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10 Signs your bar department needs help

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" is the name of a song, it should not be your bar selection.

1a. Your cocktail menu is outdated. Your featured items include such cocktails as the Sex on the Beach, Cosmopolitan, Long Island Ice Tea and yes the Cuba Libre.

1b. You have no cocktail menu. I asked a server for the cocktail menu and he said "We don't have one and that there is no demand for cocktails". I took a good look at the beautiful restaurant, it has a nice looking bar with potential. So I told the waiter, "So it's a catch 22. You get no cocktail requests cause you don't have a cocktail menu or a bartender, and with no cocktail menu or bartender there is no confidence in ordering a quality and a truly desired cocktail"

2. Product selection is very limited. One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer is a song, it should not be your bar selection. Every good and profitable bar should have a properly stocked bar and with products that fit the concept and identity of the place.

3. Under qualified bartenders. Do your bartenders google cocktail recipes every time a drink is ordered? Can they prepare a basic classic perfectly? Do they look nervous and out of control instead of calm and confident? Do your guests stick with basic drinks due to lack of confidence in the bartenders ability? If so, your business is failing.

I understand the need to limit the staff, but that should be done with proper scheduling. The loss of revenue for not having a bartender far out weighs the salary saved.

4. Lack of a proper inventory & control system. With no inventory control and no system to keep the staff honest, expect to lose at least 25% of your sales. Unacceptable and irresponsible.

5. Inconsistency. Are your bartenders making cocktails differently or worse yet, is the same bartender inconsistent during his/her cocktail making process? Standards needs to be set.

6. No set pouring standards. How much alcohol is poured for a Gin & Tonic, or a Martini or a Negroni. Is your glass of wine controlled and standardized?

7. No clear vision or concept. Your bar menu is poorly designed, cocktails don't represent the establishments concept, lack of products and ingredients to properly represent the establishment, glassware, bar layout, staff appearance all play a role in unifying the vision and concept.

8. The no confidence vote. Guests order basic drinks instead of what they really want. This limits your potential revenue and does nothing for your marketing.

9. Low or out of stock. Bar often running out of stock or dangerously low? This comes down to poor inventory management. Lack of a proper inventory system will lead to many problems, such as lost revenue, no control over costs, inability to track potential trouble area, poor management practice and a strong probability of theft.

10. Poor Bar Management. Are the bar staff complaining on a regular basis? Do the same problems keep reoccurring? Are systems ineffective? Is the bar manager overwhelmed? Is your bar manager hard working but under qualified. If the answer is yes, fix it. Let Bar-Ops help and train your managers.

11 (Bonus) Poor hiring practices. This is straightforward. Poor judgement, misguided reasons, lack of proper evaluation.

12 (Bonus) Don't know how to maximize the bar. Your strength is the food aspect. Therefore, do what you do well and get the right professionals to do the rest.


Call Bar-Ops. We love what we do and we work hard at it.

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