Bar Manager Responsibilities: Should You Hire One?

Marketing 15 minute read 6th June 2024

Behind every successful bar is a talented bar manager. These individuals are the secret “rope pullers” and the orchestrators of those simple successes you don’t notice as a customer. They may — or may not — be pulling pints, but rest assured, there are plenty of bar manager responsibilities to learn.

Bar managers are the backbone of this sector of the hospitality industry. They are the point of call for customer service hiccups and staffing schedules. They also set the overall tone of the bar’s atmosphere and guest experience. Even the rockiest days quickly return to smooth sailing if there’s a good manager.

In this guide, we’ll break down the role of a great bar manager. We’ll help you to understand the nature of the bar manager position and whether you need one in your business. Get ready for definitions, help writing job descriptions, and a summary of benefits.

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What Do Bar Managers Do?

Bar managers run the show. Bar manager duties and responsibilities range from inventory management to organizing bar staff shifts and managing demanding customers. Bar management involves various tasks and a flexible, calm mindset.

Chances are you already understand the role of a bartender. And for those debating whether bartending is a good job, a bar manager job is much more versatile. Instead of primarily pulling pints, taking orders, and running payments on a till, you juggle the business. You have more involvement in organizing stock and staff for shifts.

This means for a single day, you organize the staffing rota, check the inventory, and order anything that’s running low. You would be there to open the bar and liaise with early-starters like chefs (if you’re running bar restaurant operations).

Throughout the day, you may jump on the bar yourself, helping bartenders at busy times. You’d also be planning future staffing rotas, printing menus, and dealing with any unruly customers. Bar managers may help in marketing depending on their specific role description and the bar.

A successful bar manager has a really mixed plate of tasks — that’s why previous management experience is so sought-after.

Hopefully, that answers your question, “What do bar managers do?”. Bar manager job responsibilities involve being a “jack of all trades,” involving tons of different tasks and areas of expertise.

However, understanding this is half of the battle. All you need to understand is that bar managers are responsible for the bar’s daily operations, from staffing rotas to inventory.

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How To Write a Bar Manager Job Description

So, you’re planning on hiring an effective bar manager? Great. That’s going to be a fantastic asset for your business.

However, this is a double-edged sword. For one, you’ll be trawling through bar manager resumes like no tomorrow. And secondly, what does this indicate about your employee turnover rate? Did you know there’s an average of 73% employee turnover yearly in the bar and restaurant industry? That’s huge and costly.

Losing a single member of staff costs $5,864 on average. This is a real kick to the teeth when considering bars already run on tight profit margins. So, when you write a bar manager job description, keep it as honest and accurate as possible. This way, you reduce the likelihood of having to hire again.

Establish a Salary Bracket and Experience Non-Negotiables

You need to be realistic with your salary bracket and decide on the level of non-negotiable experience you’re demanding.

Due to their added responsibilities, bar managers ultimately earn more than bartenders. However, they can generally still expect the perks of the bartender’s salary, including tips. The average bar manager salary in the US starts at $45,000 a year, plus tips and bonuses.

The more experienced the candidate, the higher the salary negotiations need to be. If you offer a lower salary (e.g., $25,000-$30,000), prepare yourself for less experienced candidates. In this case, you also need to budget to increase the bar manager’s salary in alignment with their professional development.

Nail 3-4 Soft Skills and Characteristics You’d Like

You’ll already have established the hard skills when advertising for a bar manager. For instance, “customer service skills” or “3 years in a similar management role”.

However, these skills and experience aren’t all that define good bar managers; responsibilities often benefit from soft skills, too. Perhaps they have a wicked sense of humor? Or maybe they are cool, calm, and collected? Maybe as parents with young children, they’re expert negotiators and kind and patient in the face of emotional outbursts.

Always include up to four characteristics and soft skills you’d like to see in your manager. This helps you determine whether they’re a fit for your company’s culture and atmosphere.

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3 Main Benefits of Hiring a Bar Manager

When opening a bar, proceeding with yourself as the manager can be tempting. After all, you can oversee a team of bartending staff (and maybe chefs, cleaners, and marketers), can’t you? This dedication to being at the forefront of action is admirable.

However, we’d say put this on pause for a second and just hear us out. There are definitely plenty of benefits to hiring a bar manager instead. These are the three main points you should consider.

1. You Free Up Your Time

As the bar owner, you can choose to be the face of the business. However, by hiring a bar manager, you can take “the face of the business” outside the bar’s four walls. Having that free time is immensely valuable.

You can attend industry events, help with marketing, and network on your bar’s behalf. This allows you to focus on expanding your business rather than just running daily operations.

2. You Allow Company Culture To Flourish

It can be challenging for company culture to take off when you’ve got a business owner in the mix. Sure, you could manage it. But with your close interest in the business, blending friends with work and business is harder.

It can be tempting to micromanage and harder to switch off when you are in the middle of daily operations. By hiring a bar manager, you can take a backward step and keep direct management more impartial.

A great company culture means fewer hiring costs and higher customer satisfaction. In short, it’s precisely what you need.

3. You Avoid Burnout

Having a bar manager also helps you avoid burnout. You can’t be doing everything at once. Furthermore, managing a bar is so demanding that it needs to be an only role.

By stepping back, you can avoid burnout and focus on bigger tasks like marketing your bar. You then have a single individual who will manage and run your bar for the majority of the time.

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What Isn’t Included in Bar Manager Duties?

Of course, bar managers don’t do everything; they aren’t magic. You don’t usually include a few things in bar manager duties, including marketing content and detailed accounting tasks. Things like hiring staff and holding disciplinaries are gray areas—bar managers would likely be present but not solely responsible.

When hiring new bar managers or accepting a role, it’s essential to establish what isn’t part of managerial duties.

Some roles may advocate for a more “hands-on” approach, meaning bar managers help serve during busy hours. Others may request marketing and hiring input. It all depends on the bar and company.

As a general rule, these are the things you should consider when addressing what is and what isn’t included:

  • Hiring new staff
  • Holding disciplinaries
  • Marketing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Serving customers

Covering Extras Apart From Bar Manager Responsibilities

So, as a bar owner, how do you cover these extras that don’t fall into bar manager responsibilities? You’ll need to invest in separate hires (like marketing staff or HR) or proper tools and software. Here’s what that could look like.

You could hire permanent members of part-time or full-time staff. For instance, you could hire a full-time marketer or part-time bookkeeper. If you opt for full-time staff, this will likely cost $40,000 a year for US-based businesses.

Of course, this is tax-deductible, so it’s swings and roundabouts whether it’s financially justifiable for your business.

If you don’t want an expensive hire after splurging on a bar manager, you could also choose freelancers or agencies. For example, you could partner with a recruitment agency or freelance marketer.

Finally, you should look at passive software, and tools you can use to cover tasks bar managers don’t.

Have you heard of WiFi marketing? WiFi marketing is an excellent investment for bars and acts as a hoover, collecting valuable customer data. With captive portal software, you can relax and let your WiFi collect things like email addresses and mobile numbers for you. We’ll cover that more below.

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Beambox: Using WiFi as an Extra Staff Member

WiFi is a massive part of your guest experience. And, even better, when you use it properly, it may be like an extra staff member. WiFi is a whole new level of value, and the secret to unlocking it is captive portal software.

Captive portal software simply syncs with your existing guest WiFi. When guests click to join your WiFi network, the software opens a web page pop-up. This pop-up displays a form of your creation, requesting whichever details you’d like to collect. You could collect email addresses, social media interactions, or phone numbers and ask for whatever you want.

Once guests input the requested details, the software allows them to proceed and fully access your WiFi. Boom. Customers have a great experience, and you get great marketing details. It’s like having a full-time marketer just watching your WiFi.

As a bar, you know how much people value having guest WiFi. WiFi rules supreme, whether it’s to share pictures on social media, message friends, or answer emails (there’s always one workaholic). The best thing is that adding a captive portal is low-cost yet makes a huge difference for your bar.

If that sounds good to you, we’re your people. At Beambox, we provide all-in-one WiFi marketing software complete with a personalized captive portal for your bar.

Start your Beambox free trial today and sync your WiFi with our advanced software. You’ll tick bar manager responsibilities and WiFi marketing off in one fell swoop.

Grow your business and customer loyalty with guest WiFi!

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