Pub training is one of the most often overlooked aspects of how to run a bar. Whenever you hire a new pub worker, it is important that you get that worker on board with how you do things at your establishment. Often the greatest difficulty comes with workers who have had prior pub or bar experience, since they need to unlearn aspects of their old ways of doing things to learn way you do things at your bar or pub.
So how can you make your pub training a success?
Put It in Writing
Even though you may not be linguistically savvy, it is important to get as much of your training down in writing as possible. This is especially important as you establishment begins to grow since you will no longer be able to supervise every aspect of the training pub training process. Any aspect of your pub training that you want to have done one regular way must be incorporated into your manual.
(Be sure to use an actually hard cover binder and to have the pages within. Lamination is a good idea since everything tends to get wet at some point in a bar. Be sure to keep a copy on the hard drive
of your computer to make sure you can replace it should you need to.)
By the time you are opening a second establishment the manual should be a firmly ensconced part of your pub training throughout all parts of your bar. You should update your manual to keep up with changes in your bar and you should go over it with any and all new hires.
Tip from the Pros: For steps that are easily forgotten or that start becoming a problem, remember to put up reminders. For example, if your wait staff keeps forgetting to fill the bathroom towel dispensers before the nightshift until customers come and complain. Make sure you add “Check and Fill BATHROOM Towel Dispenser” to the list of check in activities for the night wait staff. If it continues to be a problem, make it into a check off list so that wait staff are not allowed to wait on tables (and start earning their tips) until the dispensers are filled.
Place similar reminders at all the major work stations, such as in the kitchen, in the storage areas, behind that bar, and at the cash register. (All of these spots are also good areas to keep the training manual.)
Pub Management Training
All of your employees need to learn their part in how to run a bar, but perhaps the most important workers to train are your pub managers. As you grow, your pub managers will be your hands in the bar and the ones who makes sure that things keep running as you want them to. For this reason you need to take special care with your pub management training.
Pub management training can be a special challenge since you are basically trying to teach your pub manager virtually everything you have learned about how to run a bar your way. A good pub management training program is not just about learning rules but about finding out how much you trust a particular pub manager.
If you own a larger franchise, pub management training manuals and maybe even instructional videos may be provided to you by the central office. These are useful aids and you should make sure to incorporate them into your pub management training.
The best candidates for pub managers are often those workers who have worked at your establishment in some other capacity for a fairly long time, since these are the workers who already know how your establishment works and the ones who you are most likely to trust with the handover of the pub responsibilities.
Even if the new manager is a bartender who has been with you since the beginning and handles the bartender training, however, you will want to make sure that you take her through a full pub management training process. Learning a new role can be difficult even for a mainstay of your organization.
All of the your pub workers should have some level of pub training, but the ones that come into contact with the public the most are the ones who especially need to be trained. No pub workers are more important in this regard than your bartenders. Bartender training should include everything from a dress code to how to deal with unruly clients.
An especially important aspect of bartender training has to do with mixing drinks. In order for you to keep track of liquor inventory and be able to properly price drinks, your bartender training must teach your mixers how to deliver standard versions of each drink. If each bartender puts too much of his or her own personal touch into drinks, liquor costs will be inconsistent and difficult to manage.
For this reason bartender training, much like pub management training, is a continuous process. It must be refreshed every so often to keep everyone on the same page. Standard methods, such as using shot glasses or jiggers to create uniform cocktails, must be taught and retaught, and when you notice a bartender straying from this uniformity you should retrain them.
Some bartenders will resist this kind of uniformity. In some cases, if you have the kind of establishment where this kind of rebellious attitude is what brings your clients in (e.g., a biker bar or dive bar), you may have to make some concessions. However, for most establishments, it is generally a good idea to keep all pub training standard and predictable. Remember that this is primarily the pub business, not an arena for artistic expression.
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