Stirring Up Staff Loyality

Stirring Up Staff Loyalty: 6 Tips to Reduce Bartender Turnover

Any bar worth visiting usually has an experienced bartender at the helm. They know all the patrons and can whip up drinks in their sleep. When they leave, it can take a massive toll on the business. Replacing an experienced bartender is a costly and labor-intensive process.

 As a manager, you must do all you can to keep your valuable staff with you for years to come. Here are some great tips to reduce bartender turnover rates at your establishment.

1. Ask for Feedback

Sometimes, staff members want to give feedback but don’t feel like there’s any opportunity or avenue to do so. Thus, their concerns go unheard and issues in the workplace go unaddressed.

Show your staff that you value their input. Establish open channels of communication between you and your team. You can open a special feedback email or form where they can submit their thoughts. You can also prompt them periodically to submit feedback about the workplace and your management.

 The most important thing is to address and act on feedback promptly. This way, your bartenders can feel more involved and appreciated.

2. Improve Work Conditions

People leave their jobs if the conditions are too difficult for them. Bartenders can work eight or more hours daily, and some are on the graveyard shift. It’s a demanding job with difficult hours and little time to rest. Thus, bartenders are susceptible to burnout and general fatigue.

You must improve your staff's working conditions to encourage them to stay with you. Give them a stable schedule that will allow them to build a life around it. You can also offer plenty of scheduling flexibility, especially for staff with children.

Help your staff manage the physical and mental stress of the job by giving them enough breaks. Allow them some time to rest at the back and gather themselves together before coming back out and serving another round of drinks.

You can also help make the bar environment more tolerable. There’s not much you can do to prevent drunks from getting rowdy. However, when your bartender refuses someone a drink, show up for them and show them you trust their judgment.

3. Give Growth Opportunities

Not all bartenders are passionate about what they do. To some, it’s just another food service job. However, some do love the art of mixing drinks. If you have a passionate mixologist on your team, it’s wise to feed their passion and help them progress in their career.

Give your staff a chance to learn more about their craft. Invest in further training and send them to events and conventions. Invest in any bartending certifications they can sign up for. You can also encourage them to join local competitions.

Senior bartenders can also benefit from management training. At some point in their careers, they are eligible to mentor young bartenders and teach them the basics of the trade. Senior staff can be more qualified to manage new bartenders with the right skills.

4. Enhance Salary and Benefits

The top reason why people leave their jobs is low pay. People need to survive, and with the current inflation and economic climate, it’s not surprising that employees are leaving for greener pastures.

To better retain your bartenders, give them a competitive salary and good benefits. Give them periodic raises based on performance. When raises are not feasible for your business at the moment, consider giving your employees performance bonuses and other incentives.

Keep in mind that a high turnover is more costly than simply giving good benefits and competitive pay. Replacing employee costs 150% of that employee’s annual salary. Moreover, you'll spend more on training new employees and lose out on profits while they still adjust to the job.

5. Show Your Appreciation

Everyone needs validation, especially at work. If you don't acknowledge your bartender's efforts, they will likely leave and seek a more appreciative workplace.

A survey shows that 53% of employees will stay at their companies if their managers only show more appreciation for their work. Show your staff that you value their contributions to the team. It can be as simple as sending a regular message with everything you want to thank them for. You can also do a weekly shout-out for team members who went above and beyond.

You can also host monthly team meals to show your gratitude. Team activities can show appreciation while also cultivating community within your staff.

6. Offer Lots of Support

A bar is a high-pressure work environment. Customer behaviors change as more and more drinks flow. Every day, bartenders can encounter rowdy, aggressive or disruptive customers. On top of that, they need to perform a physically taxing job on their feet for hours on end. Bartenders can feel overwhelmed and pressured all the time.

As an employer, you can help your bartenders get through the stress of their jobs. You can offer support by facilitating weekly check-in meetings. Ask them how they feel and what support they need. You can also enact an open-door policy, encouraging your bartenders to approach you if they have any issues at work.

Raise a Glass to Better Retention

Keeping your best and most experienced staff is a matter of giving them what they need. Whether it’s higher pay, recognition, training or a listening ear, giving your team the right support can foster loyalty and encourage them to stay with you.


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