Bar person

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Jenny Butler is a senior member of the bar staff at the Creation night club in Leeds, one of the largest nightclubs in the north of England. It has three music rooms offering a range of sounds from house and garage to hip hop and chart. Jenny serves hundreds of customers a week, pouring and mixing a variety of soft and alcoholic drinks.

What does your job involve?

I work behind one of the club's three bars. I serve food and drink throughout the night and deal with any minor problems that might arise.

What kind of customers do you get?

We are a young club. Our customers are a mixture of university students and people from Leeds and the surrounding areas.

Do you have an average day?

I arrive at about 8 p.m. to set up the till and make sure that the bar is ready for use. Clubbers start arriving at 9.30pm and I am busy until the early hours, when the club closes. At the end, I close down the bar and monitor the stock. I cash up the till and co-ordinate the cleaning. It is usually about 3am before I finish. The bar is closed on Monday and Tuesday nights and we are at our busiest at the weekends.

How did you get into this work?

I have worked in the hospitality industry part-time since I was 17. I started off working in a health club, and then I worked as a waitress and in my local pub. When I moved to Leeds, I did some bar work before being offered my job at Creation.

Did you have any special training?

I was fully bar trained before I got this job, but the best way to learn is through experience. When I started working here I had training in how to work the till, as it is quite a responsibility handling large amounts of money.

I also had fire training and health and safety training – all very important in a busy and hot environment.

What do you like best about your job?

I love working in a nightclub. It is a great atmosphere and very rewarding. The management encourages us to do a good job – there are lots of staff incentives. Every Saturday after work we all sit down, relax and have some food and drink. If you are a sociable person it is a great way to make friends.

What challenges do you face?

Sometimes customers can be demanding and abusive, especially if they are impatient to get into the club or to be served. You have to learn not to react. Being calm and collected helps take the heat out of any potential confrontation.

Jenny's route to becoming a Bar person

  • GCSEs.
  • Worked part time in a number of pubs and bars before her current job
  • Various in-house courses in retail, health and safety and fire risk.

Jenny's bar work tips

  • You have to strike a balance between having a good time and working hard.
  • Know the value of teamwork and good customer care.

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Bar person salary information

  • Earnings depend on the type of bar and its location. Hourly rates vary regionally and according to qualifications and experience.
  • Junior staff start at around £5.00 an hour, while staff in a London wine bar may earn £200 a week, or more.

Getting a job as a bar person

  • Most bar staff are trained on the job by the publican or licensee, bar or restaurant manager, or experienced bar staff.
  • Bar staff can work towards NVQs/SVQs in Catering and Hospitality (Food and Drink Service) at Levels 1 and 2. Candidates normally need to be working in the industry, although some local colleges, training companies and LSCs/LECs may be able to provide alternative access to them.
  • The BIIAB (the awarding body of the British Institute of Innkeeping) award qualifications supporting progression through the industry, beginning with a Professional Barperson's Qualification.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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