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High performing employees are crucial to the success of every business, including successfully managed bars and restaurants. When you hire bar staff, one of the most effective ways to ensure a high level of performance is putting in place bar staff training and education platforms. This will keep them informed and hold them accountable for their work.
Like having a bar operations manual, having a bar staff training manual is the best way to communicate your expectations. For behavior, dress codes, standards of service, and general rules and policies for your bar staff. Make the missing-shifts policy easy to locate in their training manual. It is more likely that you will have fewer discussions with them about the rules and consequences. Follow these steps and your team have a better chance of running a profitable bar.
Bar Staff Training Template
In general, your bar staff training manual should include the following items:
- Welcome letter
- Mission statement
- Company history
- Orientation period
- Communication policies
- Performance and job standards
- Code of ethics
- Confidentiality policies
- Emergency procedures
- Drug and alcohol policies
- Anti-harassment policies
- Customer-service program
- Safety issues
- Mandatory meetings
- Performance evaluations
- Performance rewards
- Food-safety procedures
In the job-specific sections, focus more on bartenders and bar-backs because they typically require more training than other positions like servers and kitchen staff.
Bartender Training Manual
Having great bartenders is one of the most important factors that determine your bar’s success. So it's no surprise that they are also the ones that require the most training. Even if you hire experienced bartenders, you will still need to train them on your bar’s specific procedures and policies. Here’s a list of basic things that you should cover in the bar staff training manual for your bartenders:
The most important thing that your bartenders need to master is your drinks recipes. Having standardized recipes will help create consistency in the customer experience that your bartenders provide. It's how to improve customer satisfaction in restaurants easily. For example, when you Google the recipe for a Bloody Mary, every result is slightly different from the other. It is either ½ oz or 1 oz of vodka, 2 teaspoons of hot sauce or none. And without a standardized recipe in place, each of your bartenders will have their own version of Bloody Mary. Some might argue that your guests won’t be able to notice the difference. But letting your bartenders create inconsistency in your guests’ experience is a standardized recipe for disaster.
POS System and Cash-Handling Procedures
Your bartenders are also your sales associates. They are either mixing drinks, interacting with guests, or selling more beverages for your business. So it's critical to train your bartenders on how to use the POS system, open and close tabs, and handle cash. They should also know the comp drink policies. Your bartenders shouldn’t struggle with using the POS system or fixing an incorrect charge during a busy night.
In addition to your drinks recipes, your bartenders need to be familiar with the basic procedures around your bar. You should include written copies for every procedure along with checklists in your training manual. From opening and closing procedures to bar cleaning and sanitation activities. Your bartenders might also need to know how to complete a restaurant inventory spreadsheet or bar inventory template and restock items in your absence. Depending on how you divide the work at your bar. We even have a checklist of bartender duties if that fits your bar's processes better.
Common Standards and Policies
In your training, cover the basic responsible alcohol-service guidelines and other regulations for your bartenders. They should already know these from their time in bartending school. But it's helpful to include a written copy in the bar staff training manual, so they can easily refer back to when necessary. These things will ensure that your bartenders are providing the right service to the right people. And avoiding mistakes that might lead to legal troubles.
Barback Training Manual
Another important role at your bar is the barback. Barbacks duties can be similar to that of bussers, except in a bar environment instead of a restaurant. Barbacks are responsible for supporting your bartenders and ensuring they have everything they need to complete their work efficiently.
In their training manual, you should include the basic policies about uniform and appearance, similar to your bartenders’ training manual. Your barbacks don’t need to know your drinks recipes, sure. But they still need to be knowledgeable about everything else. Like alcohol awareness, bar cleanliness and sanitation, bar station set up and organization, what bar and restaurant cleaning supplies are needed, and opening and closing procedures.
One of their main responsibilities is making sure bartenders have everything they need at all times. From fruits and garnishes to essential ingredients for cocktails. Your bartenders should not be spending a lot of time on cleaning glasses. They can spend that time interacting with guests, making drinks, and upping your sales. Therefore, your barbacks must know how to complete small tasks around the bar. Things like changing kegs, restocking items, cleaning bar area, cutting garnishes, refilling ice, and tending to spills and breakage.
Developing a Learning Program
As Richard Branson once said, “Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business for you.” A good bar manager is someone who takes the time to develop and create more opportunities to grow their staff.
In your bar staff training manual, you can include learning materials and helpful resources for your staff. You can also provide workshops, tastings, mentoring, and on-the-job training to help your staff hone their skills. You should teach your staff how to take bar inventory and support throughout with the process. Another effective way to motivate your staff is creating a hierarchy at your bar, such as giving the title “Head Bartender” to senior-level bartenders. This will help develop supervisory skills in your bartenders and prepare him to take on more responsibilities as your business continues growing.
You can also utilize quizzes and include them in your bar staff training program to help establish a higher standard of service and knowledge. Frequent quizzing can be time-consuming for you and maybe a little stressful for your staff. But it's a very effective tool that helps you identify and address holes in your staff’s knowledge.
It's strongly recommended that bar managers think of ways to create opportunities for their staff to improve and grow. This will only benefit their business in the long run.
So Why A Bar Training Manual?
Keeping all the policies and procedures of a bar collected and updated is a big part of earning a bar manager salary. And having a bar staff training manual is the best way to organize and document ongoing staff training. Keeping an up-to-date and useful one is one of the primary bar manager duties. It makes training easier for you with every item listed out so you won’t miss anything. And a written training manual creates consistency in your staff’s performance and establishes standards that will hold them accountable.
If you find this article helpful, contact us to learn more about BinWise Pro — an all-in-one bar inventory system. It'll help you run your bar more effectively and successfully. Book a demo!
General Information & Announcements
Announcement: A high-level overview on Indiana alcohol statues and rules can be located in the ATC's Trade Practice Laws and Regulations Manual.
Announcement: The Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission and the Indiana State Excise Police announce the start of the PACE program (Proactive Alcohol Compliance Enforcement).This project is an attempt to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies and focus limited excise enforcement resources on alcohol premises that have become and should be designated a public nuisance. Click the link to learn more about the PACE program.
Announcement: End of year alcohol and tobacco compliance check results are available at SAC - Survey for Alcohol Compliance and TCC - Tobacco Compliance Checks.
Have a question about alcohol licensing?Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Note: The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission is not currently open to the public.
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Public Commission Meetings
The Alcohol & Tobacco Commission conducts two types of meetings on a monthly basis: Commission Meetings and Local Alcoholic Beverage Board Hearings. These meetings are open to the public.
By law (I.C. 7.1-2-1-10), the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission meets the first and third Tuesday of each month. The meeting time is 10:00 AM.
NOTE: Commission meetings will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams until further notice. For more information about accessing the meeting, visit https://www.in.gov/atc/2854.htm.
The Commission may also hold special meetings as necessary. Special meetings (date, time, and agenda) are posted at the main office of the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission and on the State Calendar system.
Note: When attending a virtual commission meeting please mute yourself upon joining, this can be done from within the Microsoft Teams Application / Webpage using the microphone icon. To mute yourself when calling the conference number press *67 on your phone's keypad.
- 1st Tuesday: Agenda for May 4, 20211 Join on your computer or mobile app - Click here to join the meeting
Call in (audio only) +1 317-552-1674,297065756# United States, Indianapolis Phone Conference ID: 297 065 756#
- 3rd Tuesday: Agenda for April 20, 20211 Join on your computer or mobile app - Click here to join the meeting
Call in (audio only) +1 317-552-1674,130839304# United States, Indianapolis Phone Conference ID: 130 839 304#
1 Agendas are subject to change without notice.
Commission Meeting Minutes
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Default Judgement Order
Commission Escrow Hearings:
Commission escrow hearing for April 27, 2021. Click here for the agenda. (Joining Instructions)
April 27, 2021 :
- 9:00 AM Escrow Hearing: Join Meeting or by phone +1 317-552-1674 (Toll) / Conference ID: 554 972 501#
- 1:30 PM Escrow Hearing: Join Meeting or by phone +1 317-552-1674 (Toll) / Conference ID: 176 826 70#
Local Alcoholic Beverage Board Hearings
Note: Local board meetings will be held virtually until further notice. Visit the ATC's Virtual Local Board Hearing Information Page for information on accessing the meetings.
Detailed information regarding the local board process is available in the 2018 Local Board Handbook. New or existing local board members who have not previously received or documented their required training must review this LB Training Document within 180 days of their appointment. Once the board member has reviewed the training materials, they must submit a Training Completion Form to the board's designated member, typically an Excise officer assigned to their board.
A schedule of the Local Alcoholic Beverage Board Hearing meeting dates and locations can be found by clicking on the links below.
Updated schedules of dates, times and participants are refreshed regularly and include the current month and the following month.
This local board schedule only lists those applications that have been recently advertised for a hearing or had their hearing continued prior to the run date of the schedule. There may be other applications scheduled to be heard that were continued from previous hearings, but were continued after creation of the schedule.
Transfer Price by Jurisdiction and Permit Price
Bartender Training Manual
Pursuant to IC 7.1-3-24-3.5, the Commission is required to collect and post the permit sale price for transferred permits. That report, including jurisdiction and permit type, can be found here LINK.
Obtain An Opinion From The Commission
The Alcohol & Tobacco Commission has developed a procedure for industry representatives and permit holders who wish to seek guidance or obtain a formal opinion from the Commission. Click the link to view instructions for the Formal Procedure for Questions.