Hiring Bartenders

If you have experience and can’t find a bartending gig you might want to consider that you’re looking in the wrong places or you need to re-evaluate you.

Many bars don’t know how to hire. Even the ones that have been around for a long time.

They look for a thing or gimmick that will bring in customers and money. Typically T&A. That isn’t the best practice and yet, it is extremely common.

The reason it’s a bad way to hire bartenders is that they are immediately eliminating half of their applicants. A really good male bartender doesn’t even get looked at.  This isn’t “sour grapes” keep reading.

It might seem like it’s a win, win for the women.  But is it?

The good bartenders, that are women, have to work with people that got hired for their looks, not their skills.

That usually results in poor and slow service. The bar owner solution to that, is to put more bartenders behind the bar. That means splitting tips more ways. A smaller cut for the bartender that’s pulling more weight.

First lets understand some history of why this “girls behind the bar is best”, came about.

There were bars in the 1960’s that didn’t allow women customers or women had to be escorted by a man. A bunch of women all over the country protested about the discrimination and things began to change. Including laws.

In the 1970’s bar owners realized that single women customers, were great for business.

Men would show up and spend more money to impress the women, get their attention and possibly a phone number. Remember women were still dealing with the equal work and pay issues. Men typically had more money.

Then if they put some women behind the bar that will be good because men will come in and spend for the eye candy.

In the late 70’s and beyond, women were flying solo and in groups. They had their own money and ideals. The old guard mentality was still around. Women shouldn’t be in bars without a male escort. Think about it, at that time, most bar owners were raised to think that way. The younger owners new better. An example would be Studio 54.

Move forward 20 years, 1990’s and bars are hiring only female bartenders thinking that it’s going to draw a big spending crowd. WRONG!!!!

Hey bar owner. What about the female customers that come in? Do you not want their business?

Strictly catering to male customers with female only bartenders is bad business practice.

The bars that are hiring bartenders based on skill and not gender or looks make the most money and have the best crowds.

Angry women don’t spend or tip. They leave. When the women leave the men find out where they went, and follow.

When you are looking for a job, find bars that hire and keep good bartenders, no matter what the individual is.

Those are the places that make money everyday, not just weekends.

I’ve been to many bars that have female only (the T&A, eye candy type) bartenders and it ‘s usually a place that’s filled with almost all men and the customers are usually jerks for the most part. The service is hit or miss, usually miss. The good bartenders there end up leaving and working somewhere else, making more money. Now the bar ends up with mediocre to bad service. The owners can never figure out what went wrong.

Identify these bad decision makers before applying. It might take some time to see it, but the indicators are there. You don’t want to work for them, whether your male or female. Even when the owners are genuinely nice people. They just don’t get the business.

In the 1995 I was looking for a job. I had bartending experience, out of state and overseas. I wasn’t getting hired.
Checking my references required something known as a “long distance call”, that cost money and hiring managers weren’t going to bother checking those references.  I know this because I followed up with 2 places where I interviewed and that’s what they told me.

Things are different now. We have email and the interwebs.

You must persist. Getting any job requires persistence and adaptability. Don’t be fake. Keep your ideals to yourself when applying and when working. What I mean is be smart about what you say and how you react to others.

Business is business and money is money. If you’re good, and trainable, personality will get you the interview and a job.

Cut your hair, take the metal out of your face, pull up your pants, look professional, not unique. <– (lighten up, that’s funny).

Remain neutral, establish yourself by becoming awesome at bartending.

Be nice, firm and always do the right thing. That makes people want to know you.

Then you can gradually start working “you” into the mix. 

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