Meet Bot-Tender: The Most Boring Transformer of All

If you’ve every wanted to know what it’s like to have a cocktail made by the Chrysler corporation in their assembly line factories, your wishes have been granted.

Check out the Bot-tender. It’s just like an Erector Set, except not exciting or fun. It’s about as warm and friendly as the cop from Terminator 2 and quick as a sloth.

If I ever take this long to pour some brown liquid into a cup and serve it to a guest, please take a jack hammer, place it on my throat and turn it on, because I don’t want to live anymore.


The Online Bartending School to End All Bartending Schools?

bartending schools

Before you say anything. I’m fully aware that I’m a walking contradiction. I tell people who ask my advice about bartending school not to go, and yet I vehemently tell people to sign-up for my online bartending school/ bartending course.

You can find out more about my course here.

Seems like an self-serving thing to do, doesn’t it? And technically it is, because I get paid for it, but trust me, it’s a very difficult position to be in.

What it comes down to is that all other bartending schools and online bartending courses are very different than mine. The truth is they are teaching their students the wrong things when it comes to helping them become a bartender. Or maybe not the “wrong” things as much as they are leaving out 70% of the lessons necessary to help people actually land the job.

If you really want to know what I think about bartending schools, watch my video.

My point is, imagine if you were Lebron James, and you taught basketball lessons on shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding and defense, and there were 100 other people out there teaching lessons on just passing and dribbling and left out the other three, but they were promising their lessons would get you a division I scholarship in basketball if you signed up for their classes.

Then people come to you and ask your advice: “Lebron, should I take lessons on basketball from these other guys?”

What do you say without sounding self-serving when you know that the other guys aren’t getting it done, but what you’re offering actually helps people get to where they want to go?

Ok, I’m not comparing myself to Lebron James. I don’t even like Lebron James (he’s a ring-chaser), but the truth is, I have the #1 book on Amazon on how to become a bartender with no experience, and now my new course is quickly climbing the ranks, so I’m tired of beating around the bush.

Allow me lead you down this path of blatant transparency:

Should you go to another bartending school?


Should you sign up for my online bartending course?


Do I get paid when you sign up for my course.


Is it worth it?

Most definitely!

Why is it worth it?

Because I don’t just teach you to memorize drinks. I lay out a step-by-step plan that gets you the job every time.

Why should you trust me?

Nearly 3 decades of experience in the bar industry, including 8 years as a bar manager/GM and 6 years as a bar consultant. I have interviewed, hired and fired more bartenders than you have hairs on your body. And let’s not forget my students, who are right now earning millions of dollars in tips as we speak.

Do I guarantee the results?

You’d better believe it. How does a LIFETIME guarantee sound? Not good enough? Ok then, 2 LIMETIMES (in case you start out poor in your next life and want your money back, or if you come back as a banana slug or something).

There, I said it. Now you can go ahead and make your own choice and I can be at peace.

If you want to learn more about my course and how I help people, click on the link below to see if registration is still open.

If not, I wish you the best of luck in whatever you choose to do in life. I really do.

CLICK HERE for TheRealBarCourse Details

Cheers, until next time,

Dave, The RB


Do You Need a Bartending License or Certificate to Bartend?

This is the 2nd most question I get asked, right after, “Should I go to bartending school?”

Here I explain the scam that bartending schools try to pull with licenses and what you need to know.

If you’re truly serious about Becoming a Bartender, you can look into TheRealBarCourse, the #1 online bartending course as far as getting REAL results. You’ll need to see if registration is open at this time though, as we only open it every few weeks so I don’t get overwhelmed.


In the meantime, enjoy the video.

See you next time,



What Should Your Pour Cost Percentage Be?

pour cost percentage

I hear the same thing from owners and managers everywhere I go: “My pour cost percentage is fine. Why would I need your system?”

Simple, sir (or madam)…because you are blind to what is going on behind your bar.

First of all, most owners have no idea if their pour cost percentage is fine or not because they don’t know what’s causing it to go up and down. Many feel that if they are at 22%, then they are doing just fine, but in reality they have no idea.

Second of all, I find that many owners don’t want to know what’s going on behind their bar. It’s absolutely insane to me that you wouldn’t want to know what’s going on in your business, but I see it time and time again.


  1. What you price your drinks at
  2. Bartender theft
  3. The accuracy of the inventory count
  4. The amount of happy hour or discount specials you sell
  5. Which product the guests order to drink

And it’s the last one that owners and managers rarely take into account. Since you cannot control what your guests order, you cannot possibly determine the financial stability of your bar based on pour cost % because it is going to bounce around simply based on your sales mix.

For example, well liquor typically runs at 5 – 10%, while premium products can be 18%, 20%, 25%, 30% or higher. Wine runs 30 – 35%, beer at 20 – 25%. Every bar is losing money on martinis. How in the hell are you supposed to determine if your bartenders are over-pouring when the products you pour run from 5% – 35%? Did your guests order a lot of wine last month, or mostly draft beer? Did they order 30 shots of Don Julio 1942 at $25 per shot and a 27% pour cost, or did they order 200 shots well tequila at 6%?

The point? You can’t possibly monitor what’s going on in the trenches behind your bar using pour cost % because pour cost % involves so many more factors than you can keep track of.


YES! That’s the answer. There is no maybe about it. If you only use pour cost % to monitor the financial health of your bar, you are missing out on tens-of-thousands of dollars—possibly hundreds-of-thousands of dollars—of profit per year, depending on the sales volume of your bar.

The reason: 95% of bartenders steal! That might sound harsh and over exaggerated, but stealing is not simply skimming money from the register. Stealing includes anything the violates the standards that are set in a bar, including giving away free drinks, drinking on the job for free, over-pouring, and pouring premium products but ringing in a lower priced product in order to make a better tip. Whatever your pour cost % is, it should be at least 4 percentage points lower. I guarantee it. Owners are missing out on so much profit it’s sickening.


Is upselling to a premium product good for a bar? Most owners would say yes. And they’d be right, because premium products bring in a higher profit, but if you solely use pour cost % to determine if your bartenders are over-pouring, there is no way they will ever upsell to a premium product ever again because the sale of premium products raises your pour cost %. Take a look.


Ideal PC % = 5.33%

Wholesale cost of bottle = $6

Retail cost per shot = $5

Retail sales per bottle = $112.50

Profit per bottle = $106.50


Ideal PC % = 17.78%

Wholesale cost of bottle = $36

Retail cost per shot = $9

Retail sales per bottle = $202.50

Profit per bottle = $166.50

But why would your bar and serving staff ever want to upsell if they are being questioned about the pour cost %?


When it comes to monitoring profit and loss in a bar, I am very religious about using variance % to determine if the bartenders are following the prescribed standards (assuming any exist) set by the owner and managers.

What is variance %? Variance % measures the difference between what is poured by the bartenders to what is rang into the POS system. In other words, if a bar’s shot portion is 1.5 oz. and 10 shots of Jameson are rang into the POS system, then ideally, the amount poured by the bartenders (expected usage) should be 15 oz. (1.5 x 10 = 15). But if 25 oz. are poured instead (actual usage), the bar is missing 10 oz. (usage difference) or 6.67 shots of Jameson, and if Jameson is $7 per shot, the bar just lost $46.69 in retail liquor.


Variance % = Usage Difference ÷ Expected Usage x 100

So in the above example, the variance % would be 10 oz. (difference) ÷ 15 (expected) x 100 = 66.67%. And in case you didn’t know, 67% variance is bad!


My goal is to get my clients down to 5% – 7% variance, but if we can get the variance into single digits, the bar will save thousands, and that’s because the average beginning variance % of the bars I work with is 34%. That means the gap between what is being poured to what is being rung into the POS—or what is missing—is one-third.


My client realized that their bartenders had been routinely over-pouring and not ringing up drink sales, for months, years, probably decades. His focus on keeping the pour cost in the 19% to 21% range was counter-productive. It had actually prevented them from discovering the high losses – and from making a lot more money.


As I’ve mentioned, the losses are staggering, and nearly every owner I work with nearly falls over in his/her chair when I show them how much money they are losing in a one week period. They have no idea.

Over-pouring is by far the biggest problem in every establishment. Just eliminating the over-pouring saves the bar a substantial amount of money. In fact, the average client of Bar Patrol loses more than $2,200 per week…$8,800 per month…$114,400 per year. That’s a lot of money to be turning your head the other way and hoping that your pour cost % is low enough.


Raising prices lowers your percentage, but it also lowers the number of guests coming into your bar. You could sell the hell out of well liquor. That will certainly reduce your pour cost %, but as mentioned above, you will earn less profit which is a ridiculous financial strategy because we all know that you put money in the bank, not percentages.

The best way to reduce your pour cost is to focus on eliminating the over-pouring and lost sales that plague virtually every bar in the world.

The most important step is to find out exactly how much alcohol you are missing, and the only way to do that is to have a system with proper software in place that can account for it. Only with the correct information, can you be sure your pour cost is as low as it should be and that you are saving the most money. Any other way, and you are a fool who will soon part from his aforementioned money.


The truth is, if you don’t carefully track your inventory, you can’t measure it, and if you can’t measure it you can’t monitor it, and if you can’t monitor it you have no idea where the leaks are occurring, and if you don’t know where the leaks are occurring how are you supposed to run a successful business? For owners who run a bar like this, failure is imminent, and if not failure, then certainly mediocrity.

As I always say, don’t be a bar owner, be a business owner.

2 10 Awesome Novelty Drink Ideas For Your Bar

If you haven’t read WHY you should find a novelty drink for your bar, go back and read 7 REASONS YOU SHOULD CREATE A NOVELTY DRINK FOR YOUR BAR.

If you don’t need any more convincing and are ready for some ideas so you can get started creating buzz at your bar, let me share with you the best 10 novelty drinks I have had that I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about with other people.

1. The Big Ass Mule.

I have to put this at #1 because it’s the one we chose for our bar. Not to mention Moscow Mules popularity has spread faster than the zombie population on The Walking Dead. The way we do it is to fill the 96 oz. cup with ice, add 4 oz. of lime juice and empty a 12.68 oz. bottle of Tito’s into the giant mug. Then top with ginger beer. One of our biggest sellers, especially on the weekends.



I have a blog post on this on the website you can read if you want which gives examples of awesome novelty Bloody Mary cocktails.

The 5 Best Bloody Marys on the Planet

The point of this is to create an outrageous Bloody Mary with a great recipe and then pile food that is unique to your place on top. This is definitely one of the most effective and memorable novelty drinks you can serve at your bar. People will talk about it constantly and you will be known as THE place to go for a fantastic Bloody Mary.



Las Vegas is the yard stick’s native home. You see these things everywhere. Frozen drinks in a skinny tube with a wide mouth up top and a giant straw to ensure you acquire the most painful brain freeze possible.

Most of the yard sticks you find have frozen drinks inside, so you’d need a blender or a slushy machine, but the more practical way to serve them would be on the rocks.



You can order these glasses online and put about anything you want into them: Lemondrops, Cosmos or any fruity martini that people would love to share.



These are native to New Orleans and usually involve some sort of hurricane or zombie-type cocktail. These work great in New Orleans because people can walk down the street with them and everyone says, “Where did you get that,” and then they tell them the name of the bar which sends people there.

Problem is, you can’t do that in most places, but people will still talk about and remember the blinky-mug cocktail they saw on Facebook.



This is a bit different because we’re not talking about the container for once. The advantage is that you can put them in just about any cocktail to liven it up which gives you more flexibility on which drinks you want to highlight, and they have the same effect as the blinky mug and the string of yarn your cat can’t ignore.



The skull bowl is perfect for any bar with that hard core rock n’ roll ambience and image. There’s nothing more badass and tough as nails than drinking a Fuzzy Navel out of a skull.


Beer towers are a major novelty attraction. In this day and age of draft and craft beer popularity, if you can serve beer towers that people can take back to their tables, you will be the talk of the town. Not to mention it makes your bar more efficient and the service faster because your bartenders won’t have to pour pint after pint. Simply hand out a tower and that group of four is good for an hour. You can actually do the same thing if you serve sangria in your bar.



Yep, you can serve these with actual fake goldfish in them. This creates terrific novelty. And I have a bonus idea for you: in my e-book, The Big Black Book of Bar Promotions, I mention gold fish races as one of the promotions, which was one of our biggest successes at my bar.

You can marry these two together to have gold fish races and gold fish cocktails to go with it. If you organize this, you will create an incredible draw. I promise you that.



In order to pull this one off, you’ll need to order plenty of watermelons, but people love this giant cocktail for sharing. What type of cocktail you put in it is up to you. You can also pump a watermelon full of vodka and serve the pieces, followed up by serving a cocktail in the bowl, so you’re able to double your profits by using all of the watermelon.


That’s all for this edition on novelty cocktails. If you have any awesome novelty cocktails you want to add, let me know.

Cheers, until next time,



1 7 Reasons You Should Create a Novelty Drink For Your Bar

For those of you new to the subject of novelty bar drinks, they are the equivalent of a cat chasing after and swatting at a piece of yarn you dangle in front of it.

Stupid cat. I own one myself (not by choice) She sits there with that superior-to-the-rest-of-us attitude, yet the moment there’s movement, she just can’t help herself. She tries to pretend she doesn’t care, but like an addict with a line of cocaine sitting on the table, she eventually can’t stand it anymore and pounces on it.

It’s quite entertaining to watch, and in the same way my cat is attracted to it’s precious yarn, people are enthralled and fascinated by novelty drinks.

First off, let’s define what “Novelty” actually means. Novelty is defined as:

  1. The quality of being new, unique or unusual
  2. A small or original toy or ornament

Novelty drinks fit both of these definitions. They are both unique and a sort of toy for your guests to drink from.

If you have never considered adding a novelty drink to your cocktail menu, I’m here to give you 7 reasons why you should.


7 Reasons You Should Create a Novelty Drink For Your Bar

1. They are flat out fun. It’s true. Like the cat with her yarn, it seems like a pointless endeavor, yet when people are drinking out of a novelty drink, everyone around them seems to be laughing and enjoying themselves. Why is that? It’s because of reason number 2.

2. They are unique and unusual. Something that all of us have in common is the need to break away from the monotony of life. This is why we go on vacations or try new restaurants. Or have a baby. We want excitement and something that breaks us out of our normal routine.

3. They give us identity. What does that even mean? It means people love to stand up and announce to the world who they are. It’s why they put idiotic bumper stickers on their cars that will never come off (“Don’t blame me, I voted for Bush”, “Teachers do it with class”, etc.).

It’s why they wear the clothes they do and drive the cars they drive. And it’s why they choose to drink something that they can post on Facebook that says, “Look at me, I’m outrageous and fun.” (See number 5)

4. They give your bar identity. It’s true. For instance, at my bar, we are Home of the Big Ass Mule. When people talk, they say, “Where were you drinking that Big Ass Mule last week?”

“Oh, that was McGah’s Pub & Pianos. Awesome drink, great times. We should go there tonight.”

5. They will be shared on social media. Think about it: people LOVE to tell everyone what they’re doing every single minute of the day on social media sites: “Picking up some heart-worm medicine for Buster at Walmart.” These same people won’t be able to wait to show everyone the cool and unique drink they’re sipping at your cool and unique bar. This is free advertising. Which leads us into number 6.

6. They will create word-of-mouth marketing. Not only will people share their experience on FB, they will talk about it the next day or even week to people they know: “OH MY GOD! I was at The Rusty Nail on Friday and they had this giant hurricane that four of us were drinking out of. It was SOOOOO awesome!”

7. They are profitable. That’s right, even though it would still be worth it based on all the attention your bar will get for serving something so cool, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to make it happen. Giant drinks (or even regular drinks) can have controllable portions that will make you as much or more profit as your regular cocktails. This reason alone should get you excited to bring on novelty drink. Profits are the main reason we’re in business in the first place.

If you’re foaming at the mouth now to find a great novelty drink you can use to create an identity at your bar and you need some ideas, check out 10 AWESOME NOVELTY DRINK IDEAS FOR YOUR BAR.

Cheers, until next time,

Dave, The RB

1 How Much do Bartenders Make?

how much do bartenders make

Or more accurately, this article should be titled “How Much do Bartenders REALLY Make” because a wide chasm exists between what they claim and what they actually make, which makes this a common and intriguing question, and one I get a lot.

A bartender’s income is not like traditional jobs that have a salary or wages. Tips turn everything topsy turvy.

And the answer to this question is going to vary based on where you live (i.e. Bismarck, ND vs. Las Vegas, NV).

I have actually already answered this question in yesterday’s blog post, Highest Paying Jobs Without a Degree: Where do Bartenders Rank?

So you can click on the link and read that blog post, or I will simply repeat all the relevant details from that article here of how much bartenders REALLY make in this industry.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

And if YOU want to make this same type of money and become one of those rockstar bartenders you always see when you go out partying, CLICK HERE to learn more and see if registration is open.

Now let’s move on to the the old BLS and see what they have to say.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics ridiculously states on their website that bartenders earn $19,530 annually.

They also claim that bartenders make on average $11.59/hr. They should just remove the “L” from the BLS because if you were to ask any bartender you ever met how much they make, it would be approximately 3 times that number (but shhhhhhhh…don’t tell anyone).

Let’s take a look at this: the absolute MINIMUM nationally anyone who brings in tips can make is $7.25/hr.

Some states can actually pay as low as $2.13 per hour for employees receiving tips, but with their tips they must make at least $7.25 per hour. It’s the law.

So at the very least, this stat conveys that bartenders only make $4.34 per hour in tips. And that’s assuming you’re being paid $2.13 per hour!

If you’re being paid $10 per hour like most people, this stat claims that bartenders are making $1.59 per hour in tips.

In their defense, the BLS is only recording what is claimed by bartenders, but there should be an asterisk next to that number on their site, because they MUST realize that this stat is false.

Here are my facts. I contacted and interviewed 100 bartenders from different states across the country (and remember that this includes slow lunch shifts at the bar on the side of i-80 running through Dexter, Iowa, as well as some Vegas & New York bartenders bringing in $800 per night).

The AVERAGE bartender in the United States (According to TheRealBureauMan):

  • Works 3.5 shifts per week
  • Works 24.5 hours per week
  • Earns $9.25 per hour in wages
  • Earns $193 per shift in tips

This comes out to $902.50 per week ($227 in wages + $675.50 in tips)

Multiply that by 52 weeks and were talking $46,930. Not bad, not great. We haven’t cracked the top 5 yet, but i’m not finished.

The most interesting thing about these stats is the hourly amount earned with wages and tips, which in this case works out to be $36.84 per hour.

Something else that isn’t factored in when the BLS created  their top 10 list of highest-paying jobs without a degree is that all those other jobs assume a 40 hour work week.

So allow me to make a similar assumption here in favor of the new bartending facts we have stumbled across.

$36.84 x 40 = $1,473.60 per week

$1,450.80 x 52 weeks = $76,627 per year

That’s amazing money for someone without extensive education, training or even intelligence for that matter. And even though my math is only based on 100 bartenders, you can certainly see how bartending is going to be extremely profitable for anyone looking for a blue collar job that acts like a mini-rock star profession in disguise.

The undeniable fact is, bartenders are killing it, and the industry is going nowhere but up.

If you’re thinking of getting into bartending, stop thinking. Get on it. It will be a wild and profitable trip you won’t want to miss.

CLICK HERE if you want to learn more on How to Become a Bartender.

Cheers, until next time,

Dave, The RB