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2013-2014 E-Guide

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The 25 BIGGEST MISTAKES bartenders and club managers make — and what you can do about it! by Bob Johnson I 'm going to give you several examples of my stupidity over a 50 year career of doing so many things wrong. And I remember telling everyone, "Hey, don't tell me, I've got 16 years of experience in this business!" Little did I know at the time that "experience" doesn't take the place of "knowledge." In the nightclub/bar business, you have to know what you're doing; you can't "guess" or use the "E" word (experience) to justify certain decisions. Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you're right about everything! There's nothing worse than working for someone who doesn't know what they're talking about or what they're doing, particularly the nightclub/bar business. Sadly, you just can't go to a school and major in nightclub management 101. There are no schools I know of that offer a full curriculum of teaching you how to operate or manage a bar. I don't want you to make the same stupid mistakes I've made. The bar business is a great business to be in, and I'd recommend it to anyone—but only if you know what you're doing. Otherwise, run! I learned you can only enjoy this business if, (a) you have a great, well-trained staff that looks out for you, and, (b) you do better than I in handling the problem areas I talk about in this article. I encountered all of these problems and more the first few years I was in the bar business, simply because I didn't have the ability to hire correctly, maintain an air tight inventory control system and be totally aware of how to defend myself from bartender/server theft. If I was ever going to be successful in 12 The 2013/2014 Vendors e-Guide this business, I had to put aside my ego. It was the cause of most of my problems. I always worked hard, I meant well, but the fact is I was a walking idiot! I then started reading every book I could get my hands on about bar management and bartending. I went to a bartender/bar management vocational school to learn more. I got work in every position available in a nightclub/ bar; i.e., bartender, bar back, server, cashier, short order cook, doorman, security, bar manager, general manager, etc. I even went to Hospitality Management School just in case I missed something. It was a long, involved journey, but I learned right from wrong. And I became a good, knowledgeable manager/ operator! (1) If you're hiring, are you conducting credit, character and background checks for all people who handle cash? Most owners and managers of nightclubs/bars don't do credit or background checks for people who handle cash. I didn't think they were important, either. I never checked with anyone about any applicant. I used the ill-advised "gut feeling" technique . You know, the one where she smiles at you, answers all your questions with that warm, glowing personality, low cleavage, and the clincher, "I have a really big following" (which means she either over pours, gives drinks away or deals drugs)! Did I check somewhere to see if she was a fugitive from justice? Is she a convicted felon? If you hire someone who has a mental/criminal background and you didn't check into their background, you could be sued for www.EDpublications.com

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