It's the end of another long week, and you notice that everything behind the bar has gone unnoticed for so long, and all you see is a mess when you get there—garnishes are missing, house liquor is mixed up, napkin holders are empty, and need refilling.
It's so easy to feel overwhelmed and annoyed by such chaos. However, you get what you give in the bar industry when it comes to organization and maintenance.
A bar is only as good as its tools. Good bartenders understand that a clean and organized space is a haven for customers and a money magnet, as well.
Bartenders need to have the proper bar equipment to make drinks correctly and efficiently. This means bar equipment must be properly maintained to keep it clean and safe for use.
This blog post will discuss the best practices for bar equipment maintenance. We'll provide tips and tricks on keeping your bar tools in good condition so that you can make delicious cocktails without any worries!
Have a Planned Designated Spot for Everything
Discuss where you want to place all your bar tools, bar essentials, and display house liquors with your bartenders. Once you've agreed on where everything goes, you can start putting things in place!
This will help your bar look neater and more organized—plus, it'll be easier to find things when you need them. When you find yourself in a situation where you see misplaced things, it would be easier to just put it back in its place because you know where you should place that tool.
Keep Open Wine Bottles to a Minimum
Keep open bottles of the same wine at a minimum unless you are preparing for an event or big party featuring a specific wine.
If you have multiple bottles of the same wine open, it can confuse you and your coworkers. You will likely be asked these questions:
- What bottle was the first to be opened?
- Are they still good?
- What bottle should I first try?
- What happens if the wine turns out to be bad?
It can also make the bar look messy, attracting fruit flies. Ask your coworkers to limit the number of open wine bottles and label all bottles with open dates. This organization technique will allow everyone to verify their quality.
Follow an Opening and Closing Checklist
Everyone at your bar should have (and follow) a closing and opening checklist to keep things clean and orderly. Keeping a checklist will ensure that everyone is held accountable, and it is also the best way to make sure people clean up after themselves.
One bartender and a helper should each spend a few hours cleaning the bar on a rotating basis. This includes cleaning out the fridge, washing the glasses, cleaning underneath the bars mats, the ice cream freezer (if you happen to have one), cleaning under the liquor bottles, and not forgetting to deep clean the area around the bar sink.
An example opening checklist could include the following:
- Ensure you have all the liquor bottles you need and ensure they're clean.
- Discard old garnishes if there are any. Prepare fresh new garnishes to ensure your cocktails have their extra flavor boost.
- Check the registry and make sure there are enough singles or small bills for the night.
- Clear the bar area from any mess.
- Stock up on supplies—napkins, straws, glasses, and other supplies you'll need
- Refill any liquor running low. This is done to ensure that you won't have difficulty looking for the liquors you need when making cocktails.
- Prepare ice. Make sure you have good clean ice nearby to keep your drinks cold.
An example closing checklist could include the following:
- Check the napkin holders and refill straw.
- Rinse and dry the bar mats.
- Take out the glasses, wash, dry, and store them properly.
- Wash and store bar tools and equipment.
- Restock liquor if you need to.
- Wipe down all surfaces, especially the bar, and all that need cleaning.
- Sweep and mop the bar floors.
- Empty trash cans and recycle bottles or cans that were left behind.
- Clear any outstanding checks.
- Exchange your singles for larger bills (count banking).
Everyone working in a team will benefit from a clear system. They can walk into a routine and know what to do. This will ensure that everything is spick and span at the end of each shift.
Agree on a Rotating Deep Cleaning Schedule
Most bars and taverns employ a porter. A bar porter comes into bars, cleans up, and makes sure that the bar is clean and organized. These individuals usually change the beer keg taps, restock alcoholic bottles, and maintain inventory. They might also clean ashtrays, store bar tools, and equipment.
However, these porters do not necessarily clean everything in the bar, so it's still vital to agree on a weekly deep-cleaning schedule. This way, everyone knows when it's their turn to clean the bar equipment and perform other essential maintenance tasks.
You can either rotate these cleaning duties among all of the people working in the bar or have a dedicated team that does weekly cleaning. Either way, make sure that everyone knows what needs to be done.
Here are some ideas on the bar areas that need a weekly deep-cleaning:
- Changing beer lines
- Emptying and cleaning refrigerators and freezers
- Removing glassware, bottles
- Dusting cabinets and shelves
- Cleaning your bar machines (if you have any)
Having a deep-cleaning schedule is important for the longevity of your bar's equipment. Regularly cleaning and sanitizing will help avoid any contamination or build-up, which helps keep customers happy by giving them peace of mind when they order drinks at home!
It may seem like an extra step, but it prolongs your bar equipment’s life span and operates smoothly so you can focus more time on making awesome cocktails instead (and money).
Treat Your Bar as if It's a Distant Relative's House
Do you remember how you clean it is in your relative's house, how you take your shoes before entering and how quickly you are politely reminded to wash your hands before having dinner with them?
You can create and maintain a welcoming space for your customers and coworkers by applying the same mindset to your bar and restaurant equipment. You should, however, try to keep the bar clean and tidy at all times (though there may be some exceptions).
Respect your workplace, and you will attract more customers.
A clean, organized workspace will save you time and prevent you from spending too much time looking for the items you need, stocking up last-minute during rush hours, or trying to make a change, washing glasses, etc. It will also show customers that you are passionate about your work and are a professional in the industry.
Maintaining your bar and restaurant equipment may seem daunting, but it’s important to remember that a clean and organized space is key for both customers and employees.
By following the tips we’ve outlined in this article, you can keep your bar running smoothly and efficiently so you can focus on what you do best—serving up delicious drinks!
Have we missed any of your favorite tips for maintaining bar equipment? Share them in the comments below!