Nobody’s cooler than Brian Flanagan…If you’re born after 1982(ish) you’re probably asking “Who the @#$% is Brian Flanagan?!” Actually, you probably already googled it and know more about him that I do. But, in case you didn’t, Brian Flanagan, played by Tom Cruise in the cult 80s movie ‘Cocktail’, was a hot shot bartender who knew how to make any drink, did it with a lot of style, and at the end of the night, never went home alone. He was that guy at the bar that every woman wanted and every guy wanted to be… at least in the 80s.
Back in the 80s, popular movies, like Cocktail, were filled with Brian Flanagans that, somehow, possessed a god given ability to say the right thing, always know what needs to be done, and overcome adversity to win in love and fortune.
Almost 30 years later, and in real life, we know things tend to be more complicated. Today, we know that success is hard work, and most of us don’t get a eureka moment that makes all of the chips fall miraculously in place, resulting is some advanced level mixology as ideology.
Due to some evolutionary mishap, none of us emerged from our mother’s womb knowing how to perfectly rim a glass and tell when a customer has had too much to drink. Such “features” would save a great deal of trouble, time, and money involved in training a bar staff to be the legendary bartenders customers deserve. So if the bartenders of 2018 want to be anything like Brian Flanagan – it is going to take some work.
The ingredients of a good bartender
Efficiency and success depends on personality, experience, and, most of all, training. Sure, there are plenty of bartender courses available online and offline. Heck, spending half an hour on YouTube can help a college jock holding a bottle of rum fool his buddies into believing he is a bartending pro. But, we both know that YouTube videos (with all due respect) are not enough to turn your average Joe or Jane into a good bartender that’ll keep your customers happy. That requires some additional work and training.
Since there’s no way to magically bestow years of experience of mixing, serving, and gabbing on a fresh green bartender, training becomes a necessity. Thousands of companies already use Connecteam to deliver training, and recently we’ve seen many use Connecteam to create bartender training apps or simply called bartender apps.
Why do you need a bartender training app?
What does your average bartender do on their break? Survey says, the number 1 answer is check their phones. Though, you probably didn’t need a survey to know that. 25% of millennials look at their phones more than 100 times a day! Nearly 50% of them look at their cellphones at least 50 times a day. It’s a mobile generation, and if you want to connect and deliver courses, policies, shifts, and pretty much anything else it needs to be done on cell phones.
If you want them to also enjoy their training modules, swap shifts on their own, fill in forms on their mobile phones then you need to be doing it with an app designed for bartender use.
There are plenty of features that can be included in your bartender app, and they offer a lot more than a bartender booklet attached to a clipboard ever could. It’s also a lot easier to carry around. A bartender app turns your boring and static training manual, into a dynamic database of knowledge and fun interactions.
Pour in the basics
Training sucks! But, it doesn’t have to. You can provide all the materials straight in the bartender app, without having to create specific orientation or employee onboarding days, which are useless past the lunch break anyway as everyone slowly shifts into a food coma. The bartender app provides flexibility for both managers and bartenders. Bartenders can review, complete, and sign employee handbooks from anywhere at anytime. The app will file them away for you so big time win win!
A good bartender app will offer a document library, where you can create, edit, and publish any type of manual or training material you want your employees to have access to. These can include your standard safety rules and corporate guidelines, but also other important and useful information you might not even think to include if you’re compiling a bartender training manual from scratch.
Sometimes, the training process can be overwhelming leaving you unsure where to even start. Most bartender apps should offer training manual templates available for free through the app. The templates can then be populated with and customized with your own touch and “garnish” that make it specifically relevant to your establishment.
Mix it up
From helping locate items in inventory to saving time looking up relevant contacts for HR and accounting matters – there’s no doubt that entering information once in your bartender app database is more effective that repeating information over and over to the new guys as they come aboard.
Your own bartender app is just as good as a paper manual, but also gives you the flexibility to do more with customizable data attests. You can get really creative and add that special extra by having an always-on information database for your bar staff that is maintained and updated by people you trust – you.
For example: You want a collection of interesting and uncommon drinks for you bartenders? Google search them, then copy and paste the link as an Object into the Asset. Now you have your very own customized list of unique drinks your bartenders can impress clients with every day for at least a month. You can also create a quiz to make sure your bartenders are aware and remember your weekly specials.
Adding the garnish
A well trained bartender is the perfect first step in the right direction. However, once out of bartender boot camp, the rigors of the day to day open-to-close can take a toll even on Brian Flanagan. So, to avoid your bartenders running off to the Bahamas (another reference to Cocktail, in case you missed it), you need so simplify the day-to-day operations and remove the stuff that grinds down your staff and you.
Most online training manuals include examples of regular tasks with detailed instructions on opening and closing procedures, inventory order management, cleaning, etc. Having these routine tasks available in a bartender app is essential, and this is important so I want you to really lean in and listen. A good bartender app should remove the day-to-day grind by doing the following:
- Send out daily task reminders – Instead of you having to walk around and do it.
- Receive notifications when bartenders complete tasks – So you don’t have to micromanage them.
- Send out daily updates on specials, stock status (86), and anything you like, really.
- Receive updates on 86ed items, damage, stock (like glasses, etc.)
An app that can do all this for you is not only a time and money saver but creates a fun work environment. Leave the micromanagement behind and turn face to face communications into something that the staff enjoys and looks forward to.
Another feature hospitality service managers find useful in their bartender app is time and shift management. Features like integrated time clocks and dynamic shift swapping forms can make operations a lot smoother, and also give you a lot of insight into your bartender performance.
Last but not least – interactivity. Features like quizzes, employee polls and other types of gamification components you can add to your collaboration app making training and engaging employees so much easier than any other medium.
Put your bar data to use
Information goes both ways. While providing your bartenders with online tools and information sources to help them do their job more effectively, you get access to invaluable reports and insights into how your bartenders are using their app’s documents, workflows, communications, time clock and PTO assets.
If a certain bartender is not using the app you have full visibility and can send them a reminder to use it more often. On the other hand, if a bartender is very active in their use of the app, you can see that too and reward them accordingly. When it comes to processes and jobs, you can also see how long it takes a bartender to open, close or setup and reward those that are quick and efficient.
It’s impossible to mention training without talking about trainers – the people. Brian Flanagan knew that he was nothing without his mentor and father figure, Doug Coughlin, who taught him everything he knew. This is especially true with jobs that have techniques one can only learn by observing.
Odds are that every bartender you trust to serve clients has been personally mentored by a supervisor or an experienced co-worker. So when creating the training manual for your staff, consider not only the trainees, but also the trainers, and how they use the guidelines and manuals.
Arming your staff with digital, always-on tools, to do their job better is no longer just about cutting training costs and streamlining processes. A bartender app gives you a competitive edge your business simply needs to attract and retain the Brian Flanagans of today.
Creating an app to engage, train and inspire your bartenders might sound like an undertaking, but you’d be surprised at how cool an employee app you can create in the time it takes the average bar regular to finish a pint.