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Bar Management News

Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

April 17, 2009 By: Robert Plotkin


Working for blowhards is a bummer. Their caustic temperaments inevitably create toxic work environments, which in bars or restaurants, dissipate staff morale, undercut performance and foster the conditions for theft. Is it a leap in logic to presume that bartenders might find it easier to rip off a jerk of a boss? Were there a set of commandments governing the conduct of owners, the tablets would certainly include the following.


Get With the Program. When the doors are open, rank has no privileges. An owner needs to think of himself as part of the crew and work within the established chain of command. Few utterances can derail constructive communication more effectively than the phrase, “As the owner, I think I have the right to ...” Aside from stating the obvious, it’s typically followed by an emotional outburst.

Leave the Jaguar at Home. It’s a cruel fact, but most owners of bars and restaurants don’t live paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us. So how about leaving the Jaguar at home and driving the family sedan when stopping by the bar or restaurant? Likewise, don’t hold the staff holiday party on your yacht or palatial estate. Flaunting your good fortune can spark negative consequences.

Required Skill Set. When the doors are open, an owner can usually only perform one invaluable function, namely schmoozing the guests. By simply strolling into the place, the owner is certain to attract attention from the staff, but shouldn’t that be lavished on the guests instead? Don’t let your staff be your paparazzi; prompt them to turn their attention back to the real celebrity in their midst -- the guest -- by showering the patrons with your own dazzling smile and hospitality.

Heavy-Handed Comp’ing. Doling out free drinks is expensive. It deprives the bar of sales, depletes product, increases liability and more often than not results in the bartender getting stiffed on a tip. Owners looking to make a lasting impression should hand out cash instead.

Playing Favorites. A classic way to dismantle staff morale and foster turnover is for managers to exhibit bias toward a select few. Those outside the clique inevitably feel that their position within the company is being threatened. Favoritism is a pocketbook issue, one that will ultimately deplete your own.


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