SITHFAB023 – Operate a bar

Home Hospitality Units SITHFAB023 – Operate a bar

SITHFAB023 Operate a bar

In this unit of study you will learn how to;

  1. Prepare bar for service
  2. Take drink orders
  3. Prepare and serve drinks
  4. Close down bar operations
  5. Work safely and reduce negative environmental impacts


Working in the hospitality industry means being of service to customers. The aim is to provide them with an environment in which they feel comfortable and well looked after. Hospitality is, generally, an industry that provides intangible services rather than tangible products.

An intangible service or product is one that you can’t actually pick up and take away with you; you might pay for a room in a hotel, but you don’t actually buy the room – just the right to spend a given number of nights there. When you leave you can’t take it with you. A tangible product on the other hand is something you can take with you and that has lasting value; you can buy cars, furniture and many other things of a lasting value and tangible nature.

Customers can, potentially, spend significant sums of money in your establishment and, given that hospitality is an intangible experience, every effort should be made to provide customer satisfaction and value for the money they are spending. While they may not have a tangible product to take away with them, they will have the memory of the experience; whether that memory is a good or bad one will depend, to a very large degree, on the service they are given – and your attitude towards them.

Working in a bar you will serve a wide variety of different people each day so if you enjoy meeting people and have an outgoing personality, becoming a bar attendant could be the right choice for you. As a bar attendant your main duties may include serving customers with drinks (and food), monitoring patrons for signs of intoxication, providing alternatives to alcohol, collecting payment and operating the register.

Creating a welcoming atmosphere

A key function of your role would be to create a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and talking with customers. What this means is, to be a bar person, you should have:

  • good communication skills
  • the ability to prepare and serve a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
  • an outgoing personality and a pleasant manner
  • a smart and tidy appearance
  • tact and diplomacy for dealing with demanding customers
  • the ability to carry heavy crates, beer barrels and boxes
  • the ability to take and remember orders
  • numeracy skills for dealing with payments
  • the ability to work well in a team
  • a flexible approach to work

Prepare the bar for service

One of the main purposes of the hospitality industry is to be hospitable; to create an atmosphere in which customers feel welcome. Preparing for bar service, then, means setting up the bar and getting ready to serve these customers. There is nothing that can damage an organisation’s reputation quite as much as bad service and being caught unprepared to meet customer needs.

The preparation process is, therefore, one of great importance and should be done in line with the organisation’s policies and procedures in mind.

These might include (but are not limited to):

  • displaying stock and ancillary bar products
  • mise en place (preparation) requirements
  • presentation of beverages
  • procedures for opening and closing the bar
  • procedures for reordering stock

Types of bars

The preparation work you need to do and the service levels you provide will depend, largely, on the type of bar you are working in; different types of bars will have different atmospheres about them.  Types of bars you may work in include (but are not limited to);

  • Pubs – pub is short for “public house” and it generally a place where you can go to meet friends, or after a day’s work and ‘grab a beer’ without having to dress up or worry too much about surroundings. They may have such things as pool tables or dart boards and are often considered to be the “local”. See figure 3.3; example of a local pub
  • Clubs – there are many styles of clubs all of which will provide different atmospheres including;
    • Night clubs – these are often trendy bars where people go to socialise and dance.
    • Sports clubs – which can include football clubs, bowls clubs and so on where fans or those interested in joining can become members and enjoy a range of activities. Many of these clubs will also include gaming machines, entertainment events and special interest activities.
    • Association’s – which can include special interest groups such as the RSL and have similar facilities and activities as the sports clubs.
  • Wine bars or lounges – although these are often dimly lit, they offer a quiet environment where conversation can be enjoyed over a glass of wine, a cocktail or a beer. These types of establishments often have a dress code and walking in with shorts and thongs will, most likely, not be allowed.
  • Hotels – many hotels will have lounges and bars on the premises. Depending on the nature of the hotel (tourist class to first / luxury class) the atmosphere in their bars can be anything from pub like to very classy.

Customers of a 5 Star Hotel will expect different service levels than those frequenting the local corner pub. The staff working in a 5 Star Hotel will therefore require a different level of training, different dress code, will serve different drinks and so on, than a bar attendant at the local pub. This does not mean, however, that the service offered in the pub should be any less friendly and courteous than it’s more up market cousin! All customers deserve to be treated with respect and professionalism. Bearing in mind the intangible nature of the service offered, customer satisfaction should be at the front of all staff’s minds at all times.

Happy customers are repeat customers and repeat customers can help ensure the continued success of the business.

For purchase information go back to hospitality unit page


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