Expert Advice on Hospitality Topics

Bar Management: Standardizing & Optimizing Serving Practices

Posted by John Cammalleri on Tue, May, 15, 2012 @ 12:05 PM
By Chris Parry
Atlantic Publishing

Part 3 of 3: The Service Bar

service barThe service bar is an area of the bar dedicated to the servers only. If designed well it can greatly improve the flow of drinks from the bar to the customers. Alternately, if your service bar is not designed well, it can add yet another delay in an already-crowded process. When setting up a service bar, the things that should be considering are:

  • Layout. Will your staff need to make a long trip, past waiting customers, to get to your drinks server? Placing the service area off to the side of the bar might seem like a good plan when the bar is empty, but when it's full, a drinks server who has to yell to be heard is a disgruntled drinks server - and a frequently delayed one.
  • Drinks station.Is everything the bartender needs to prepare drinks positioned within six feet (a step and a reach) from a drink preparation area? If it isn't, you're only adding waiting time, opportunity for spillage and even waste to the drinks serving process.
  • How far do your drinks servers have to travel to reach your customers? Do you seriously expect your server to negotiate a heavy crowd with 12 drinks on his or her tray and not encounter spillage? Clear the way. Improve not just your server's efficiency but also customer traffic flow.
  • Service bar communication. If you have a bartender or bar devoted purely to drinks service, consider providing your servers with radio headsets that will allow them to communicate a drinks order to the bar from the floor. This simple move can save your servers from making literally hundreds of trips across the floor a night and can slash service times considerably.

Glass-Handling Rules

Too often, bar staff think of glasses as disposable partyware and all but ignore the fundamental rules of handling drink service equipment. Make your bar staff aware of the following, or you could find yourself in hot water down the road when someone complains:

  • Never, ever, use glasses as ice scoops. A tiny chip of glass falling into your ice bin can cause a great deal of injury, and bar glassware certainly isn't designed to shovel rocks of ice. Along the same lines, any time a glass breaks in or near an ice bin, the entire ice bin needs to be emptied and the contents disposed of before it can be used in the preparation of another drink.
  • Staff should never touch the upper half of a glass in the act of serving a drink. It's un­hygienic; it looks terrible to the customer; and the glass will be much more susceptible to breakage if it's being handled regularly in this manner.
  • Stemmed glasses. They're far more susceptible to breakage than most other types of glasses - not to mention usually more expensive. Make sure that all staff take extra care in the handling of these items, perhaps even to the point of washing them by hand.
  • Inspect. All glasses need to be inspected, if only briefly, before they're used in a drink order. A lipstick smudge, chip, crack or remnants of a previous drink are not only off-putting to a customer, but they're also hazardous to the customer's health.


This article is an excerpt from the Food Service Professional Guide to Bar & Beverage Operation, authored by Chris Parry, published by Atlantic Publishing Company. This excerpt has been reprinted with permission of the publisher. To purchase this book go to:

Atlantic Publishing Company

Topics: bar efficiency, NightClub Management, bar supplies, bar business, Bar Management, bar design