Letting go a Longtime Bartender

Post
Sammy123
Junior Burger
2011/01/21 07:55:16
I work at a family restaurant and have a longtime bartender 10+ years that works Wed-Sunday night and I am getting fed up of her antics. She basically back talks to me in front of customers when I give a waitress a table and when the waitress did not have any tables and she had all the people at the bar. She has done this to me several times before and I was really insulted this time because a lot of customers heard the whole thing. She makes all the money during the week during the slow winter months because people who come out are the only ones who are sitting at the bar/lounge customers and then has the nerve to complain to give a table or two to a waitress sitting without a table.
 
I told her during the shift she going to get reprimanded for her actions and I honestly want to get rid of her, but this is hard because how was things run before I took over management of the restaurant because she was allowed to do whatever she wanted and now the only bartender my night customers know is basically her. As I said she works Wed through Sunday Night.
 
 
 
 
 
 
post edited by Sammy123 - 2011/01/21 07:56:25
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 09:12:15
Cut her shifts, and see if she gets the idea.
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 10:34:00
I'm not much of a drinker and don't always get "bar culture," but I am pretty good friends with a bartender.  He switched jobs last year - after being at a place for about five or six years.  His regulars followed him to his new bar.  My understanding is that YOUR customer base may be loyal to your bartender - not necessarily your restaurant.  Before we debate the merits of why that could be (over-pouring, not charging for drinks, or just plain personable?), consider that this bartender is working all of your prime shifts.  Around here, drinking nights start on Thursday and run through the weekend (part college town and all).  
 
Now I don't know which came first - your clientele or the bartender - but, you might want to see if you are going to lose a chunk of your business when your bartender finds a new gig.
MikeinRI
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 12:59:45
So did you reprimand her? What did she say? What was her reaction? Did she say that you have a point and will stop that behavior? She must understand that you manage differently than what she was used to. She has to adapt to you and the way you manage. If not, and she takes a percentage of customers with her when you fire her, hopefully her replacement will bring at least that many in.
Certainly, you can't tolerate her behavior as it is forever.
Good luck
jman
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 14:03:18
If she shows you disrespect, I'd be concerned about how she also protects your interests.  Does she overpour to get bigger tips?  Does she give a lot of freebies to her favorite customers?  Does she have her hand in the till?  Who knows, you may lose a few regulars if she's not there, but you may not be making as much off them as you think you are.
 
I'd find a bartender who is better-looking, is better-working, and has a better-personality.  I would then cut the hours of the old bartender.  She'll leave on her own.   If your old bartender has gone years with this kind of attitude, the die is set.  She won't change. 
 
Sure, there's a lot of loyalty to a familiar bartender by the regulars, but keep in mind that a fresh new face can turn the head of just about anyone. 
boyardee65
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 21:21:17
  Let me be the first to WELCOME you to roadfood.com  Sammy123.
 
  As per your post: Having been on both sides of the bar as a tender and a manager, I can't take sides. I recuse myself emphatically!!!
 
  David O.
post edited by boyardee65 - 2011/01/21 21:23:26
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/21 22:20:34
Bartending is different than work in a cubicle. So is the manner in which you  deal with a bartender with a fresh mouth. There is less of a natural filter...pc language and more like being a prison guard. A nice prison guard.
 
If Sammy is short for Samantha and you have autonomy take her to the side and kindly explain that she has more to lose than the restaurant in this situation. Let's play shut the bleep up and you go first. That should get her attention and maybe even her "respect" in bartending terms.
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 04:23:07
Do those Wed to Sunday customers come in when she's not there? If so, they're loyal to the place, not her. My general reaction is that if she mouths off in front of customers, those customers won't respect you and would understand if you let her go. Most working people know if they mouth off to their boss, they won't be around very long. Just make sure you have a good customer friendly bartender in the wings if you let her go who will soon make the customers forget the current one. Or be prepared to step in until you find one. Make sure the owner is in agreement with yoiu before taking action. If not, then maybe you should be the one looking.
 
Plan B- Hire a "Secret Shopper" to watch her to see if she's Skimming or overpouring or giving the joint away.
 
EDIT: Another Thought - If she does leave and takes her "Regulars" with her, She's doing you a favor because she's probably overpouring or giving drinks away to get bigger tips. Your volume may dip a little bit but your profits will improve. Let her go and let her take her "Profit Drainers" with her! (Just make sure that she & the owner don't have a "Little Thing" going on!)
post edited by Foodbme - 2011/01/24 14:47:32
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 06:35:15
Okay, having read all the reactions, I am of a different mind than most.First of all, as you are a different manager, have you spoken to her as to how your style is? Have you analyzed what she is doing to bring the customers in? And what kind of "back talk" are you speaking of? Have you even taken your employees under your wing as a manager? I had an incident when I took over an establishment, and the employees had been there a long time, and did things just as they were used to.I changed things, explained things, and still got the"finger" behind my back one day. I did reprimand the employee, but she eventually ended up as my assistant and we were hugely successful.
Sammy123
Junior Burger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 09:29:48
I have full control of what I can do their and got full blessing of hiring bartenders. I honestly do not have a bartender in my place that I would feel comfortable to work the night shift.
 
For the question about do the customers come other times when she is not their. The answer is I am closed Monday nights and Tuedays nights are the only other nights those customers would have a chance to come in. So I honestly they would not have a chance to come in. 
 
For the question of change her that is impossible for she told me blank " I don't give a f about anyone else except myself and I am not trying to be disrespectful "
 
Also my regulars day customers even says to me the inmates run the place. I have fired or let go already 3 malcontents that are longtime waitress including this bartender daughter who was talking to us disrespectful in front of customers. This place was run with no management for years. Employees drinking, showing up late, swearing, doing whatever they want and stealing. The rest of the staff I can deal with and still have 3 longtime waitresses, that kinda understand how things are going to be run.
 
I am in process of hiring two new bartenders but it is going to be hard.
 
Thanks
ces1948
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 11:27:36
All I can say is most companies have set procedures in place for the discipline of employees. This would include a viable paper trail of steps that have been taken. Maybe bars and restaurants operate differently but I wouldn't think so. I would make sure you have these procedures in place because you could easily get sued if you don't.
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 12:44:30
You need to write her up, each time, 3 strikes, she's out!
StickMan
Junior Burger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 13:26:34
Sammy123
  ... but this is hard because how was things run before I took over management of the restaurant ...

You get to establish a new set of rules as long as ownership supports them.  So lay down the rules and be consistent with everyone.
 
Just remember to be consistent among how you handle all employees or you can get hit for any number of claims.
 
That said, cutting shifts is the best tool in a manager's bag.  You don't have to explain your reasons and no labor regulator is going to follow up on a complaint about a shift cut.  If you are new to the store it is even more powerful as a tool.
 
Lay down the lay or you'll get rolled, IMO
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/22 15:51:55
Her job is to be a bartender. The drinks will be poured and the money will be collected with or without her. Your job is to manage the situation...overall. Not just her. Maybe for her it is about just her...but not for you. She may feel like she has total control of the situation because all of the other managers that came before you are not there and she is still a bartender. In the who's the boss game....you are it.
farmboy236
Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/23 08:30:50
  Cut your losses, these things rarely work out and she'll be doing you damage in the mean time!  Attitudes like hers are cancerous to the rest of your employees and customers.  You can bet that all of your customers that she interacts with are getting an earful.  Get rid of her.  Call a pre-shift meeting (you won't have to pay extra labor) and explain what you did and why you did it to the rest of your people; they'll appreciate the communication and you'll set some ground rules for your expectations on their behavior.  I've found open and constant communication to be my most effective tool.  Hang in there and try not to let it get you down.  These things are a negative for EVERYONE involved!  You included.
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 05:19:20
well.....after working in the bar biz on and off for umpteen years, everything from topless to college to corporate, i can tell you this....you should have fired her the first time she mouthed off to you......... from the little i have gathered from your two posts, it sounds like she might be a bit of a mother hen in the place to the other workers, like she has an "im untouchable" attitude...... the fastest way to get the attention and respect of those you want to keep is to get rid of her, your going to loose respect and control very fast if you dont make a move fast......
whatever you do, dont do it during a shift and give her a chance to make a scene and rally the customers to her favorite drinking hole afterwards.....call her monday morning, and tell her to come and pick up her last check before lunch time, also tell her at this time she is barred from the premises effective 12 noon.....then it will go one of two ways...
1- she wont show and will tell you to just mail it to her
2- she will come in...and this will go one of two ways.....
a- she comes in, you sit and talk...she leaves looking for a job
b- she comes in, raises all holy hell, she leaves looking for a job......
 
important part is, the place is closed and no one is around to see whatever happens.....
trust me, she has been there for 10+ years, its time for a new fresh face, harsh to say yes, and maybe even a cruel way to be..... but its the truth, you replace her with a younger fresher prettier face, i doubt very seriously you will notice any difference in the bottom line like stated before...
and if her replacement is flirty and personable enough, she wont need to be a great bartender to get started.....she can learn as she goes, its the best way to break a new one in any way...... 
 
i worked for a place that hires only fresh out of bartending school, and then throws them to the wolves so to say during a party event working a beer tub or outside shots bar
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 10:37:47
Just because a woman is younger...that does not mean a prettier face. Some women age more gracefully than others.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 13:09:00
I agree CC, that kind of attitude is wrong, and a lawsuit waiting to happen.
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 18:34:31
i never meant to imply that a younger woman is per say prettier then one with some age on her....trust me, i prefer a more mature woman myself.....
 
what i meant was, if you have to go to that extreme, then maximize the impact and  go for the young flirty hottie and get the best "bang for the buck"...... as long as she has half a brain in her head if she is handling money and customers that is. Like it or not, it can be compared to buying a new car.... why would someone trade in a 96 plymouth for a 99 dodge, when they can look around and get a 08 mustang? and yes ladies, were talking about the bar business here...... its a whole different animal then corporate america, so you want a mustang behind the bar......
 
and for the record, there are those of us who still live in free labor states..... i dont need a reason to fire anyone.... it can be for as lame a reason as i dont like the color of the shirt she wore to work in. that would never happen, but it could.....
in fact, as long as i dont fire her/him for a federal regulated reason (wouldnt sleep with me, work off the clock, etc....) the labor board will 99% of the time tell them not to waste their time.
 
i think thats a good thing, keeps everyone on their toes, keeps level of service high, and thats on both sides of the fence......because if i abuse a great employee, there is always someone willing to take her/him off my hands, so it really goes both ways around here.
 
i feel bad for those that are choked with lawyer poison all the time...... i want to scream when i see someone write something, and the first words out of someones elses mouth is pertaining to lawsuit worries.....not to say that legal issues aren't a real concern, but it pains me that my impression of some posters i see online (and im not picking on anyone here, i am on about a dozen different forums) is that they live their lives in fear of the over shadowing omnipresence of the dreaded lawyer poison.
 
lol, we have a saying down here........ the only good lawyer is a dead one... 
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 18:45:35
Oh honey...harder to look younger than I look and I am 41. Maybe you need to get out more.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 20:43:36
I spoke out of exprience.If someone in Wisconsin fires someone because of their age or looks, its big trouble. Just stating the facts, my dear. And I am the last one to run to a lawyer- I think America is sue happy. But discrimination is discrimination, whether it be nationality, age, etc... I am a food service professional, and have been trained in the laws of hiring and firing in my state.
post edited by annpeeples - 2011/01/31 20:46:42
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 22:33:25
I go to a bar to drink, not flirt with the barkeep.
This is a pretty sexist thread.
Do people really  not drink as much with male bartenders?
post edited by bill voss - 2011/01/31 22:45:37
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 23:38:56
i never knew there was such an animal as a male bartender until i went up north
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 23:42:16
and yes, 9 times out of 10, your average joe will stay for one more if he is in the company of a nice attractive talkative cutie behind the bar..... where as he would probably go ahead and go on home if it was some scruffy guy wearing a sleeveless flannel slinging the drinks.......
 
nothing sexist about it, its just the way it is
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/01/31 23:52:09
GoBurgeR

and yes, 9 times out of 10, your average joe will stay for one more if he is in the company of a nice attractive talkative cutie behind the bar..... where as he would probably go ahead and go on home if it was some scruffy guy wearing a sleeveless flannel slinging the drinks.......

nothing sexist about it, its just the way it is

believe me. It IS sexist and it may be the way it is in the South, but I'd find that hard to believe in the rest of the country. 
Our bartenders don't wear cutoff flannel shirts, though I like the image.
    I'm not trying to pick a fight, just found it interesting that only women were mentioned in this thread. Got it. My bad.
post edited by bill voss - 2011/01/31 23:54:25
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 00:19:23
uumm, well, women got mentioned because the OP has trouble with a female employee.....
i dont think looking at something for what it is, is not necessarily sexist...... if its a college bar with 75% female customers, a younger, well built stud would be the perfect choice behind the bar, as long as he has all the traits that make a good bartender......
 
would the sexist comment have been brought up if i was saying to replace a 10 year burn out male bartender, with a younger fresher face stud from the local college ????
post edited by GoBurgeR - 2011/02/01 00:35:57
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 00:27:40
im not trying to pick a fight either, but now i feel like ive been labeled in some sort for being from the south....
 
i still hold doors open for women, will give up a taxi if we hit it at the same time, i will not however lay my jacket over a puddle, but i would offer my umbrella on a rainy day.... and no, i most probably wouldnt do those things for a guy.....if that makes me sexist, then well, so be it.....
 
 
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 00:32:39
welcome goburger.
I didn't mean you were sexist, I meant the practice of only hiring women bartenders is sexist. You implied it is that way everywhere in the South. I know it isn't true in the Pacific Northwest. Heck we have a lady making her own vodka here in Ashland.
Organic vodka brewed in Ashland | In the news | Organic Nation Spirits
but she's the owner, not the drinkslinger.
post edited by bill voss - 2011/02/01 00:34:21
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 00:39:38
damn, lol, ya get put in jail for doing that around these parts.....
but i may know where to pick up some very good "pear brandy" on occasion, lol
 
well, my statement about not knowing about male bartenders goes back about 25 years, lol
drinking age was 16 back in those days....
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 00:43:47
and thanks for the welcome btw........lol, i was hoping to get one soon, but was afraid i was digging myself into a hole, lol
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 01:23:39
GoBurgeR

uumm, well, women got mentioned because the OP has trouble with a female employee.....
i dont think looking at something for what it is, is not necessarily sexist...... if its a college bar with 75% female customers, a younger, well built stud would be the perfect choice behind the bar, as long as he has all the traits that make a good bartender......

would the sexist comment have been brought up if i was saying to replace a 10 year burn out male bartender, with a younger fresher face stud from the local college ????


Yes...but this topic is about a family restaurant and your first post seemed like an automatic solution as if it was college bar. That is a little unfair to male bartenders who may not be either  "stud whatevers"  or  "scruffy guys" as well as females (contrary to your personal belief) who as far from being a burn out just because of any particular age . How you feel personally is your own personal business. That does not neccessarily translate to good business.
BackAlleyBurger
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 02:23:49
uumm, no.......
the topic was about a burned out bartender, the environment of said bartender is pretty irrelevant
 
and burned out does not mean old..... if she started when she was 18......that would make her 28....still pretty young, but not immune to being burned out 
 
im getting the impression that there is an age sensitivity issue underlying this thread...... neither of us know how old she may be so lets try and stay off the age issue, not that it matters now anyway, as we have totally railroaded this thread into mush....
 
my personal feelings have nothing to do with the original post, a bad apple is a bad apple, cut out the cancer and get down to business.
 
bottom line is.....good bartenders are a dime a dozen, spectacularly great bartenders are few and far between, but can be molded from a good bartender given a enough time....... male or female has nothing really to do with it,neither does age, though in REALITY each aspect has its own special needs and considerations to be dealt with.
post edited by GoBurgeR - 2011/02/01 02:26:08
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 02:31:53
Well it did sort of come into play with the young flirty hottie statements. I can say without a doubt that I personally am not sensitive about my age. If anything looking my age would be more of a blessing rather than a curse.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 09:21:02
GoBurgeR


im getting the impression that there is an age sensitivity issue underlying this thread...... neither of us know how old she may be so lets try and stay off the age issue, not that it matters now anyway, as we have totally railroaded this thread into mush....

 

age is a sensitive issue around here because we're all old.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 09:43:55
I can't say what things are like in bars these days, but I can speak the the phenomenon of Windy, the barmaid at the Powderhorn in Charlotte Amalie. Windy (about whom a popular little ditty was wrote in the '60s) was a rather attractive young thing who wore very, very short skirts when she worked -- and no undergarments. The beer coolers were at the backbar, and traffic at the bar itself was usually three deep when Windy was working and bending over the coolers to retrieve beer as it was ordered.
 
Who was the beer ordered from?  "Everyone knows, it's Windy."
post edited by Michael Hoffman - 2011/02/01 09:48:24
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 10:15:25
Michael Hoffman
Who was the beer ordered from?  "Everyone knows, it's Windy."

Oh Michael! Now I'm stuck with that song and image in my head! Too funny!
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 10:20:48
Sorry about that.
CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 10:21:50

 
Maybe. We all  do not look old. Fresh yes. Always.
 
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 10:32:21
That photo reminds me of a barmaid I used to know a long time ago.
MilwFoodlovers
Filet Mignon
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 21:23:05

 

CCinNJ
Sirloin
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/01 22:16:43
That one guy has his eyes on somethin somethin.
Rage_Phish
Junior Burger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/02/09 03:49:07
So what ended up happening?
Parrot Cage
Hamburger
Re:Letting go a Longtime Bartender 2011/05/23 11:34:26
I have a saying that I will put on my apron when I open my food truck, "My friends call me The Caribbean Character but at work I'm known as "Yes, Chef". Whether or not my employees and I are friends outside of work, business is business.