The Importance of Training Your Bar Staff

You need to have an elite staff if you want to make money in a bar or nightclub.

Sure, it helps if you have tasty cocktails and a trendy atmosphere. But, it’s the quality of service and guest experience the staff provides that keeps customers coming back to your bar.

Plus, you want to keep making money, right? That’s why you own a bar (managers, you know you want that bonus!) Portioning ingredients and avoiding over-pouring are key to bringing consistent sales and people through the door. Training your bartenders with a proper training program is like constructing a building with no foundation.

Bar owners, you’ll face plenty of challenges. It might be leadership styles, struggling with inventory or systems, but training takes the cake when it comes to why bars fail. Managers, these are also reasons why you’re struggling, too!

That’s why a training program is so important. So, invest in bartender training and you’re bound to maximize your return, have smoother shifts, and see an overall increase in your bar’s productivity.

Whiskey Business, Not Risky Business

But first, before you go any further, you should be aware of the risk and threats you, your bar, and your job might have to face if you don’t train your staff.

ID Issues

A new hire that can’t tell a fake identification from a legitimate one can cause a buffet of problems. Your bar and staff member can be held responsible for any injuries, or death, that follows serving an underage guest alcohol.


The limit to liability risk doesn’t exist. DUIs, emergency protocol, tripping hazards—and that’s just to name a few.

Lack of Business = No Business

Even in a normal market, it’s said that 61% of independently owned restaurants fail in their first three years. Now, in an unknown economic condition, almost 80,000 venues have closed. Part of their failure can be blamed on shotty operations and simple training programs, to keep things consistent and the guests coming back.

The Easiest Tips Ever to Train Your Bartenders (Even Restaurant Staff!)

A well-oiled team of bartenders and bar staff doesn’t appear out of thin air! If it did, there’d be a lot of better restaurants and bars in the world.

Training is the secret sauce! Every bar owner should be adhering to these rules for training their staff.

  • Make drink recipes accessible. Consistency is key! Your signature cocktail should taste the same no matter which bartender is behind the stick. Create a bar bible, template, or waterproof recipe cards that your staff can grab if they need a quick refresher on how to make a drink. They’ll know exactly how much to pour in their jigger and which garnish to use, not wasting any of your money or confusing regulars.
  • Hold pre-shift meetings. The dreaded pre-shift or stand-up meeting. This is where you gather your staff that’s working that shift and tell them everything they need to know: specials, 86 menu items, and special guests. They exist for a reason, and it’s because they work. Read more about pre-shifts here!
  • Let your staff try what they’re selling. This is a mistake we see bar owners make all of the time. Don’t be this person. We know it seems pricey to let your new hires try a bunch of drinks and food. But how else can they upsell that amazing tequila if they don’t know how to explain it? Group as many people as you can (pre-shifts are great for tastings!) and ask your kitchen and lead bartender to whip up some deliciousness.
  • Test and quiz your staff. You never wanted to be a teacher (that’s why you run a bar), but testing your staff periodically will do two things, emphasize the seriousness of knowing recipes and products and keep the information fresh in their bar-brain.
  • Hire a team of professionals. Dogs can judge humans fairly accurately. You need to do that, too. Know exactly who you’re hiring. Try to hire applicants that already have some level of experience, it’ll make your training job a bit easier. Plus, some people just don’t have the hospitality ‘it’ factor and will never make great bartenders. Sorry to them, but hold out for a more genuine personality.
Here’s how you can succeed with a bar training program:
  • Tips on hiring the proper staff, from barbacks to hosts
  • Putting the right people in right place through job placement
  • Over-pouring (and how not to do it!)
  •  Reducing your insurance premiums
  • Developing strong, efficient company policies
  • Enforcing a “comp policy” (There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!)
  • Point of sale, or POS systems, which one?
  • Picking the right type of spirits for your bar
  • Getting your team trained, certified, and ready for the season
  • Maximizing profitabilities

Reach Crazy High Daily Sales with a New Training Program

Ownership of a bar can be tricky, but training your staff makes it a bit easier. Streamline your operations with our years of experience and expertise.

Local Bartending School | In-person training is great for onboarding multiple people at a time.

Take your pick of hourly or package deals, in-person or virtual, and even consultation with bar owners who lead the path, Local Bartending School can help you transform your bar staff.

Keep your bar staff in the know by sharing our blog with them! Recently named one of the best blogs for bartenders by Feedspot, they’ll learn how to make more money, necessary bar lingo, and marketable days for easy upselling.

Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Lipe has been writing creatively since childhood but jump-started her professional writing after college. She's an Indiana native, Ball State Hospitality graduate, and a bartender with over 10+ years in the industry. You can find her making basil Moscow mules when she's not writing. Follow her professional journey on Instagram! @contentbycarriejean