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Bartender Interview Questions

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  1. How do you engage with patrons to make them repeat customers? See answer
  2. How do you handle multiple patrons’ requests for drinks and checks at the same time, while you also need to fill supplies to complete orders?
  3. What types of bars have you worked for previously, and how similar or different do you think this bar will be compared to your past work experience?
  4. Have you ever created a new drink? What ingredients did you include?
  5. What is your knowledge of food sanitation and safety procedures, and how do you incorporate them into your daily work habits?
  6. A patron returns their drink twice, saying they don’t like it and want you to make it again. What is your response?
  7. A patron asks for a drink that isn’t on your menu and that you’ve never heard of before. How do you respond?
  8. Are you comfortable working at night, on weekends or on certain holidays? What strategies do you use to stay upbeat and alert during night shifts?
  9. How do you differentiate between the terms “neat” and “on the rocks”?
  10. A patron has already ordered several drinks and doesn’t look well when they approach the counter once again. What is your response?
  11. Can you provide an example of when you remained calm under pressure as a bartender?
  12. A crowd of patrons waiting for drink orders continue to block the counter and other patrons are starting to seem upset. How do you react?
  13. Have you ever had to organize transportation for a patron when closing the bar?
  14. What is your experience serving food items to patrons?
  15. You have the night off, but your manager calls asking if you can work because your coworker called in sick. How do you respond?
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6 Bartender Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

How do you handle multiple patrons requesting drinks and checks at the same time when you also need to fill supplies to complete orders?

A:

Bartenders need to have an exceptional ability to manage time well so that all patrons are served promptly. It’s very common for multiple customers to want service at the same time. Also, a bartender might even need to fill supplies, such as ice and ingredients, to complete orders. This question gives the interviewer an opportunity to assess a bartender’s ability to organize tasks, prioritize or even ask for help.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to prioritize
  • Bartender’s ability to stay calm while under pressure
  • Willingness to ask for help when needed

Example:

“It’s important that every patron is served in a timely manner. One technique is to organize similar drinks together to serve more quickly.”

Q:

How do you engage with patrons to make them repeat customers?

A:

Developing rapport with patrons is one of the most important components of building a base of customers who come back repeatedly. The response that you’re looking for will depend on the type of establishment and the bar’s overall image. This type of question lets the interviewer better understand the candidate’s ability to engage patrons, what types of techniques he or she uses and which situations he or she feels most comfortable in.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Comfortable engaging with a range of guests
  • Techniques used to engage patrons
  • Overall demeanor with customers

Example:

“Engaging with guests is a top priority, and I like to use humor to make people comfortable and ensure that they have a good time.”

Q:

What types of bars have you worked for previously, and how similar or different do you think this bar will be to your past experiences?

A:

Not all bartending environments are the same, and depending on the culture and the drinks served, experiences can be very different. Some bars might focus on serving martinis, and in others, a bartender might be serving beer. Drink knowledge can differ, and the culture and image that the bar is trying to portray might be different, too. The expectations of bartenders and interaction styles with patrons can vary as well.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Awareness of differences between atmospheres
  • Understanding of different styles of drinks
  • Preferably, some experience in a similar bar

Example:

“I’ve bartended at several cocktail bars. I only made martinis there occasionally, but I’m familiar with the basic process, and the atmosphere here is similar.”

Q:

Have you ever created a drink and, if so, what is it similar to?

A:

Bartenders can sometimes help establishment owners come up with new drinks or put a twist on old ones. Through time and study, bartenders can learn which ingredients work well together and how to incorporate certain techniques. Asking candidates about the drinks that they’ve made lets you know two things. Firstly, you’re able to assess which drinks an applicant is very familiar with, and secondly, you can assess his or her creativity.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of basic drink-making principles
  • Passion for creating new drinks
  • Specific examples of drinks they have put a spin on

Example:

“I put a twist on popular drinks. For instance, I use spicy vegetable juice in bloody marys and add extra Worcestershire sauce for extra-hot appeal.”

Q:

What is your knowledge of food sanitation and safety procedures, and how do you incorporate them into your routine?

A:

Serving food and drinks that are food-safe is vitally important to any establishment. Without proper food-handling practices, restaurants and bars can make people sick or have their businesses shut down by state agencies. Safe practices for handling food also help build trust from patrons. When you ask candidates about their knowledge of food-safety techniques, you’ll better understand their habits and attitudes about this aspect of the job.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding of state-specific techniques
  • An attitude that values food-safety practices
  • Specific examples in which they’ve used these techniques

Example:

“Serving safe-to-drink beverages is important for ensuring long-term business. Cleaning the ice bin is one task that ensures ice is clean and safe for consumption.”

Q:

A patron returns their drink twice, saying they don't like it and want you to make it again. What is your response?

A:

Bartenders are responsible for making drinks for bar patrons and perfecting drink recipes to maintain customer satisfaction. However, there are instances where customers display dissatisfaction with their drinks and request refills. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's ability to handle constructive criticism and maintain excellent customer service, even when interacting with a particularly difficult patron.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Commitment to customer service
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Positive attitude

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"First I would apologize to them for the inconvenience and I would ask them what it was that made them dissatisfied so I could try to fix it. At my previous job, some patrons returned their drinks if they felt it had too much ice or not enough of a certain flavor. If I remade it and they still didn't like it, I would again apologize and suggest a different drink that has similar components."

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