Maintenance During the Mellow Months
Our Resident Bartender offers tips to service your bar during slowest season
Your staff has toasted the end of another New Year’s Eve shift with the flat champagne left in the bottles from midnight. You’ve swept up the sticky confetti, and the last of the holiday office parties are rolling off your banquet department’s calendar.
Ahh, the sweet smell of slow season is here. By all means, use that holiday stash to treat yourself to a massage and take an extra day off. You’ve earned it! But while the masses are signing up for gym memberships, it’s imperative to regroup and take stock of your bar while you can, because high tide sneaks up on us faster than we think.
SET A STAFF MEETING
It’s easy to let regular meetings slide during the crazy holiday season. One of the biggest keys to customer satisfaction is consistency, and without regularly coming together, pretty soon the cohesive unit of your team has dissolved and your signature cocktail is being made four different ways. Plus, it’s a great time to test new recipes you all have been working on, as well as brainstorm fun and effective new promotions.
DIG INTO THE DEEP CLEAN
You already have solid opening and closing cleaning lists: the no-brainers like washing tools and mats, polishing glassware, sweeping and mopping, but now is a great time to see what needs to be tackled weekly. Do a group deep clean, taking note of the things that have been neglected. Maybe the cooler hasn’t been wiped out in months, leaving behind a sticky mess. Add that to your weekly list to make it easier to manage. Do you have a regular cleaning schedule for your tap lines? If not, get that in the schedule, too. Regular maintenance makes cleaning a lot easier in the long run.
TAKE STOCK OF SUPPLIES
Grab a clipboard and spend time in each area of your jurisdiction, writing down everything that needs fixing. That one wheel on the mop bucket that’s been broken since Halloween? Time to replace. Down to three martini glasses because of a hungry dishwasher? Reorder a case. This is also a great time to create a glassware par sheet if you don’t already have one. Glasses break, it’s an ugly truth, but you always want to have backups on hand for that shotgun party or bar crawl.
PREP YOUR PATIO
Does your establishment have a seasonal outdoor patio to get ready for when the nice weather comes around again? You can get a majority of the setup completed if you start now. Repair or replace any furniture that needs it. Make sure the gas lines are working for your heaters. Wash cushion and pillow coverings and store them for opening day. Have your menu locked down, booze and dry goods ordered, tools and glassware set up, so you can roll into opening day stress free.
TAKE A TRIP
Maintenance is not only necessary for the physical space in which we work, but for our mental state as well. Find a server who’s cross-trained to watch the bar for a day (or, if you are able to close down for a day, that’s great). Take your bar team to a distillery or brewery whose products you carry for a private tour and tasting. Not only is continuing education essential in cultivating a knowledgeable and helpful staff, good ol’ R&D coupled with team bonding outside of work boosts morale. When the team is happy, your guests are happy.