Bartending is a popular profession, Male and female bartender at the bar counter. Alcohol drink preparation. Two barmans working in pub

Bartender On the Job Training

 Bartending is a popular profession. An estimated 600,000 jobs will open up in the next 20 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, training can be tricky due to busy work hours, the pressure to serve effectively, and often working odd hours (you can learn more about how much bartenders make). What’s the best approach? Use multiple methods to get the most out of new employees.

Before the Bartender’s First Day

Before the first day, it’s essential to send training that can be taken quickly online without even stepping on-site. For example, bartender courses such as Serving Alcohol’s Master Bartending course or our Alcohol Seller-Server training are fast and accessible at home, or on the go on any device that has internet access. Alcohol Seller-Server training such as the one that Serving Alcohol provides, goes over alcohol and its effects, general server duties, information on interventions, how to card, and state-specific requirements set forth by governing bodies. Other courses might include soft skills/customer service, safety, and equipment training. Check out our Bartending 101 article to learn more.

two professional bartenders at work First Day Shadowing

On the first day make sure to bring in the new person at a relatively slow time. Then assign a veteran, trusted, and capable employee for them to follow around. Have them take notes on how to make a specific drink, plate food, run the register, clean, use tools, and any other essential tasks that are completed during one shift.  Don’t try and do everything at once and in one day. Make sure that shadowing can continue for at least once a week and graduate capable employees out early if the situation allows for it.


Assign a mentor to your new employee. The mentor is someone who is well versed in state laws, best business practices, and house policies. This person should be able to answer questions when a supervisor isn’t present. Give the mentor a budget for taking the mentee out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner outside of the establishment. Make sure to allow for compensation to the mentor for their lost time and tips. In addition to Responsible Alcohol Manager training, you could even offer a Manager in Training position to the person who stands out at completing the mentorship task. 

Continued Education female bartender garnishes a drink

At specific points in an employees cycle, they’ll want more. More experience, more understanding, and even more money. One of the easiest ways to keep employees is by offering continued education. Allow for a yearly budget of each employee so they can participate in artisanal cocktail or food classes. Offer management training for employees who shows promise. And always remember to return to your state-required training before the due date. Due to busy schedules, you should allow for at least one month to ensure that no lapses occur. For general information on obtaining a bartender license (not specific to any state), see our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Bartending License.

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What other training opportunities do you offer employees? Do you have a process that’s shown great promise? Share it below.