24 Tips For Increasing The Productivity Of Your Bar Staff

Optimizing procedures and creating rules and systems which promote greater productivity in your establishment are ways to assist in the improvement of overall business profitability. Listed below are some strategies and tactics that may help improve productivity in your venue:

  1. As I’ve explained previously, try and consciously keep morale high amongst your staff. If your staff are happier, they’ll most probably work harder and faster (reverse this scenario: if your staff aren’t happy, they’ll probably work slower). High morale generally means they’ll complete their tasks faster, therefore saving you money on wages.
  2. Always be personally prepared for any situation. Carry no less than four pens (yes, I mean four writing instruments, because you never know when a customer needs a pen, and some of your staff may come unprepared), notepad, waiter’s friend, beer bottle opener and cigarette lighter. Make sure your staff are prepared in this manner too.
  3. Enforce a strict ‘labels to the front’ policy when your staff are stocking your display fridges. Also, enforce a ‘100% capacity at close’ rule where your staff stock your display fridges to 100% capacity before they finish their shift. This way, your fridges will be stocked (and looking immaculate) before the start of the next shift.
  4. Keep the following items available for quick access:
  5. Candles for birthday cakes
  6. Duct tape
  7. Plastic gloves
  8. Lobby Pan/Dust pan
  9. Basic tools, including screwdrivers and a wrench big enough to turn off any broken taps
  10. Scissors
  11. Cake knife
  12. A4 Paper, sticky tape, thick marker (for writing signs)
  13. Try and position your POS keypads so that they are as close to service areas as possible. Try to make the walking distance from the bar/floor to the POS keypads as short as possible.
  14. Have a list of things to do when it’s quiet. Have a checklist of cleaning tasks that regularly require attention. Make sure your staff know where this list is, and also make sure they write their initials and the ‘date completed’ against each task (this way, staff won’t double-up on a task, or perform the task too frequently).
  15. Make sure all service equipment is serviced regularly. Make sure your ice machine’s air intake is free of dust (it will produce ice faster with an unrestricted air intake).
  16. When your venue is quiet, pull all bottles in your display fridge forward (instead of restocking them). Try and do this on the quietest day of the week. It is important to rotate your stock (remember FIFO? This means organising items so old stock is sold before new stock). Sometimes stock at the back of the rows in your display fridges can lay there for weeks if new bottles are re-stocked in front of them.
  17. Organise incentives for your staff. This can be an individual incentive, or a group incentive. In my experience, group incentives work far better than individual incentives – group incentives bring your team together and drives them towards a unified goal.
  18. Every one of your staff can give 25% more effort when they are required to. Make a conscious effort to thank and reward them when they do.
  19. Where possible, use small pre-packaged portions for perishable items. This will lower the chances of the stock perishing (perished stock contributes to a loss of profit). Talk to your suppliers and see if they can offer products in smaller pre-packaged amounts.
  20. If you have a bottle of wine which requires chilling from room temperature, place it in a wine bucket filled with ice, water and a few tablespoons of salt. This will cool the wine at a faster rate (don’t try and quickly cool sparkling wines – they’ll fizz easily upon opening).
  21. Get lots of clipboards. I understand this may sound odd, but in my experience, clipboards breed organisation.
  22. Create and publish a weekly memo. Write yourself notes during the week as you find items that you need to communicate to your team. Write the memo regularly and without fail – regular communication manifests positive results.
  23. Make sure all wastage and spillage is recorded, without fail.
  24. Remind your staff that ‘if they have time to lean, they have time to clean’. This is an age-old hospitality saying!