundwork for your entire establishment. You’ve got empty stools and impatient customers, but a subpar hire could turn your bar into a ghost town.

Our comprehensive guide walks you through the hiring process and essential job description elements, positioning your venue as a top destination.


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Responsibilities & Role of a Bartender

Understanding the responsibilities and role of a bartender is crucial for a seamless hiring process. They must be able to work well under pressure and be able to handle multiple tasks at once.

Here’s a brief overview of what to expect:

  • Mixing and Serving: Bartenders skillfully craft and serve a wide array of beverages, from classic cocktails to innovative concoctions, ensuring each drink is prepared to perfection.
  • Multi-Tasking: Bartenders juggle multiple tasks simultaneously, from taking orders to preparing drinks and engaging with customers, requiring strong multitasking skills.
  • Industry Knowledge: A deep understanding of various liquors, mixers, and garnishes is essential. Bartenders expertly choose and combine ingredients to create delightful drinks.
  • Bar Inventory Management: Monitoring stock levels, restocking supplies, and coordinating with management to ensure a well-stocked bar is essential.
  • Knowledge of Regulations: Bartenders adhere to legal drinking age regulations and alcohol serving guidelines to ensure a safe and responsible environment.

How to Hire a Bartender

Hiring the right bartender is an important decision that can have a big impact on your business. By taking the time to find the right person, you can ensure that your bar is successful.

1. Know Your Bartender Needs

This step involves a detailed analysis of your establishment’s requirements. Consider the volume of customers you expect, the type of drinks you’ll serve, and the ambiance you want to create. 

By understanding these factors, you can pinpoint the specific qualities your bartender needs to excel in their role. The type of establishment you are running will have a big impact on the type of bartender you need to hire. 

The type of bartender you need depends on your business. A high-energy nightclub needs a fast, experienced bartender who can make many drinks. A cozy speakeasy needs a bartender who can provide excellent customer service and make classic cocktails with care. 

Consider your clientele when hiring a bartender. For a younger crowd, look for someone who knows popular drinks and trends. For an older crowd, look for someone experienced in classic cocktails.

2. Search of Top Talent

When you’re in search of a bartender, you need someone who’s not just adept at pouring drinks but also experienced in customer service, inventory management, and sometimes even mixology. Your hunt should thus be strategic and focused.

Here are some profession-specific channels you can explore:

  • Industry-Specific Job Boards: Websites like GigsSmart and WineAndHospitalityJobs are tailored for the beverage and hospitality sector. You’re more likely to find candidates who have specific skills you require, such as cocktail crafting and customer engagement.
  • Local Hospitality Schools and Bartending Courses: Establishing a partnership with schools offering courses in hospitality can give you access to budding talent passionate about the industry.
  • Networking at Events and Trade Shows: Industry events, such as cocktail festivals and trade shows, offer excellent opportunities to scout talent, as you’ll encounter professionals interested in staying updated about their craft.
  • Social Media Channels: Platforms like LinkedIn can be surprisingly effective, especially if you’re connected to other industry professionals who can make recommendations.
  • Recruitment Agencies: Firms like National Barteden Staffing and Premier Staff specialize in staffing solutions for the food and beverage industry. They often have a roster of vetted bartenders who can fit into roles at different levels, from entry to managerial positions.

By targeting your search through these profession-specific channels, you’re more likely to find a bartender who fits your establishment’s unique needs.

3. Looking for Professional Qualifications

When screening potential candidates for a bartender position, a mere glance at their resume won’t suffice. To ensure you hire the right person, you need to look for qualifications and credentials that are directly relevant to the role.

Here are some markers of a qualified bartender:

  • Certifications in Responsible Beverage Service: Many states in the U.S. require bartenders to have certifications like the TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) or the ServSafe Alcohol course. These certifications ensure that the bartender knows how to serve alcoholic beverages responsibly and handle situations related to public safety.
  • Formal Bartending Training or Courses: While not a necessity, candidates who have taken mixology or bartending courses usually have a deeper understanding of drink combinations, flavor profiles, and the history of beverages.
  • Skills in POS Systems and Inventory Management: Familiarity with point-of-sale systems like Square or Aloha can be beneficial for quicker service and easier staff training. Inventory management skills are a plus, as they can help control costs and prevent waste.
  • Knowledge of Local and State Alcohol Laws: A qualified bartender should be well-versed in the local and state laws related to alcohol sales and consumption. Ignorance can lead to legal repercussions for your establishment.
  • Craft Cocktails and Specialized Menus: If your establishment has a particular focus, such as craft cocktails or a specialized wine list, look for candidates with experience or training in that area.

Remember, qualifications can extend beyond what’s on paper. Sometimes a bartender may lack formal education but excel in customer service, efficiency, and creating a welcoming atmosphere. Therefore, balance these qualifications with your real-world observations and assessments during the hiring process.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

When evaluating past work experience for a bartender role, it’s crucial to dig deeper than just the length of time someone has spent behind the bar. The nature and context of their experience can tell you a lot about their suitability for your specific requirements.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Type of Establishment: A bartender who thrives in a casual, high-volume sports bar may not necessarily excel in a fine-dining setting where intricate cocktail preparation is required. Make sure to align the candidate’s past work settings with your establishment’s ambiance and clientele.
  • Customer Service Skills: Reviews or references that specifically praise a bartender’s customer service abilities can be a strong indicator of their suitability. This is especially crucial if your establishment prioritizes guest experience.
  • Management Experience: If you’re looking for someone to take on a senior role, experience in staff training, scheduling, or even some back-office tasks could set a candidate apart.
  • Special Events and Themes: Some bartenders specialize in specific types of events like weddings, corporate gatherings, or theme nights. If your establishment regularly hosts such events, experience in these areas is an added advantage.
  • Compliance and Safety Record: Check if the candidate has had any issues related to compliance with health and safety regulations, or if they have been certified in first aid or conflict resolution.
  • Knowledge of Current Trends: Bartenders who keep up with industry trends, be it sustainability practices or popular new mixers, demonstrate a commitment to their profession that can bring an innovative edge to your business.

5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process

When interviewing potential bartenders, the key is to focus not just on their knowledge and skills but also on their ability to handle real-world scenarios that they are likely to encounter on the job. 

Inquire about their favorite cocktails to make or what trends they think are currently shaping the craft beer scene. Pose scenarios specific to the bar environment, such as managing a sudden rush of customers during a happy hour or dealing with an underage patron trying to order a drink. This not only assesses their problem-solving skills but also checks their practical and theoretical knowledge of bartending.

This approach not only allows you to assess their technical skills but also gives both parties a comprehensive view of what the role entails and the standards expected.

6. Cross-Verify Their References

Contacting references gives you an external perspective on a candidate’s work history and performance. Previous employers or colleagues can provide insights into their reliability, teamwork, and overall demeanor. This step is crucial for verifying the accuracy of the candidate’s claims and assessing how well they might fit into your team. 

Consider asking a reference the following to get a detailed insight into their work ethic: 

  • Can you describe their ability to handle high-stress situations or busy shifts?
  • How would you rate their interpersonal skills and their ability to deal with difficult customers?
  • How reliable and punctual was the candidate during their time with you?

By checking references, you can get a sense of the candidate’s work ethic, communication skills, and overall personality. You can also ask about any specific projects or experiences that the candidate mentioned in their resume or cover letter. This will help you to get a better understanding of their skills and qualifications. 

Tips for Avoiding Red Flags During the Hiring Process of a Bartender

Hiring a bartender involves more than just verifying experience and skills; you must also be vigilant for red flags that could indicate a poor fit or future issues.

Here are some profession-specific tips to help you make a more informed decision:

  • Unfamiliarity with Basic Cocktails: Any bartender should know how to make common cocktails. A candidate who hesitates or fumbles when asked to prepare a basic drink like a Martini or Old Fashioned may lack essential skills.
  • Overemphasis on Flair over Functionality: While flair bartending is a skill, it should not overshadow the fundamentals. If a candidate focuses too much on the spectacle and not enough on drink quality or customer service, this could be a red flag.
  • Lack of Interest in Upselling or Menus: Bartenders play a crucial role in boosting sales through upselling techniques and knowledge of drink pairings. A lack of interest or knowledge in this area may indicate a candidate is not fully vested in the business aspect of the role.
  • Evasive When Discussing Past Experiences: If a candidate is unwilling to discuss specific situations where they had to manage conflicts, handle a busy shift, or contribute to a team, it could indicate a lack of experience or potential issues with accountability.

By keeping an eye out for these bartender-specific red flags, you can help ensure that the person you hire will be a strong fit for both the role and your establishment. 


A new hire's first day checklist

Bartender Job Description

To help you get started, here’s a sample job description template for a bartender position:

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Company Name: [Your Company Name]

Location: [Location]

Position: Bartender

Type: [Full-time/Part-time]

Reports To: [Supervisor/Manager]

Salary: [$XX, XXX – $XX, XXX] (At the discretion of the employer, this may be included to attract the most qualified applicants.)

About Us:

At [Your Company’s Name], we pride ourselves on delivering an unparalleled dining and drinking experience to our guests. Located in the heart of [City/Area], our establishment offers a curated menu of gourmet dishes and an extensive selection of fine wines, craft beers, and artisan cocktails. Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional service in a relaxed yet upscale atmosphere, and we are looking for a talented and committed Bartender to join our ranks.

The Opportunity: 

We are seeking a skilled and personable bartender to join our dynamic team at [Your Company Name]. The ideal candidate will not only have a passion for mixology but also a knack for providing exceptional customer experiences. As a bartender, you will be the face of our establishment, responsible for crafting delightful drinks and creating a welcoming atmosphere for our patrons.

What You’ll Do:

  • Craft a diverse range of beverages, including classic cocktails and signature drinks, while maintaining consistency and quality.
  • Provide attentive and friendly customer service, engaging patrons in conversations and ensuring their needs are met.
  • Take customer orders, process payments accurately, and manage tabs efficiently.
  • Maintain a clean and organized bar area, including regular sanitization of utensils, glassware, and workspace.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of drink recipes, ingredients, and techniques, making recommendations as needed.
  • Adhere to all legal drinking age regulations and responsible alcohol service guidelines.
  • Multitask effectively during busy periods, handling multiple drink orders while maintaining a high level of customer engagement.
  • Address customer concerns or issues with professionalism and empathy, finding timely resolutions.
  • Collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, servers, and management to ensure smooth bar operations.
  • Monitor and manage bar inventory, restock supplies as needed, and coordinate with management for timely orders.

What You’ll Bring:

  • Proven experience as a bartender in a fast-paced environment.
  • Extensive knowledge of various types of liquors, mixers, and garnishes.
  • Excellent customer service skills and a friendly, approachable demeanor.
  • Strong multitasking abilities and the capacity to handle pressure gracefully.
  • Proficient cash-handling skills, including making changes and managing tabs.
  • Outstanding communication skills and the ability to engage with a diverse range of customers.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of industry trends and a willingness to learn and improve.
  • Availability to work flexible shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Certification in responsible alcohol service (if required by local regulations) is a plus.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • A genuine passion for the hospitality industry and creating memorable guest experiences.
  • A flair for crafting inventive cocktails and enthusiasm for staying current with industry trends.
  • Proven multitasking skills and the ability to work efficiently under pressure.
  • Strong team spirit but can also work independently.
    Effective problem-solving skills and the ability to adapt to unexpected situations.
  • Previous experience in a similar high-volume, upscale dining environment.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive compensation package, including hourly rate and tips.
  • Opportunities for professional development and training in mixology and customer service.
  • Comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Paid time off and sick leave
  • A positive and inclusive work environment that values teamwork and creativity.
  • Employee discounts on food and beverages during non-working hours.
  • Potential for career growth within our expanding establishment.

How to Join Us:

If you are a passionate bartender with a commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences, we invite you to join our team at [Your Company Name]. To apply, please submit your resume and a brief cover letter detailing your relevant experience and why you’d be a great fit for this role. 

We look forward to welcoming you to our [Bar Name] family!

Note: This is a sample template, and you should adapt it to fit the specific details of your warehouse and the job role you’re advertising for.


How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Bartender?

Hiring a bartender involves various costs beyond the basic salary. Understanding these expenses is crucial for budgeting and making informed decisions. Let’s break down the recruitment costs associated with hiring a bartender:

  • Advertising and Job Posting: Posting your bartender job opening on job boards, social media platforms, and industry-specific websites incurs advertising costs. These expenses vary depending on the platform and duration of the ad. For instance,  WineAndHospitalityJobs charges $125 per job for 30 days 
  • Recruitment Agencies or Services: If you choose to work with a recruitment agency or service to find suitable candidates, be prepared for additional fees. Agencies typically charge a percentage of the bartender’s annual salary. Background checks, skills assessments, and interviews take time and resources. The effort adds to the recruitment process. Using these agencies generally costs 15% to 20% of the candidate’s annual salary.
  • Onboarding and Training: Once you’ve selected a bartender, training costs come into play. This includes orientation, alcohol service training, and any specialized training your establishment requires.

Salary

When considering hiring a bartender, it’s essential to factor in both their salary and benefits package. Let’s delve into these expenditures:

  • Salary: The salary you offer depends on factors such as experience, location, and establishment type. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the median annual wage for bartenders is $26,350. Highly experienced or specialized bartenders might command a higher salary. 
  • Tips: Bartenders often receive tips as a significant part of their income. While the exact amount can vary, it’s an essential consideration when calculating total compensation. In the USA, tipping is customary and expected for good service. A tip of $1 to $2 per drink or 15- 20% of the total bill is considered standard.

Benefits

Offering comprehensive benefits can attract top talent and contribute to employee satisfaction. According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 63% of employees indicate that benefits are a critical factor in their overall job satisfaction.

However, providing these benefits does come at a cost. On average, the overall benefits package can add an additional 20% to 30% on top of the base salary. Here’s a detailed breakdown of some of the typical benefits:

Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the most valuable benefits for employees. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average employer contribution for family health insurance coverage is around $22,221 per year. For individual coverage, the annual employer contribution averages about $7,739. This usually covers a significant portion of an employee’s medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive care, prescription drugs, and so on.

Retirement Plans

Offering a 401(k) or a similar retirement plan is a significant perk. Employers often match contributions up to a certain percentage of an employee’s salary, which can range from 3% to 6%. For example, if an employee has a $60,000 annual salary and contributes 6%, the employer may match it with another $3,600 per year, making this a substantial long-term benefit.

Paid Time Off

The average paid time off provided by employers in the U.S. is about 10-14 vacation days, 6.8 holidays, and 8 sick days per year, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This time away from work not only contributes to work-life balance but also amounts to a financial value, essentially giving employees paid days that could be considered as additional salary.

In summary, when you add up the cost of health insurance, retirement contributions, paid time off, and other perks like employee discounts, the overall benefits can easily amount to 20% to 30% above an employee’s base salary. These benefits not only make employees feel valued but also contribute to a more engaged and productive workforce. 


Ammar Ahmed

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