COVID-19 has been hard on bar owners and bartenders alike. As vaccines roll out, many bartenders are being left out in the cold. New York servers and bartenders can return to work with new immunity, however, bartenders in other states such as Arkansas and Illinois can only watch and wait for their turn. Whether you’re a bar owner in California, the Pacific Northwest, or anywhere else in the world, dissatisfaction remains high.
So how do you keep your bartenders satisfied and safe during this stressful time?
Advocate for Your Workers
Kindness and grace are expensive commodities during COVID, and it’s no secret that many are feeling stretched thin. The Harvard Business Review conducted a survey of 1,500 people experiencing burnout. 89% said their work-life balance was getting worse, while 62% admitted they experienced burn-out “extremely often” at work.
Your bartenders are no doubt feeling the very same stress and fear that many are facing all across the globe. Alleviating it is in your best interest, by advocating for your workers on their behalf. Pushing for safer measures and being a voice in power willing to speak up in the press often can sway the minds of the politicians who are de-prioritizing their essential service. You might not be able to get the vaccines for your employees, but encouraging customers to get vaccinated is another option for advocating in your bartenders’ best interest.
Finally, advocacy extends to listening when your bartenders have fears or suggestions. Sitting down weekly with your workers to give updates and share thoughts will do wonders for their mental health and longevity at your bar.
Improve Behind the Bar
PPE equipment is only the beginning of care and security you can provide for your bartenders. The next step moves your business into integration with point of sale technology, allowing customers to order contactless and minimizing risk for your employees.
Investing in at-table tablets and QR codes is a great step forward for your bar in general, however will also ease the burden on your workers to keep themselves safe and enforce extra COVID measures. Tablets and phones are easier to clean than physical menus and hands after touching crumpled singles. All it takes is a quick wipe down to sanitize and move on to the next order
Get Them in the Guild
The United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG) is a guild created to empower and unite those in the hospitality industry, creating and fostering connection in a time of intense disconnect. Their services center around career advancement and are a great resource for bartenders no matter what level of experience they have.
Connecting your bartenders with USBG will give them a community beyond your bar and allow them to grow and feel that there is a progression. Inc.com states that one of the most important ways to keep employees satisfied is empowering them with tools and opportunities for growth.
Investing in your employees will keep them around longer, decrease turnover, and motivate them in ways mere facemasks can’t.
Bartenders are key to success.
They act as both brand ambassadors and the key link in the drink service chain. Without them, your business can’t function. Keeping bartenders happy and safe is key for long-lasting employee happiness and the continued success of your bar in a time where growth is often stunted. Treat them with care, improve their way of life at work, and invest in their career.