Multi Serving is one of the most important skills to learn and practice if you’re working in a bar doing any kind of volume in sales. Here are the key points in learning and mastering the dark art of multi serving, and why it will make you a true Jedi behind the bar.
1: Keep Your Chin Up.
The key to managing your guests at the bar, and it’s where so many bartenders go wrong in their work. The only time you should ask “who’s next?” is when you step onto the bar, and you should be asking the bartender you’re joining or relieving. If you’re letting the guests tell you who’s next to be served, you’re doomed to fail here. If you clearly look like you know the order everyone arrived at the bar, the guests will be confident their drink is on the way and will leave you to get on with it.
2: Acknowledging Your Guests Quickly.
If you want to stop guests telling you that they’re next, thats easy. Speak first. It doesn’t matter if you’re making someone else’s drink, you can still say hi, throw down a couple of napkins in front of the new guest and take their order, or let them know you’ll be right back with them. This is SO POWERFUL! Guests get frustrated with being ignored or thinking they’ve not been noticed, but once you’ve said hi, they’re comfortable that you know that they’re there and on your list to be served.
3: Don’t Take Half Orders.
This can be a tricky one in practice, but when you take an order at the bar, always end with “Anything else?” or “Is that everything for you?”. A lot of guests have been conditioned by terrible bartenders to give you their order one drink at a time for fear that the server will get the order wrong, forget drinks, or bring the wrong drinks. The last thing you want is to be re-tracing your steps to get the other bottle of beer, or being given an ice cream drink to prepare after you’ve made everything else (or a Guinness for example which needs time to settle). Check out our guide on the Setting up your bar for why.
4: Don’t Leave Your Station.
If you’re running around your bar to get ingredients, products or tools you need, taking you away from your station every couple of minutes it will be impossible to keep track of who’s next. Once again, having your station set up right is the key to this, and making your drinks on the front of the bar. Don’t take your shaker or glass and make drinks on the back bar, as again, you’re turning your back on where the action is and you won’t be able to keep track. Caveat: Of course, if your colleagues are in the weeds struggling on their section and yours is quiet, you should no be stoically standing on your station watching – ask if they need a hand. Don’t just jump in though and serve their customers; a) The bartender may have built a rapport with the guest and you may and up tip-poaching, b) If the other bartender is multi serving they may already be making the customers drinks and c) You’ll disrupt the order that the other bartender has in their head for serving their station. Just ask and then the other bartender knows whats going on with their station.
5: Use Glassware As Your Prompt.
When you’re multi serving and holding more than a couple of orders in your head its easy to loose track of the drinks you’re making, so here’s the way to never miss a drink. As the orders are placed, just grab the glasses for each drink and ice them up as needed. That way you’ll have a visual prompt to remind you of what you’re making – it sounds silly but this really works, the right glass is enough of a clue to just remind your brain what you were doing. Having all the glasses lined up also means that you look busier and look like you know what you’re doing, so guests are less likely to hassle you!.
6: Be Confident.
More than anything, you need to be confident in the order that you’re serving the guests. Have confidence and you’ll be unlikely to be questioned by anyone about being next. Multi serve confidently and people will be telling you all the time that they didn’t order that drink, and its a great feeling to let them know you have five orders in your head and still don’t miss a drink! Becoming a multi serving Jedi will get you noticed, increase your sales and make you look like a total pro!
The image at the top of the post is from, as I’m sure you all know, Cocktail with Tom Cruise.
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