First come the fundamentals: prompt, informed and friendly service, but beyond those, lay a nether region of Jedi-like mind tricks for increasing tip intake...
Posted: Saturday, May 30, 2015
1. Repeat a customer’s order aloud.
Do this with every order and you're much less apt to forget or confuse drinks (verbally repeated lists are much easier to remember), and from the customers pov, it seems like you're putting extra care and effort into getting their order right!
2. Don't over-pour.
Don’t? Wait, isn’t it the other way around? Nope, studies conclusively show that a moderate pour size (ie. 1.5 oz v 2.5 oz) will result in selling more drinks in the long run (customers get satiated sooner with larger pours). More drinks = higher check averages = more in tips, as customers tend to tip based on check totals, not their impression of a bartender's generosity.
3. For group orders, place each drink directly in front of the customer who ordered it.
A bartender auctioning off drinks, or simply clustering them in front of customers, appears every bit as unprofessional as when a server (or runner) does it at a table, not to mention the time wasted sorting them out.
4. Offer drink refills before a customer's glass is empty.
On a busy night a bartender will sell A LOT more drinks by offering refills before they empty. Every minute that passes after a drink empties, significantly decreases the likelihood a customer will order another drink.
5. Never solely focus on anyone or anything for an extended period of time.
The best bartenders are usually quick to respond to a customer looking in their direction, as opposed to having to be flagged down. Bartenders that over focus on, say, a hot customer or a playoff game, invariably miss sales and service opportunities.
6. Enjoy being busy-- and hustle your ass off when you are!
Bartenders usually make 70 -80% of their tips during the busiest 20% of the night, yet we so often see bartenders who look totally stressed out and miserable during those peak times. Bartenders should be happy warriors when they're in the weeds, slashing their way out of them with a machete; if they can’t do that, they're probably in the wrong business.
7. Make a show of washing your hands frequently.
Most bartenders don't realize how often they gross out customers behind the bar by NOT washing their hands regularly. After sneezing, blowing your nose, bussing plates/ glassware, eating a sandwich, etc, make a show of washing your hands right away. Every bar has a sink and soap dispenser on hand.
8. Clearly announce comps to patrons.
Don't be coy when comping a customer, otherwise they may not even realize it was deliberate (most drinks are left off tabs inadvertently). Clearly announce the comp when the drink is delivered and include the comp as a line item on their check (as opposed to on a separate comp tab) for maximum effect.
9. Wait expectantly for a tip after placing change down on the bar.
Most bartenders simply dump change in front of a customer then quickly move on. A more profitable approach is to delay turning away, maintaining eye contact and a smile until they separate out the tip. Cheap customers are much less likely to stiff you when you're looking them in the eye, and ones that are marginally generous (Hmm, should i leave one dollar or two?), will step it up a notch, too.
10. Keep print outs of running tabs readily available so checks can be presented without delay.
Even after a flawless night of service, the biggest tip killing mistake a bartender can make is to delay handing over a check. Every minute a customer stands around waiting will weigh against the calculation. We suggest keeping tabs in front of customers (ie. in a rocks glass), but if not, somewhere nearby (ie. in a Rolodex, wrapped around their credit card). And whatever you do, do NOT misplace their credit card, even briefly. That's a total buzz (and tip) killer!