Bartender/Bar Manager

Gumaro Guerrero

Tell us about your work---what do you do? I am a bartender and bar manager of a restaurant and bar. What skills are needed? You have to be mentally aware of people's needs . You also have to have a good attitude when you come into work everyday. You need to know how to mix a wide variety of drinks and understand basic restaurant computer programs . You must have the attitude that the customer is right 99.9% of the time. What was your major? I left school at the sixth grade to begin working for my family in Mexico. How did you get started in your career? Well, about 23 years ago I started as a dishwasher. I worked my way up to being a cook, then a barback. I have been working for the same company since I started in the restaurant business, and I have been a bartender for 17 years. What experience do you need in this job? You have to be organized . You have to know how to talk with people and take care of them . You need to know how to serve drinks and food properly. You just have to understand how to take care of the customer and make sure that every one is satisfied and having a good time. Describe your "typical" workday: When I come in to work, I check and make sure that I have everything I need for my shift. Once I am ready, I concentrate on taking care of the customer. I want to make sure that everyone has fun and has a good time. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Some of the customers! Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can't satisfy some people. Working with the staff can also be hard. You must understand, you have to work as a team . If you don't, it just doesn't work. You can't bring your problems into work: you have to leave them at the door when you come in and pick them back up when you leave. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? I like to talk. When I have a full bar, I love making cocktails. You start mixing things together and see how it tastes and then you have to come up with a name. I get to meet a lot of people, and 90% of them I really like. It is like a party going to work every day. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? A lot of people go to bartending school to learn how to be a bartender. I think it is better to start as a barback and see what you have to do on the job. You learn a lot more than you ever would at a school. Being a good bartender is much more than mixing drinks. You really have to like being around people in a festive atmosphere.