How to Run a Bar: 4 Essential Manager Qualities

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

Depending on the size of your bar’s restaurant, you may be the only manager, at least for a while. But many people recommend that you get at least one other person to help with these duties as soon as you possibly can, just so you can have some semblance of a life.

Managers supervise employees, ensure the bar is running smoothly, and communicate with customers. They manage schedules, inventory levels, purchasing practices, and sanitation policies. They’re essential to keep your business running well. If things are going right, the owner’s doing his job; if things are going wrong, the manager is to blame.

When you’re ready to take the plunge and hand over some of the control to another manager, here’s what you should look for:

  • Punctuality: Okay, this may seem totally obvious, but sometimes the bar business gets a little lax on this particular point. But remember, a manager sets the expectation, and employees don’t deal effectively with the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality.

  • Integrity: You need someone you can trust to take care of your bar the way you want it taken care of. You should be able to trust the person with your money and your business while you’re away.

  • Positive work history: Definitely check references and make sure anyone on your management team has glowing reviews.

  • Previous experience: Anyone in management should have extensive experience in a bar, restaurant, or hotel. Now, having said that, some hospitality schools are cranking out qualified candidates who may not have management experience but may be considered for management-trainee positions. Just know that if you hire an inexperienced manager, you’ll need to spend some time getting her up to speed.