In the following post, we’ll take a look at the various bartending skills an applicant can add to their bartending resume. As you create a bartending resume, you never want to sell yourself short! This means you want to show off ALL skills you have… and they don’t necessarily have to relate to making drinks.
Below is a quintessential list of skills the best bartenders (should) have… in addition to a lengthy list of resume-worthy keywords and powerful employee abilities that bar managers and employers tend to look for.
The following should help create a powerful resume. Use these keywords in your cover letter, on your bartending resume, job-experience descriptions, or throughout your interviews. In addition, feel free to use the following to refresh your memory on the skills you already possess.
And lastly, as always, nearly all bartending jobs will be slightly different from one another. So be sure to double check the job description to give you a better direction on what skills to highlight or focus on.
Tip: If you are new to the world of bartending, here are a two other publications we wrote that complement the bartending resume topic nicely:
- How to make a bartending resume WITHOUT experience
- How to write a compelling bartending resume that gets you hired
Let’s dive in…
What are the best bartending skills for resume?
Bartending Skill No. 1: Strong Memory
Memory skills are important with any job or career, yes – but they are nearly vital when it comes to the hospitality or service industry.
Before we dive into details, put yourself in the shoes of a customer. You know that feeling as you walk into a bar or restaurant and the employees are immediately friendly? They know your name, order preference, or maybe even something personal like where you’re from. As you know, this type of personal service is incomparable to others.
As a bartender, this is what you want to aim for. Your goal is to make your customer comfortable, welcomed, and happy. Not only will this result in better tips, but it will result in them coming back over and over again until they are one of those “regulars.”
You may not know it, but the bartenders that provide this type of complementary service and personal experience all have one thing in common: A sharp memory (both long-term and short-term).
a.) Remembering Customers
The experience above is a perfect example what comes about if a bartender has a good long-term memory. The best bartenders introduce themselves, capture customer names, and store them so they can create a personalized experience next time that individual walks in the door. Bar managers LOVE bartenders that have this ability. Why?
Because it’s what turns ordinary customers into returning, REGULAR customers.
A groundbreaking survey from the National Restaurant Association’s Operator states that “regulars” make up an average of:
- 75% of sales at family dining restaurants
- 70% of sales at casual dining restaurants
- 60% of sales at fine dining restaurants
Now although this doesn’t pertain directly to bars or clubs, this metric is something to focus on as the numbers are likely to overlap in all food and beverage categories.
But it doesn’t stop there…
Once you remember a customer’s name or face, bartenders should also focus on remembering drink preferences. This eliminates any sense of discontent from the customer as they order. You know what they want, you know how to make it, and you know it’s met their expectations in the past. In addition, knowing what they want may decrease order times… and allow you to quickly move on to the next task or customer. It’s a win-win situation.
The ability or skill to not only remember people’s name but to also remember drink or dietary preference will help create “regulars.”
b.) Remembering Cocktails
This one is a bit more obvious so we won’t go too in-depth. Every employer is going to look for an applicant that can remember how to (1) craft particular drinks and (2) what exact ingredients go into each drink.
You create a happy customer when you give them exactly what they order. This is rule number one, folks. In order to fulfill a customer’s order, you must remember the recipe and how to make it in the first place.
Tip: Don’t know many drink recipes? Well, you’re not alone. Everyone has to start somewhere. Our recommendation is to start small… get to know 5 drinks very well… and then start implementing more as you gain experience. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to learn 15 different drinks all at once. Click here to learn our top 5 essential cocktails every bartender should know.
Lastly once you are skilled at remembering recipes, it means you are skilled at remembering drink portions. Although this sounds like a minuscule detail, it’s actually a BIG deal for bar managers.
Strictly following correct ingredient portions can help management successfully estimate inventories and revenues. So not only are you skilled at remembering cocktails, you can be skilled at being accurate… which results in a more stable bottom-line for managers and their balance sheets.
c.) Remembering Orders
As you already know, bars can get really busy really quick. What may look like a slow and steady shift at first glance, can quickly turn into a fast and hectic shift at the end.
In that timeframe, bartenders will be faced with the challenge or remembering a batch of orders all at once.
The best bartenders in the space can remember up to 2 to 3 orders at once… make them in a timely and accurate fashion… and deliver them to the right customer. And it’s something all bartenders should train and practice.
This will result in quicker ticket times which, of course, will make your customers happy.
We took a pretty hard look at what it means to have a strong resume so let’s review. Below are the list of bartending memory skills you can add to your resume that we discussed.
Bartending Resume Skills (Memory):
- Skilled at remembering the names of repeat customers and their drink preferences
- IMPORTANT: Ability to turn ordinary customers into recurring (returning) customers
- Good at accurately remembering portions, helping the bar save money
- Skilled at remembering a batch of orders at once, to speed up ticket times
- Knowledge of a variety of cocktails
Bartending Skill No. 2: Keeping Your Cool & Staying Friendly
Have you ever heard of the saying: “If you can’t handle the heat, get out the kitchen?”
It means that if something gets too stressful, overwhelming, or exhausting… then you should leave the work for someone can handle it. Simply put, if you can’t cope with the pressure, get out.
And if you think stress or pressure only exists in kitchens, think again. Bartending is awfully similar…
We’re talking about: Long hours, high demanding situations, people yelling, small or crammed work environments, and a countless number of orders in a short period of time a.k.a. rush hours.
Bartending jobs – as you can already tell – can be very stressful, high-energy, and extremely difficult at times. Thus, you want to explain on your bartending resume that you know how to cope with such situations.
Bar managers look for people that know how to carry themselves appropriately in such high-pressure situations.
Throughout all interactions with customers a bartender should always remain calm, collected, and polite. Don’t ever size-up a customer or talk back viciously. You have to prove to managers that you have thick-skin, and that you are unfazed by obstacles, impatient or irrational customers, or even other agitated employees that work with you.
A skill we always suggest to practice is to always use a cool, calm, and friendly tone of voice. And if your blood starts to boil, it’s ALWAYS ok to ask your manager if you can take a quick break to gather your thoughts, regroup, and remain calm.
Bartending Resume Skills (Keeping Your Cool):
- The ability to stay friendly, despite unfavorable or difficult circumstances
- The ability to “handle the heat,” work long hours, and deal with stressful people and stressful situations
- The ability to keep a calm, collected, and keep a cool tone of voice
Bartending Skill No. 3: Becoming a Good Judge of Character & Communicator
Another bartending skill worth showing off on your resume is the ability of being a good communicator and judge of character.
Bartenders will often chat with customers to create or maintain a friendly and welcoming environment. Some bartenders practice being friendly but often forget the most important part: The ability to LISTEN
Make sure that you are actually listening to what your customers are saying. You want to understand… speak to customers with a loud and clear voice… look at them while you communicate… and become their friend! Giving customers that friendly environment may result in them becoming a returning customer.
The bartending skill of being a good judge of character is something that is often forgotten when it comes to bartending resumes.
Whether a customer wants to simply get a drink vs. them wanting to have a conversation is a very overlooked skill to have. Learning how to read people takes practice, but after a while behind the bar, you’ll start to pick up on common trends and typical customers.
Perhaps a customer shows up to the bar under the influence (or drunk). This is when being an aware and communicative bartender comes in handy. The skill of recognizing someone you shouldn’t serve for their safety is another skill to highlight on your bartending resume.
Bartending Resume Skills (Good Judge of Character & Communicator)
- Giving customers a friendly environment that may result in them becoming a returning customer
- The ability to communicate
- The ability to create relationships and/or make friends with customers
- The skill of denying someone that shouldn’t be served for their safety
- The ability to read facial expressions and sense frustration
- Strong awareness of surroundings
- The ability to adapt to certain crowds
- Personable and easy to talk to
Bartending Skill No. 4: Cleanliness
Bartending cleanliness is another great skill to add on your bartending resume.
A clean and organized bar is crucial to a manager. If the countertops are sticky… if the alcohol is not neatly shelved… or if the bar smells bad in general… it’s bad business.
From the eyes of a customer, a dirty or unorganized bar may lead them to suspect the back of the house (kitchen) isn’t very different. Thus, owners and managers put bar cleanliness at the top of their priorities. Let’s not forget, every bar must pass regular health inspections too.
Other organizational bartending skills may include the ability and knowledge of cleaning (and drying) glassware properly, sweeping, inventory stocking, mopping, and closing procedures.
Bartending Resume Skills (Cleanliness)
- Know how to keep a bar organized and clean to appeal to a customers experience
- Constantly Spot Check: recognize when an ice bucket need filling and the trash needs to be taken out
- Knowledgable of health inspection regulations
- The ability to clean (and dry) glassware properly, sweep, stock inventory, mop, and understand closing procedures
Bartending Skill No. 5: Free Pouring
Free pouring (if you bar allows it) is a master technique and skill for all bartenders.
Instead of using a jigger (a measuring tool), bartenders may free pour. Free pouring is when bartenders eye-out and time appropriate portions in the process of making a drink or cocktail.
Although the free pour is something that saves time, it’s something bartenders need to practice and perfect so that the drinks still taste good, while making sure the bar is still making a profit.
The risks that comes with free pouring are:
- An under-poured drink – this mean you are shorthanding customers!
- An over-poured drink – these can cost owners a few hundred dollars a month when taking inventory into account
- A recipe mishap – a poorly made drink or something different from what the customer ordered
This is why practice is paramount!
On the other hand, free pouring is something that will result in quicker orders… shorter waits… and happier customers. So don’t forget to add this to your list of bartending resume skills if you have the ability.
Bartending Resume Skills (Free Pouring)
- Free pouring
- Free pourting with accuracy
- The ability to free pour under pressure, while customers are watching
Bartending Skill No. 6: Cash Handling
Notching in at our No. 6 bartending skill is cash handling. During busy nights, cash handling skills will become highly useful and therefore important to highlight on your bartending resume.
As drink after drink (of all types) will be ordered… it’s up to the bartender to accurately ring-in the prices. The best bartenders have the skillset of memorizing the entire drink list or menu.
This makes the customer transaction easy, accurate, and satisfying.
For example, when a customer asks for two beers and a martini, it’s vital you know the prices of each beer and the price of the cocktail. When the customer hands you a $20 bill, you now have the ability to quickly turn around, punch in the order at the register, and give the appropriate change back to customer.
Once you do the same orders a dozen times, it will get easier as you become familiar with the common bills ($5’s, $10’s, $20’s) or credit card processors.
If you are looking to improve your accuracy, we suggest taking a menu or drink list home and studying it!
Another skill to possess behind the bar while dealing with customer transactions (or orders) is communication.
The truth is, customers like to know how much an order is, despite them looking at the menu or price list themselves. A bartender that repeats order prices, in a loud and clear voice, reassures the customer that they are getting the correct order.
It’s also good to count out-loud the customer’s change to avoid any discrepancies.
Bartending Resume Skills (Cash Handling)
- Ability to memorize menus and drink prices
- Cash-handling skills
- The skill of repeating order prices, in a loud and clear voice, to reassure customers that they will receive the correct order
- Quick at counting and processing multiple drink orders
- The ability to quickly turn around, punch in the order at the register, and give the appropriate change back to customer.
Bartending Skill No. 7: Consistency
Our final bartending resume skill is, consistency. Bar managers like bartenders who can craft a high quality, great-tasting drink… But they LOVE it when you can do it 100 times a night.
It’s also important to note that drink recipes are always consistent. The portions, appearance, volumes and ingredients NEVER change.
Maintaining the skill of crafting high-quality drinks throughout the shift is great for (1) the customers and for (2) the bar managers.
Consistency can often raise customer satisfaction and secure their future expectations. On the other hand, bar managers like consistency as it is good for profits and back-ordering. Inconsistency can lead to higher costs and hit-or-miss cocktails.
Bartending Resume Skills (Consistency)
- Ability to make drinks how they are supposed to be made
- Skill of strengthening a returning customers’ confidence
- Ability to accurately craft cocktails, without over-pouring, throughout the night
There we have it. If you craft a bartending resume that focuses on the 7 essential skills talked about above, your chances of finding a job should greatly increase.
If you are still hunting for phrases, certain skills, or powerful keywords to add onto your bartending resume, feel free to utilize the list below.
Bartending Skills For Resume
An elite compendium of bartending skills you can add to your bartending resume…
Connect To a Top Bartending School in Your Area
- Ability to “handle the heat,” work long hours, and deal with stressful people and stressful situations
- Ability to adapt to certain crowds
- Accommodating Diverse Clientele
- Accurately remembering a variety of cocktails
- Accurately remembering portions, helping the bar save money
- Alcoholic and Non-Alcohol Drinks
- Attention to detail
- Attentive Service
- Bar stocking
- Basic Math Skills
- Beer, Wine and Liquor Knowledge
- Building Rapport
- Calmly Responding to Agitated Guests
- Can judge if a person has been drinking too much
- Can judge if a person just wants a drink, or is looking for a conversation
- Capture customer names, retain personal information and order preference
- Cash handling
- Cash register or credit card processing skills
- Cleaning (and drying) glassware properly, sweeping, inventory stocking, mopping, and closing procedures
- Cleaning bar
- Cleaning glassware
- Collecting or managing payments
- Communication cash-handling skills
- Constantly spot checks: the ability to fill up ice bucket, take out trash, sweep and mop
- Conversing with customers
- Counting and processing multiple drink orders
- Crafting cocktails, without over-pouring, throughout the night
- Create relationships and/or make friends
- Creating a friendly atmosphere
- Customer relations
- Customer service skills
- Decrease ticket/order times
- Depicting someone you shouldn’t serve for their safety
- Engaging others
- Ensuring customers they are getting the correct change back
- Entertaining others
- Flexible schedule
- Food serving
- Free pouring
- Free pouring under pressure, while customers are watching
- Free pouring with accuracy
- Garnish preparation
- Giving customers a friendly environment that may result in them becoming a returning customer
- Good Energy
- Good sense of humor
- Greeting and meeting guests
- Guest services
- High volume retail experience
- How to turn ordinary customers into returning (returning) customers
- Keeping a bar organized and clean to appeal to customers experience
- Keeping a calm, collected, and cool tone of voice
- Knowing how to LISTEN
- Knows what a bar should look like under health inspection laws
- Making drinks how they are supposed to be made
- Memorizing menus and drink prices
- Mixing Drinks
- Monitoring customer alcohol consumption
- Personable, easy to talk to
- Personal stress management
- Professional appearance
- Quick thinker
- Reading facial expressions or sense frustration
- Receiving orders
- Recommending other menu items
- Reconciling cash drawers
- Remembering a batch of orders at once, when necessary
- Remembering customer drink preferences
- Remembering names
- Repeating order prices, in a loud and clear voice, to reassure customers that you are getting the correct order
- Resolving complaints
- Serving drinks
- Staying friendly, despite unfavorable or difficult circumstances
- Stocking supplies
- Strengthening a returning customers’ confidence
- Strong awareness of surroundings
- Team player
- The ability to quickly turn around, punch in the order at the register, and give the appropriate change back to customer
- Verbal skills
- Wash and dry glassware
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