Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Step 1: How to Become a Restuarant Bartender

So you've decided you want to start bartending.  That's great - that's the real first step.

But if you're like me, you really didn't know where to start after making this decision.  So here's what I did.. and this is exactly what you can do:

Go to any run-of-the-mill restaurant: Chili's, Perkin's, TGIFriday's etc.  and tell the host there that you want to fill out a server application.  Fill it out and bring it back to the host-stand.  When you do this, ask if there is a manager on duty who you could briefly discuss job openings with.  I know what you're thinking, you don't want to be a server.  I know, I didn't either - it's all part of the plan.

The first couple times I did this, the host kind of shut me out by saying, "we will take your application and get back to you if there is an opening."  I politely responded, "thank you." and moved on.  On the third attempt though, the host brought me to the manager directly.  SUCCESS.  This is how you get the job, if you leave you application with the host, it will either be thrown out or thrown on a stack of other applications.

So, I had a quick interview with the manager who liked me right off the bat.  She asked about my experience serving, I said that I had none but that I'm "very excited and willing to learn".  Note: If you have ANY experience, bring it up at this point and make it sound as good as possible.  After displaying my willingness to learn, I got the job.

So then I got trained at the restaurant and became a server.  I didn't like serving.  Everything about it was awful to me.  But it was all part of my plan:  to learn bartending from serving.  I hung out by the bar when I had any downtime.  There I learned drinks, learned alcohol names, watched pouring mechanics etc.  In no time the bartenders were my friends and would bring me behind the bar and help me learn.  During my hours off, I was reading a simple "How to Bartend" book I purchased online.  Order one online or get the one I just wrote  here .   A couple months later, I was a bartender. 

THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!  I learned to bartend for free (well for the price of a used book).  AND I automatically got a bartending job!  After learning enough, I eventually started taking bar shifts at this same restaurant.  I was much happier working behind the bar than out on the floor whileI made much more money at the same time.  I never wasted my time and money on bartending school.  Perfecto.    

Here is a good video made by a fellow bartender: Jason.  That further explains what I'm talking about here:

You can do it too, just follow these steps and stay positive. 

This was not my end goal however, nightclubs (and bars/lounges) is where the real money is at.  I was still working my plan.

NOTE: Ladies, you can do this same thing but replace food server with being a cocktail server.  Same process... you can learn bartending while you cocktail.  Us guys have to typically start as food servers though. 

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