7 ways to get the best bar staff and keep them
By: Jean-Paul Diaz-Caneja
Reading time: 4 min

You might have the coolest bar, the trendiest food, the best music, but if you’ve also got the worst staff then you’ve a big problem. You might think it’s difficult to recruit personable, customer-focussed bar staff, but follow these seven tips for recruiting and keeping the best staff and you can’t go far wrong:

RECRUIT

  1. Tell the right story

It’s important to decide what role you want to fill: do you want someone who’s looking for  a long-term career or someone who wants short-term work in a friendly atmosphere? Your job ad needs to tell a different story to attract the right person;

  • For long term staff you’ll want to show that there’ll be opportunities, responsibilities, skills to learn and great benefits.
  • For short term staff, emphasise the fun, lively and sociable nature of the job. If there are perks like meals, then let them know that, too.

It’s important to be honest. If there are no opportunities or it’s not a fun job, then your new recruits will be out of the door quickly.

RECRUIT

  1. Hire for attitude, not skills

If that friendly, super-personable, intelligent candidate already has every front of house skill you’ll ever need, that’s great – but don’t worry if it’s not the case. If you’ve got someone with the right attitude, then you can help them develop the skills. Creating a positive, energetic attitude in someone who just doesn’t have it is much more hard work. Great attitude will usually include:

  • Likeability: look for good eye contact, genuine smile and easy conversation. Confidence helps.
  • Service-oriented: bar work is service work and its goal is to give customers an excellent experience. Has your candidate demonstrated this by trying to give you an excellent recruiting experience? Have they turned up punctually, smart and prepared? Find out more about their attitude to service – ask them what makes great customer service or what they’d say to an unhappy customer.
  • Enthusiasm: have they researched the role? Are they asking you interesting questions that show they have thought about it? Or are they just going through the motions?

RECRUIT

  1. Go where the talent is

If you’re still recruiting the old fashioned way, you’re missing out on thousands of great candidates who just won’t see your ad. Especially for short-term bar work, social media and mobile platforms are the way forward.  Try:

  • Creating an exciting campaign on Twitter or Instagram.
  • Screening out candidates using online psychometric tools.
  • Making it easy for the candidate to apply, using job apps and mobile-optimised information capture tools.
  • Speeding recruitment up: don’t ask for in-depth CVs and cover letters which take ages to put together and respond to.

KEEP

  1. Invest in skills

Job mastery can be a great motivator for them. Training is not a badge of shame, but proof that you’re happy to invest time and money in your staff’s skills. If you invest in them, they’ll feel valued, more engaged with their work and less likely to leave. Training doesn’t just mean upskilling through off-the-job courses. It can mean:

  • Job shadowing
  • Bringing in experts e.g. wine experts, for a knowledge session
  • Taking it in turns to choose the playlist and explain their choice

If you’re a believer in lifelong learning, every experience can be a learning opportunity.

KEEP

  1. Make it fun

Younger people especially are drawn to bar work because of the element of sociability and of making friends. Make sure that your culture encourages fun, a team-spirit and good times. Avoid a blame culture and encourage an open, honest atmosphere. Treat everyone fairly and give your staff leeway to invent games, choose the playlist and have as good a workday or night as possible while giving excellent service.

  1. Involve them in decision-making

Involving your staff in day-to-day decisions or long term planning gives them a sense of control and can be motivating – and who wouldn’t want the creativity and ideas of the people who do the work? Make sure it’s not just lip service, and you actually think through what they’ve suggested. If they see their suggestions acted upon, they’ll feel a sense of ownership and belonging, as well as feel appreciated.

  1. Keep it challenging

Even in the most fun environment, a boring job can be a downer. Good staff like to be challenged. Keeping them professionally challenged will keep them interested. Try:

  • Job rotation
  • Assigning new or different responsibilities
  • Assigning them special projects that help the business

 

If you’re looking to hire top bar staff, advertise a job for free now on our platform!