Submitted by: Ryan Barm

These are a range of standards to remember regarding cleanliness and safety measures in a public bar. It is easy to forget that these standards are also laws in many states which is why they need to be mentioned for the protection of your coworkers, yourself, and even your customers! Losing a customer can be as simple as not following these guidelines on a single shift.

Before each shift make sure your personal hygiene is taken care of. Your clothes, hair, and revealed skin should look well-kept. The better you look, the more it will reflect in tips. You want to be sure you have fresh breath, and smell good as well. The distance between you and the customer is less than you think. They will be able smell any bad odors you may be giving off. So if you just left the gym or woke up from a nap, clean yourself up before heading to your shift.


Keep your bar clean and organized so that customers have no reason to turn away. Always wash and shine bar equipment like bar spoons and cocktail strainers once you’ve used them before serving the next drink. You should wash your hands often and dry them – particularly just after contact with citrus garnishes. You’ll avoid scaling of the hands and the transfer of bacteria.

Take a look at your your hands – especially your fingernails. Customers can always see them and will notice if they re particularly dirty. Keep your nails cut short and try to have any noticeable smudges on them. They re hands for goodness sake, but they also touch everything you serve up. Use neutral nail polish colors so the focus is on you and your drinks instead of your bright nail polish. Avoid overfilling glasses. It will end in spills which can get on the customers clothes or all over the bar. If it ends up on the floor then it encourages slips which can be a safety hazard. Do yourself a favor and leave room in the glass so the customer can safely carry it from point A to point B.

Try to remember the most important rule in the food and beverage industry, Always be doing something. You should never find yourself saying, There s nothing to do. It is the fastest way to get yourself fired. If you don t have customers approaching the bar look around, you can find several things to do in your downtime. Are the liquor bottles organized, with labels all facing the same way and clean on the outside? When was the last time you polished all of the pint and wine glasses? Can you arrange your station so that it is easier to use when you finally get a customer? How about used napkins, glassware, and straws around the bar? This rule of thumb can be used by servers, barbacks, and bartenders alike. Always find something to do and make yourself useful. Otherwise you may be seeing your way out of a job.

Remember to be proactive regarding cleanliness. The importance cannot be stressed enough. Both your employer and your customer will appreciate the effort made.

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