You know that bottle with the deer on the label, and the cross over its head? What in the hell is that?
I believe in full transparency, so for those of you who don’t know me, I help people become bartenders. It’s one of the main things I do, which is how this whole experiment with Starbuck’s began about a year ago.
If you want to learn more about how to become a bartender like my other former barista students have done, CLICK HERE to see how I guide my students to the promised land very quickly. You’ll need to see if registration is open right now, as we only open it every few weeks for a short period of time.
The fact of the matter is, I love Starbuck’s. I don’t really drink the coffee there because if I’m spending $5 for liquid in a cup it’ll be for a beer or really cheap whiskey, and not sugar-bloated sludge.
However, I love the FEEL of Starbuck’s. I’ll tag along with my wife just so I can hang out. Despite their obvious corporate dominance, it doesn’t feel corporate. They’ve done a masterful job of creating an atmosphere that makes you want to lounge for a few hours and steal their wi-fi.
In addition, they always have all sorts of nooks and crannies to sit in, and I’ve even been in some of their locations that have a comfy chair or two that belong in a master study in your house, where you might sit in a smoking jacking reading Tolstoy with a cigar and a snifter of brandy.
But the thing I’ve always noticed about this mega-conglomerate coffee house is their staff. It was about a year ago when I was in one of the Starbuck’s with my wife, waiting for her non-fat-skinny-chai-frappuccino-double-espresso-shot-extra-chocolate-extra-hot-latte the other day, that I started to marvel at what little efficiency machines they were.
Not that I didn’t already know this. I have watched them casually before, but now I started comparing them to some of the garbage bartenders I’ve witnessed while out with friends, and I couldn’t help but think that if they were working for me, I wouldn’t even have to train them that much. They were already doing most of the things that my staff was doing, but instead of being rewarded for it, they were making A LOT less money doing it. I’m talking the difference of $10/hr. to $50/hr.
It seems they don’t realize just how valuable they are, so they often stay stuck in the same job making the same low-income, yet they provide such remarkable service.
That’s when I made a decision to start targeting Starbuck’s employees to become bartenders and take my course, and within a couple of months, I had a long list of Starbuck’s baristas becoming bartenders and changing their lives around. It was AWESOME!
It’s always nice when an experiment pans out, but it wasn’t just me. Starbuck’s must have a great training program, because the transition is practically seamless for them.
With that said, let’s look at why it’s so seamless, and while we’re at it, let’s go ahead and count down from 10 to 1 David Letterman style, because I miss Dave’s blatant sarcasm and back-handed wit. He deserves a tribute as special as this.
10 REASONS WHY STARBUCK’S EMPLOYEES MAKE AWESOME BARTENDERS
10. They’re used to being on their feet for long hours. In some professions you sit in a cubicle all day, or sell cars in the show room, or spend time on a roof hammering tile nails in the 98 degree heat. Baristas and bartenders both move quickly on their feet for 6 – 8 hours at a time which is right up their ally, because they don’t like sitting and they don’t like roofing in July.
9. They already know how to use a POS system and cash register. Seems like small potatoes, but if you’re experience is more in the area of typing out reports, using a POS system and handling cash and end-of-shift reports would be completely foreign to you.
8. They’re used to working in crowded spaces. Baristas and bartenders are like those little worker ants who scurry around looking for pieces of whatever so they can stock up for the winter. If you watch them, they bump into each other briefly before moving on quickly to their next task. Same thing with baristas and bartenders: they move between and around each other quickly and efficiently to make sure their guests don’t go empty in the winter…or other seasons.
7. They are fast, with a sense of urgency. This piggy-backs on #8. This is why I believe the Starbuck’s training program is probably pretty good, because people in general don’t hustle on their own. They need a supervisor or a coach or a really good whipping to put them in that frame of mind. We all know that bartenders can get crazy-busy making drinks in a high-volume bar, but I’ve seen Starbuck’s baristas move with the best of them to get the drinks out, which is just plain good customer service.
6. They’re well-trained. I know I’ve already said this one, but it needs its own spot on the list because it’s important. In TheRealBarcourse, I teach people with absolutely no experience how to become bartenders quickly, and we have a high-success rate, so you can imagine what a well-trained, fast-moving barista could do,
5. They have energy. Don’t overlook this one. Not to bag on Walmart and the jobs they provide, but have you ever received “good” energy or a positive vibe from the staff? I know they have great prices and all, but by the time I walk out with my deodorant and toothpaste, I feel a sort of depression seeping into my pores. No energy. When you walk into Starbuck’s, or a bar/club that’s really poppin’, you feel a good energy, and it’s because the staff is hustling and bustling and smiling and they at least make you feel like you matter.
4. They have a good memory. Have you ever walked into a Starbuck’s and noticed that the person taking the orders knows the name of about half the people who walk in? Not to mention they are looking at tickets and busting out multiple drinks at a time. You can’t do that if you have to keep looking back and referring to the print outs or people would never get their drinks. Same thing with bartending. As a bartender, you should be able to hold 10 drinks in your head that were ordered at one time and then go bust them out. Practice with this makes it easier.
3. They mix stuff together, just like bartenders do. It’s true. They blend together more frothy concoctions before 9:00 a.m. than cocktails made in one night by a bartender at a Miami nighclub. All they need to do to make the transition is mix different liquids in different containers, but it’s the same concept.
2. They multitask. This is one of the most important skills a bartender can have, which is why it’s listed at #2 obviously. I have (regretfully) hired bartenders who can only make one drink at a time before they take the next order, and it kills sales…and their tips. From what I’ve witnessed, Starbuck’s baristas can multitask with the best of them.
And the #1 reason why Starbuck’s employees make awesome bartenders is….
1. Because their friendly-can-do-service-oriented attitude is off the frickin’ charts. I really should use the full swear word here because it’s aptly appropriate. Whatever Starbuck’s is doing to train their staff, I want to steal it and keep it in my pocket forever, because it works. They greet you immediately when you walk in, they smile, they joke, they laugh, they know your name if you’re a regular. They deliver your drinks quickly and they do it over and over again. I am a deep believer that customer service is the #1 factor bar owners and managers need to be focusing on to keep their place (or make their place) a hot spot.
I love Starbuck’s employees. I love hiring Starbuck’s employees at my bar. I love recruiting Starbuck’s employees at my bar.
If you want to find out if you have what it takes, simply click on the link below.
If not, keep making those lattes, baby because my wife certainly appreciates you!
Thanks for hanging out.
Cheers, until next time,
Dave, The RB
Before we dive into all the details of how to become a bartender, I have to ask you, Mr./Ms. aspiring bartender, how did you happen to arrive here?
And I don’t mean to this site or this article? I mean, what has been going through your head in the past few days or weeks which has led you to a decision that bartending might be the life for you?
Sorry to pry, but I like walking down a path together, holding hands (don’t worry, mine are soft and sexy).
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Dave Allred, TheRealBarman. For the past 6 years I have had the #1 book on Amazon on how to become a bartender. You can check it out HERE if you’re interested.
But back to why you’re here…
So what I want to know about you is, how did you get here?
Are you completely green and new onto the scene? That’s fine. All of us were at one point.
Are you fed up with making minimum wage and finally want a job that actually makes money?
I spent 3 years woking retail for minimum wage.
In a used CD store.
That sold bongs and adult paraphernalia in the back.
Or are you simply a young go-getter who is entering the real job world and wants a job that actually makes money? Good for you!
Or maybe you just want a part time job, but one that actually makes money (Anyone sensing a pattern here?).
Whatever the case may be, I want to know, because this could be a life-changing moment for you and I want to be there cheering you on…
…while holding one of those giant #1 fingers in my left hand and a glass of Whistle Pig Rye swirling in my right hand.
So here it is, you want to know how to become a bartender?
Good, take your A.D.D. hat off and pay attention for a quick second.
The most important step to becoming a bartender is making a plan beyond just learning a few skills.
What does that mean exactly? It means that becoming a bartender is more than just shaking up martinis and jiggling your ass.
It’s means it’s more than just the skills they teach in 98% of bartending schools. What they are teaching will not help you land the job.
Becoming a bartender is a simple step-by-step process, but it takes discipline and a take-no-shit mindset to see it through to the end, and every single student of mine that has stuck to the plan and saw it through, got the job. EVERY SINGLE ONE.
So what does that include? It’s different than every other video, blog post or bartending school you’ll find on the Internet or elsewhere. Here’s the premise:
Sure, there’s a bunch of details in between all that, but that’s what it takes. It involves mindset over just memorizing 500 drink recipes, which is what all other schools and courses fail to address.
It’s why YOU will be getting the job while the traditional bartending school graduate is telling the hiring manager how he knows what goes in a 3-Dollar Hooker Shot because he memorized 2,000 drinks that he’ll never make.
You need to know that. Just memorizing drinks is NOT the core lesson you need in order to become a bartender.
Bartending schools that brag about their 2,000 CD rom of drink recipes are offering are selling you something you don’t need. Like sand, in a desert.
The skills and knowledge are important, but only one cog in the machine. You need to be firing on all cylinders or you’re not going to break into this scene.
So here’s the deal: in order for you to become a rock star bartender, you need to have a rock star mindset. You need to draw your line in the sand, create some chaos and get excited.
You need to get excited. Feeding frenzies need blood and if the water is calm and clear, nothing substantial is going to happen. You need to dive in and wrestle with some sharks.
So get big. And I mean BIG. Big in mind. Big in heart. Big like King Kong. On steroids. And crack. And heroin. And Steroids laced with heroin. And crack.
Got it? Good.
With that said, if you want glimpse into what I do, CLICK HERE to check out TheRealBarcourse, which is unlike any school or online course you’ll find.
And when you order the course it’s delivered directly to your doorstep, with a small kitten included.
Ok, just kidding. The course isn’t delivered to your doorstep. This is the 21st century. You have to download your kitten.
And if you want to find your path somewhere else, I’m fine with that too. I’m just here to help.
Best of luck to you, and I hope to see you on the other side.
Dave, The RB
Occupational hazards are a way of life no matter your profession: doctors are required to be in the presence of the sick and dying, construction workers are on the constant lookout for falling cinderblocks, Alaskan king crab fisherman must avoid being washed overboard by a giant swell.
Sure, bartenders do not walk the same perilous lines as those people, and in fact you might call our cross to bear something closer to “occupational burdens” than hazards, but let’s not split hairs. In the service industry our burdens come in the form of recurring gripers and complainers and downright assholes.
If the food isn’t undercooked then the music is too loud or too soft, or the drinks are not strong enough, it’s too cold, it’s too bright, the people are ugly, and on and on and on.
I once worked with another bartender who preached that nobody should be able to eat out in a restaurant until he/she worked in one for at least 6 months. This comes straight from the “walk a mile in my shoes” ideology.
Imagine the compassion we would have for others if only we worked their job for awhile. I know a few teachers who would love to trade places with the psycho parents they deal with on a day to day basis.
With that said, I have never been a teacher and can only vouch for the bartenders of the world, so let’s call them unwritten rules, call it common courtesy, call it what you want, but here’s a list of bar etiquette for you and your friends to learn before you attend another drinking establishment that will make your bartender happy and hopefully get you good service:
On Getting my Attention: First and foremost, I am not a dog and I’m not a five year old interrupting you while you’re talking on the phone. Do not snap at me. This little attention-getter is second only to throwing things at me, which will get you tossed out on your ear.
On Cheapness: If you order a vodka cranberry and leave me a quarter, don’t act all befuddled when my eyes glaze over the next time you are trying to get my attention or when your next drink turns out to be cranberry juice with a splash of vodka.
I’m sorry our society has created this bizarre culture in which you tip people for pouring liquid into a glass, but they did, so if you want good service and a decent drink, abide by it. If not, enjoy your cranberry juice.
On the Strength of Your Drink: You would not go to a pizza place and ask them to bring out another half pizza for free because the one you ordered wasn’t “strong enough”. Do not order a drink and tell me to “make it a good one” or say “I can’t even taste the alcohol”.
This is not a garage sale, you cannot negotiate the amount of liquor for the price. I know how much liquor goes in a drink. If you want me to make it a good one, order a double. And if you can’t taste the alcohol, you’re either an alcoholic or you don’t tip well enough.
On Being Prepared to Order: Here’s an oldie but goody. I am whipping out drinks left and right, and while doing so I can see you out of the corner of my eye down at the other end of the bar waving and jumping up and down like a chimpanzee on hot asphalt.
I feel bad that no one has attended to you yet, so I hustle down to the other end and when I get there and ask you what you want, you turn around and ask your six friends, “What are you drinking?” They all look around and say, “Ummm, I don’t know, what are you having?”
Sorry, but I’m gone. I don’t have time to wait around while your friends all ask each other what the other is drinking. If you’re going to wave me down, you’d better be prepared for a rapid-fire order.
On Starting a Tab: When you order a Budweiser and give me a credit card and ask me to close it out, I assume you’re done for the evening. Do not come back five more times and order one drink and close it out. Start a tab. Be assured, I do not want to steal your credit card. You will get it back.
On Being a Girl: I don’t intend to offend, but seriously, girls, what the fuck? Why can’t you just buy your friend a drink? Friday night, 11:00 p.m. and a group of you walks up to the bar, orders four cosmos and hands me four separate credit cards.
This takes time to close out credit cards separately. Then, ten minutes later you are all back again. Four drinks, four credit cards, and everyone’s wondering what’s taking so long to get a drink. Guys buy rounds of drinks for their buddies. Why can’t you?
On Being my Best Friend: Just because you know me does not mean we are friends. Do not abuse your familiarity with me by pretending we shared a prison cell together so you can get a drink faster and impress all your friends because you know the bartender. I have lots of friends, but they don’t yell at me when they want a drink.
On Free Drinks: I don’t care if it’s your birthday, I don’t care if you’re gorgeous, I don’t care if your dog just died. Don’t ask me for a free drink. It’s tacky and rude to assume that you are important enough that I will risk my job so you can have something for free.
If you need some money to go out with, ask daddy for a raise in your allowance. It’s not like I come to your place of work and ask for a free root canal.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you’re all lovely, wonderful people, but really the only bond you and I share is the drink sitting on the bar between us.
So let’s make an arrangement: you express the type of cocktails that appeal to you, whether you like them sweet or sour or somewhere in between, and I, the craftsman, will concoct some sort of medley based on that information.
I will also provide some conversation and entertainment, perhaps lend an ear, and you go ahead and kill your brain cells and either become a happy-go-lucky drunk or a belligerent, unruly mess. I will egg you on if you’re happy and subdue you if you’re not. Your job is to be relatively civilized and respectful, and if you can do that, you just might end up with a nice strong drink.
Cheers, until next time.