Dealing With Over-Friendly Customers At A Bar
September 4, 2016
We have all worked in or been in a bar and had to suffer with the bartender who is overly flirtatious. Or perhaps the one who stepped just too far over the mark in to the realm of pestering in an attempt to get a phone number.
Over-Friendly Customers Are Manageable
As exemplified above, there are a number of cases where over-friendly customers can ruin a day at work for you and others. Let’s say you’re on your night off in the bar, and are constantly being pestered by strangers trying to join you.
I have experience of this type of situation, and here’s how to deal with it.
Flirt. Have fun and be charming. But always be aware of whether the customer is enjoying the interaction with you and treat their friends and partners with the same mannerisms.
Always respect who you’re interacting with and never make anyone feel intimidated by you as it gives them an incentive to be rude or abrupt.
Whilst harmless flirting is acceptable, don’t be overly aggressive. Remember, you’re at work and not on the town!
When To Step In At The Bar
If you see customers being pestered or irritated by someone, step in. You want to create a relaxed and enjoyable experience for all.
In this case, there are several ways of dealing with this situation.
Firstly, divert the attention of the overly enthusiastic customer by starting a conversation with them. Performing a flair or bartending trick can distract the over-friendly customer and lead them your way instead. It’s not ideal for you, but safer and better for your customers.
Secondly, discuss with the customer first whether it is okay to pretend that they are your partner. With their permission and without offending them, this can help to move the over-friendly customer on.
Alternatively, invite the pestering individual over to you by showing them how to make drinks. This works really well because you are able to physically move them away from an uncomfortable situation.
If you are doing any of the above, just make sure that you don’t then become a pestering and annoying bartender. Keep everything low-key.
Dealing With The Drunken Stranger
In most cases, this is a sticky situation. Though the drunken customer might just be trying to make a new friend, they can be aggressive and threatening to others a few seconds later.
It is our job to be aware of theses interactions and judge when and if we need to step in.
Most groups are content entertaining themselves and don’t want any interruptions from strangers. When this occurs, it is a good idea to step in and gently and politely move them away.
Offer the drunken stranger a soft or hot drink and encourage them to sit with you at the bar. This can be very annoying, but it’s what we’re here for and keeps them distracted on you, rather than the rest of the customers.
For more aggressive customers, you cannot bend or break the rules to suit them. Be polite and firm and never allow the situation to escalate. Call for a manager or door supervisor to assist you before it gets out of hand.
Being a bartender isn’t all cocktail-making and glamorous chats with strangers. For the most part, you have to deal with situations like this, which is why it’s important that you know what to do should you find yourself in this predicament.