There are two crucial factors to running an efficient bar: making sure it's well stocked, and clean. That (along with well trained staff!) will allow your bar to run like clockwork.
But maintaining a clean bar isn't as simple as a quick wipe down at the end of a shift. Working with alcoholic spirits and fresh ingredients means that failing to give the bar a full clean will leave it...a little on the nose!
(And no one wants to sit down to a cocktail at a bar that reeks of old beer...)
So, to maintain high quality cleaning in your bar, draw up a foolproof cleaning schedule. With daily, weekly, and monthly tasks; you'll be able to breakdown what seems like a formidable job, into bite-sized pieces.
It's everyone's responsibility
As a bartender, your role doesn't begin and end with serving drinks. You are an employee of the bar itself, and that includes maintaining it's cleanliness.
Bartenders are responsible for taking out the rubbish, restocking the bar, maintaining the safety of the customers, and yes...making a damn good cocktail. So don't take on the responsibility of cleaner, as well as business owner. Everyone must chip in. Make sure all staff sign off on a chart to confirm that they have completed a certain task.
A stitch in time, saves nine...
Leaving the full bar clean to a single day, with a single person, will be an overwhelming task! Breaking down the cleaning tasks into smaller jobs that can be knocked over daily or weekly will make it far more manageable.
Figure out what needs to be actioned every single day - such as mopping floors, or sterilising glasses - and what can be done weekly or monthly, such as cleaning bar windows or placing restock orders.
Split it out into opening and closing
An efficient cleaning schedule needs to be customised for opening and closing procedures. There is, after all, no use leaving the restocking until closing time, nor is there any logic mopping between the closing of the night previous, and the opening the next day.
Look at your list of daily duties, and figure out what needs to be done before customers arrive, and what can be left until the bar closes.
A schedule means nothing if missed
Looking around a bar, what do you see that needs to be done? A quick wipe down, cleaning the glasses, maybe sweeping the floor? At a visual glance, many of the crucial bar cleaning tasks can be overlooked.
Take your time to properly draw up a complete list of tasks, and take notes over the course of several weeks to catch those less regular, but equally as important jobs.
Some of these include:
- Wash the glassware shelves and netting, and rotate the glasses on a regular basis. This will lessen the chances of the glasses sticking to the shelf matting.
- Clean the back-bar liquor displays.
- Clean all of the bottles behind the bar.
- Check the water level in the condensation trays of the refrigeration units. Drain water if necessary.
- Switch off the refrigeration units and clean the side grills. Ensure that air is able to circulate freely around units.
- Clean the automatic glass washer, including the jets, filters, scrap traps, and wash arms.
- Check gas bottles for gas levels and leaks. Report any equipment problems to the appropriate service.
Check the gasket seals on each reach-in cooler behind the bar. Check the seals to be sure they are not cracked, or worn out and cooler door closes properly.
- De-scale the bar sinks.
- Remove and thoroughly clean all liquor pourers.
Routine prevents accidents
Aside from the health and hygiene purposes of cleaning - as well as making it look beautiful - having a cleaning schedule prevents accidents from happening. Regularly checking the state of various parts of the bar means that you're more than likely to pick up on any breakages quickly.
Have your local Workplace Health and Safety Officer take a look over your cleaning schedule and leave any suggestions for things you might have missed.
Drawing up a regular cleaning schedule is one of those small management tasks that takes just half an hour to create, but will have long-standing effects that will have your venue running smoothly.