23 Apr Confessions of a Bartender
I cannot tell you how many times I have been mixing drinks at work and a customer has leaned over the bar and inquired, “did you go to bartending school? Where did you learn to do that?”
I can never keep myself from smiling at this. No, I did not go to bartending school; but yes, I have been schooled by bartenders. My ultimate success is based on 3 things:
Merit. I worked hard as a host, then as a server, and was therefore promoted to the bar.
Study. I read books and watched how other bartenders worked.
Mentorship. I sought, and was given, hands-on training under senior bartenders. I set up and broke down the bar with them. They taught me how to hold the bottles properly, how to slide the jiggers between your fingers, how to stir and shake. They taught me recipes, tricks with the computer system, and how to maintain order and hospitality whether you have four or forty guests.
So… where do you want to go professionally? And how can you optimize a mentoring relationship to get there?
MERIT: Are you willing to do the work? Mentorships are mentee-driven – you get out of it what you put into it; and some mentoring programs select mentees based on recognized potential. So pretty much: you want to do well, what are you gonna do about it? Yes, I’m taunting you. Step up! Work hard! Show initiative! This is the montage part of the 80’s movie where our hero runs up and down stairs, eats high-protein breakfasts, chugs water and goes to bed ridiculously early to do it all again!
STUDY: another step towards your merit. Do outside research, ask questions, take a class: educate yourself on your craft! Knowledge doesn’t travel through osmosis, much to Charlie Brown’s dismay.
MENTORSHIP: Time to get your hands dirty! We’re talking hands-on activities, finding the right mentor match based on your goals, preparing and optimizing the time you have with a mentor. The fact is, a good employee (no matter the industry) with specific aspirations, chooses their mentor(s) based on their own goals. I had the privilege of working with a wide variety of personalities. I was trained by the bar manager, who was amazingly good with guests and converted customers to regulars in just one visit. But I wanted to learn more about classic cocktails so I followed around another bartender with craft cocktail experience. Next, I wanted to learn how to put your head down and crank, so I shadowed a bartender with high-volume experience.
eMentorConnect®’s KNOX mentoring platform allows users to curate mentor matches based on their areas of focus, as well as apply additional filters based on a mentoring program’s custom criteria (division, location, matched interests), and view profiles of potential mentors. Additionally, the platform continues to be a resource throughout the mentorship, providing content, resources and notifications to keep the mentorship alive.
At the heart of eMentorConnect® products and solutions is the unwavering belief that people are an organization’s most valuable resource. We thoughtfully configure our KNOX® software platform to address each client’s specific cultural and business needs, and to ensure they have a sustainable mentoring program that exceeds personal and business goals through sharing experience.