Bartenders: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Education Required
- No formal education is required for anyone to become a bartender. However, some aspiring bartenders acquire their skills by attending a school for bartending or by attending bartending classes at a vocational or technical school. Programs in these schools often include instruction on state and local laws and regulations concerning the sale of alcohol, cocktail recipes, proper attire and conduct, and stocking a bar. The length of each program varies, but most courses last a few weeks. Some schools help their graduates find jobs.
- Training Required
- Most bartenders receive on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks, under the guidance of an experienced bartender. Training focuses on cocktail recipes, bar-setup procedures, and customer service, including how to handle unruly customers and other challenging situations. In establishments where bartenders serve food, the training may cover teamwork and proper food-handling procedures.
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 2% (Slower than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Median pay: How much do Bartenders make?
- $20,800 Annual Salary
- $10.00 per hour
Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.
What do Bartenders do?
Bartenders typically do the following:
- Greet customers, give them menus, and inform them about daily specials
- Take drink orders from customers
- Pour and serve wine, beer, and other drinks and beverages
- Mix drinks according to recipes
- Check the identification of customers to ensure that they are of legal drinking age
- Clean bars, tables, and work areas
- Collect payments from customers and return change
- Manage the operation of the bar, and order and maintain liquor and bar supplies
- Monitor the level of intoxication of customers
Bartenders fill drink orders either directly from customers at the bar or throughwaiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks correctly and quickly. When measuring and pouring beverages, they must avoid spillage or overpouring. They also must work well with waiters and waitresses and other kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service.
Some establishments, especially busy establishments with many customers, use equipment that automatically measures and pours drinks at the push of a button. Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must become familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests and be able to work quickly to handle numerous drink orders.
In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders are usually responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.
Careers for Bartenders
- Drink mixers
- Taproom attendants