Back to Basics– Five Strategies for Becoming a Better Bartender

Bartending BasicsThere are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to public safety, and the legal and moral issues of serving alcoholic beverages. Looking to improve on your own marketable bartending skills? Read on for some tips on putting your best foot forward.

  1. Get TAM® certified. Nothing is more important to your success as a hospitality professional than responsible service to ensure the safety of your patrons and to reduce the liability and risk for yourself and your business. Carry your TAM® card to show you received the best possible training, and sign up for one of our online or onsite classes today.
  2. Brush up on the latest cocktail and mocktail trends as well as any ‘back of the basics’ techniques you need practice with. A great bartender will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves. You’ll need solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, so it’s important to learn how to mix drinks correctly, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. Check out blog post “What’s On Your Summer Reading List? Best Books for Bartenders” for some reading suggestions that might help you to increase your knowledge and skill level.
  3. Keep your bar well stocked, your work area clean and neat, and have glassware, liquor and bar tools in the most functional place possible. By having a clean, efficient and streamlined work area, not only will it set the stage for your guests, it will make it easier for you to do your job well and turn out orders efficiently and effectively. At the start of your work day, make sure everything is in its place, and when you have down time between mixing drinks, make sure to keep things neat and tidy.
  4. Excellent customer service comes easier if you keep a cool head under pressure. Providing the best customer experience possible will be much easier if you are able to keep calm on those busy Saturday nights behind the bar. Don’t over-commit yourself, if you feel yourself getting stressed, take a few deep breaths. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy.
  5. Recognize your weaknesses and strive to improve. Nobody is perfect; maybe you’ve gotten constructive criticism from your manager in your last review, or maybe you’ve examined your own work performance and know areas you need to improve on. Whether it’s improving on multitasking, working under pressure, basic techniques, or something else, it can be done. Just remember that approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively and work to make necessary changes.

You should now be well on your way to making positive improvements in your work performance. What other advice would you give to someone looking to improve on their bartending skills and techniques?

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Are You New to Nevada? You Must Complete Nevada-Specific Alcohol Awareness Training

TAM CardAlcohol education cards from out-of-state won’t transfer in Nevada. Industry professionals should complete alcohol awareness training with TAM® of Nevada to meet local requirements.

Are you a new resident in Las Vegas? Welcome to Nevada! Workers are drawn to this great state for its booming entertainment and nightlife industry, and all of the hospitality jobs that come along with the action.

Have you already received job-related alcohol training in another state? We often receive inquiries from out-of-state students asking if their alcohol education cards and education are valid in Nevada. Unfortunately, liquor laws are specific to the states, counties and municipalities, so no, alcohol licenses are not transferable. All individuals hoping to work in the beverage sales and service industry in Nevada must complete an alcohol training program that has been approved by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education. TAM® of Nevada is an approved provider, and the only official provider of TAM® Cards in the state of Nevada.

Individuals that need to obtain their TAM® Card can complete their training online or in a traditional classroom environment with our certified instructors. Additionally, we now offer open lab time on Tuesdays for students who would like to complete their alcohol awareness training online, but do not have access to a computer. Students are welcome to visit our training center and use our computer lab to complete their training on Tuesdays between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Likewise, classroom-based training is available at several convenient times throughout the week, including Spanish classes on Tuesday evenings. Check out our alcohol awareness class schedule to find a class that is convenient for you!

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Are You Ready to Take an Alcohol Awareness Exam?

StockSnap_BBX50H7QEZRead on for tips on how you can prepare for your final exam.

The State of Nevada’s Commission on Postsecondary Education requires that students pass a supervised exam with a 75% or better before being issued an Alcohol Education Card. What does that mean for you? If you complete your TAM® training online you must physically go to the provider’s approved school location to take a proctored exam after finishing the online training. If you opted to complete the course in a classroom setting you will take a test immediately following the training session.

Are you nervous about taking and passing a test? Fear not! TAM® of Nevada has been helping students prepare for their exams for over 25 years. Before you come in to our official training to obtain your TAM Card, read on for more tips on making sure you’re prepared to pass with flying colors. Rest assured the training you’ve completed with TAM® will leave you prepared to ace your exam, and excel at practicing safe beverage service techniques on the job.

How long is the exam? The exam is 25 questions. It takes approximately 15 minutes for you to take your exam and have your picture taken for your TAM Card. Most students find the test to be a breeze after participating in TAM training; all questions are a review of the material you covered during the course.

Is there a Practice Test? You bet! Students who elect to complete TAM® Card online training will take a practice test at the end of their online training. This is one of the best ways to prepare for your proctored exam; you’ll get an idea of the types of questions that will appear on your final exam and have the chance to complete a final review before taking the real thing. If you’re planning to wait a few days to take your proctored exam, you can refresh your memory on the material covered by going through the TAM Student Manual before leaving for our office.

What if I take a classroom course? Traditional classroom training will leave you equally prepared for your test as the online option. Feel free to take notes and ask questions during the class. Our instructors are there to help and make sure you’re comfortable with all of the material. They love being able to answer questions and discuss the particulars of safe beverage service with students!

Relax! Take a deep breath and focus on the questions. You’ll do great!

What other ways do you like to prepare before taking an exam?

Resources

Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Tending Bar… With a Little Flair!

Flair bartenderLearn a new bartending skill and stand out from the pack.

There are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to public safety, and the legal and moral issues of serving alcoholic beverages. Think you might be right for the job? To get a leg up on the competition, being able to entertain patrons with flair bartending techniques can be the cherry on top. And the best part? A flair bartender can do pretty well for themselves, especially if they can entertain while serving. A flair bartender will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves.

Flair bartenders are known for using bar tools and liquor bottles as props to entertain while they are mixing drinks. It can be quite a sight to see someone juggling liquor bottles, mixing drinks behind their backs, carefully setting fire to mixed drinks, and more. Las Vegas is home to some of the best flair bartenders in the country, and boasts several bars and clubs that showcase their talents. If you’re considering a career as a flair bartender, Las Vegas is the place to be. Make sure to check out Vegas.com’s article, “Behind the Scenes: Flair Bartending in Vegas,” for a video interview with Rock & Rita’s flair bartender Anthony Pullen.

So you’re ready to become a flair bartender? TAM® of Nevada has some tips on how you can get started:

  1. Get educated on bartending techniques. Flair bartending requires a solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, practice, practice! Before you start juggling liquor bottles, it’s important to learn how to mix drinks, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. It won’t matter how well you can entertain if you don’t know how to make a martini. Consider attending a bartending school if you haven’t already, there are several reputable establishments in Southern Nevada. Some of these locations also offer flair training, so be sure to ask for details of what their programs offer when you’re checking credentials. You can also get lots of practical education tending a bar and learning the ropes from other traditional, and flair bartenders.
  2. Obtain your TAM® Card. All hospitality professionals in Southern Nevada are required to obtain their alcohol education card prior to working at a location where they’ll be selling and serving alcoholic beverages. The Techniques of Alcohol Management® will give you the skills and knowledge you need to serve responsibly.
  3. Practice makes perfect. Every day at work you’ll have the chance to handle bottles and shakers, so practice spinning shakers in your hand and doing simple tricks when you have some downtime. Starting with the basics and working your way up to more difficult tricks, you’ll begin to feel comfortable with your props and impress your guests at the same time. You can also watch plenty of flair training videos online for tips and tricks to learning basic flair bartending moves. A great resource is TAM of Nevada’s YouTube channel; we’re always adding our favorite flair bartending videos and tutorials. Another tip? Try practicing at home with plastic bottles until you get the hang of things – you will inevitably drop some bottles, and nothing will put a damper on your day faster than a mess of shattered glass to clean up.

Flair bartending is not a skill one will learn easily or overnight, but it can be done! For more information on flair bartending news, training and industry information, and a place to network with other bar professionals, you can always check out the Flair Bartenders’ Association.

Our most important advice of all of all? Remember to have fun! What is the best advice you would give to someone looking to start a career as a flair bartender?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada