Here’s is the truth, “there is no quick fix for a properly set up and free functional bar” As a guest or patron, sitting on the other side of the counter, you would probably be thinking to yourself, “I like this bartender” or maybe something like, “bartending must be a very fun job or career? This can only go through your mind if the person behind the sticks seems to be having fun, making drinks, serving and cleaning while chatting up his/her customers in a honest, passionate, charismatic and professional manner.
To get to the level of the kind of bartending that we see and we are like, “this is good” takes time, practice, dedication, discipline, hard work, research and self-belief. As a bartender, my ideal kind of a bartender that I would prefer to work with is a fast, honest, organized and efficient bartender. To be clear, I googled the meaning of efficient as “the ability to accomplish a task with minimum expenditure of time and effort” No matter what type of bar you work or want to work at, when it comes to bartending, speed and efficiency is a must have set of quality or skill for every bartender. If you want respect from your patrons, which turns into tips, getting drinks to them correctly and in time, is mandatory.
Your speed and efficiency behind the sticks is as important to the level of tips as well as the quality of establishment or bar you can work at. It does not really matter if you want to work in a high volume bar or not is not relevant in this case. Even in a slow paced bar or establishment or on a slow day, you never know when you are going to be hit by a rush. The only way to being fast and efficient is, thoroughly getting prepared for it. By going slow behind the bar when there are customers waiting to be served. It only costs the bar and you money by being slow. Customers can unexpectedly come in the bar in numbers at once, being prepared and ready will make you shift easily into high gear when necessary you will be rewarded or else be eaten alive for not.
Having noted that, it is also important to understand the difference between speed and efficiency. Speed is the energy and raw power that you put into a task. You can simply put it as how fast you are moving behind the bar; however efficiency has nothing to do with speed. Efficiency can be referred to as above; “the ability to accomplish a task with minimum expenditure of time and effort”. Efficiency can only be achieved as a result of good systems, preparation, planning and organization in the bar. Efficiency is finesse not hard work, working smarter not too hard.
I have always imagined what pleasure it would be for a restaurant/bar manager or owner when he/she puts a fast bartender behind an efficiently set up bar? That is where magic happens, if i was the bartender, there would be nothing more i can ask for but to sufficiently take care of my customers and drastically improve sales. If you still put the same fast bartender behind an inefficiently set up bar, he will require a greater expenditure of time and effort to accomplish the same or even less results. As a customer, all you see is a gloomy and grumpy bartender who seems tired and worn out even during early hours of his/her shift. In that scenario, any customer that walks to the bar is seen as a disruption to preparation even if service has started. That leads to having a negative attitude towards work, boredom and eventually, unsatisfied customers, complains and low sales. As a bartender, I believe that “an efficiently set up bar is the ideal situation for what I always aim for before, during and after shift.”
With that said, I think it’s important not to underestimate the importance of speed. Both speed and efficiency are crucial to becoming a fast, money making bartender. More importantly, as a manager, director or owner, always remember, just because your bartender is efficient does not mean he/she can slack behind the bar, being efficient only means the bartender is not wasting any time or effort.