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Bar staff jobs can involve a variety of duties and can be an excellent way to begin a career in the UK hospitality sector. Bar staff jobs exist in various areas, from independent pubs and restaurants, to hotels, nightclubs and theatres.
Your duties will likely focus on completing drink orders, either directly from a customer or via a waiter/waitress. The role involves working closely as part of a team, with often heavy workloads and some unsociable working hours. Keep reading to learn more about bar staff jobs, including salaries and career development.
With bar staff employers found in many different sectors, daily duties can vary significantly. Main duties will focus on making up drink orders for customers, this can include everything from non-alcoholic beverages to cocktails. You may be working in dynamic, busy, noisy environments, such as a nightclub. Bar staff employers may require you to perform some of the following duties:
- Ensure customers are legally allowed to drink when required
- Keep bar surfaces and other areas are clean
- Ensure stock levels are appropriate, including performing stock checks and ordering stock
- Help deliver drinks/meals to customers when required
Bar staff employers and jobs do not require you to have any qualifications. However, there are some professional qualifications open to bar staff. Such bartender training often involves how to create and develop drinks, such as cocktails, as well practical issues around stock taking and customer service.
What is often more important for bar staff jobs is your personality and any previous experience you may have. Whilst previous bar work experience is of course desired, many bar staff employers will accept any form of customer services experience, such as working in a shop. Furthermore, many bar staff jobs are entry-level, meaning you will be provided with full on-the-job training. In terms of skills useful when working as bar staff, employers often look for the following:
- Hard working, determined, with good communications skills
- Patient with good customer service skills
- Honest and flexible in your daily duties
There are a surprising number of career routes for people working as bar staff. Demand is expected to continue to be high for experience bar staff, helping to create many new opportunities. Once trained, there are a number of different sectors you can work in. In terms of promotion, senior bar staff jobs, including supervisor and management-level positions will be available for those wishing to take their career further. You could find yourself running a busy bar or restaurant, or even branching out on your own and setting up your own establishment.
Starting salaries are generally in-line with the national minimum wage. However, tips are becoming more common in this role, which can make a real difference to how much you take home. Salaries rise once you have gained experience and moved into higher-level positions, with bar/restaurant managers earning anywhere between £19,000 – £30,000+ depending on the size and sector of a business.
Working as bar staff can provide excellent training and give you valuable experience and skills. The role is often fast paced and interesting, with part-time and full-time options available. You will have some flexibility in terms of the hours you work and will have the opportunity to move towards more senior-level roles if you show promise.
However, starting salaries for bar staff jobs can be low and take a long time to increase. You will likely have to work unsociable hours, such as evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays. Furthermore, you will have to deal with customers, some of whom may have complaints about services.