Bartending 101: Who’s Training Your Bartenders?
Half of bartenders surveyed (53%) said they receive on-the-job training, more than two-fifths (45%) said educational programs are provided by employers and one-third (35%) indicated programs are provided by suppliers and/or distributors. These three types of training are the top three sources of bartending education, according to a survey conducted for the recently completed On-Premise Bar Mixer Marketplace study by Technomic, in which respondents were asked to select all the types of bartender training or education they had received.
Casual-dining chain restaurant bartenders report a slightly different mix of educational resources. College or university classes and on-the-job training tie as the leading source of skills, product knowledge and customer service, with half of bartenders surveyed (51%) indicating as much. Local bartending schools rank third (44%). Casual-dining restaurants underindex on programs provided by the employer; that training vehicle ranked fourth (39%) and also programs provided by suppliers and/or distributors (21%).
As for hotels, on-the-job training (81%), programs provided by suppliers and/or distributors (75%) and programs provided by employers (66%) were the top three sources of bartending education.
On-the-job training is an important element of teaching bartenders their craft and the skills necessary to manage the bar and provide hospitality. The practice is also in keeping with the leading delivery vehicle for all hospitality training recently identified by Technomic in its State of Training and Development in the Hospitality Industry report developed on behalf of the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers (CHART). However, it’s crucial that the individuals providing that on-the-job training are doing so working from a foundation of skills and best practices established by the restaurant or hotel chain.
Chain restaurants and hotels often look to hire bartenders with experience in similar venues and environments as their own, or promote from within their own ranks. In today’s intensely competitive marketplace, it’s also important to weigh the value of various resources and training vehicles in hiring and training bartenders. The goal is to develop bar professionals skilled in making drinks consistent in recipe adherence and also quality, who are able manage the bar area and to provide high levels of customer service that make the experience memorable for the guest.