It’s been a while since my last post. Well, it took me a while to virtually interview some of my hotelier friends and some more time to persuade them to fill up my questionnaire.
So without further ado, here’s our 5th A Day in a Life post and this time we’ll have a look at what a Bartender’s day is like.
Vonn has been working as a bartender in luxury hotels in the U.A.E. for quite some time now and he’s been nice enough to share his experiences with us.
Let’s take a look at his daily routine.
4pm: Pick-up time. I start my shift by picking up my items from the beverage store, fruits for garnish, juices , ice cubes and crushed ice and most importantly the cash float. Also before the start of the shift, I need to have a word with my boss regarding some promotions, special instructions, sales reports and other things that might be necessary during operation.
5pm: I always do a small walk-through of the bar, in and out, to check the cleanliness. There might also be some touch ups to be done or maybe some engineering works to be completed. Everything should be ready before the bar opens: the garnishes, sugar syrups, perishable items should be tagged, bar snacks, enough linen, music system, fridges that are need to be filled, running low items and the out of stock items should be checked. Glass wares should be enough for the night. So once all of these are set, only the guests are missing.
6pm: Opening time. I always make sure that I am well groomed in and out, ready for an operation that requires a lot of precision and split second decision making.
7pm-12 am: Operation time. Make drinks. Smile a lot. Talk to guests. Entertain them. Have fun.
12:30 am: Last order time. This is the time when we have to take the last orders and explain to the guests that we are not asking them to finish their drinks immediately and leave the bar. Instead, we have to tell them politely that this is just one of the days when ‘we end our session for a moment and that the doors will be open again after a few hours.’
1am: The most important closing duty is to discard expired perishable items. Doing so keeps the bartender safe as well as not putting the hotel in jeopardy such any turmoil arise. Clean the bar. Make sure it is at least 99% ready for the next day operation. Fulfill the daily inventory and check if there’s any item that needs to be requested. Make sure that all cash, room and card transactions are spot on.
What are your daily challenges at work?
Not much, really. As long as you’ve learned to be patient in dealing with drunk patrons it will just be a normal thing.
What’s the toughest challenge that you had with a guest/colleague?
Rude guests and those who doesn’t really know what they want, but they still think that they know it.
There are guests who likes to pay the bill in splits. The total bill is AED 580 and they would like to pay the AED 220 by Visa, AED 250 by Mastercard, AED 90 Amex and AED 20 by cash. It’s ok, but this is very time consuming and this is something that some guests don’t understand. There are lots of other guests in the bar that also requires assistance, it’s not only them.
It’s also hard to make mistakes involving money because finance department will get back to you in a way that you will never like. That’s why it is a no no to rush when it involves money.
What is the most exciting part of your work?
Making new cocktails, meeting new people, putting smile on their faces while they’re drinking. Learning something new about their background that I bet they wouldn’t share to anyone. A lot of interactions and infinite fun.
What advise can you give for those who would like to work as a bartender?
It is a good career. For starters, you really don’t need to be a degree holder to be one. You just have to be patient, entertaining, approachable, flexible, creative and a story-teller then you’d be effective enough. You’ll learn a lot of things as a bartender and its not limited to just the drink category but also things about life that you can use later on. If you want to be a bartender just for the money, then I think you’re taking the wrong path. No one would give you a single tip if you’re boring. Money always comes second.
If you are not a bartender, what do you think you would be?
I would be a musician. A guitar player. I love music. But also, anything related to interacting with people would be my pleasure, as long as it pays the bills. I don’t fancy myself hiding behind a computer, answering calls and having a fake accent.