Typical Roles at a Bar

General Manager

This is the first role you’ll need to think about when building your team. In many cases, the business owner can act as his/her own general manager.

Typical Salary: $35,000 per year

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Hiring and scheduling employees
  • Keeping track of inventory
  • Adhering to health and safety standards
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction  

Who to Look For:

  • Previous management experience
  • Able to manage customers’ complaints
  • Available for many shifts, as they are an integral part of everyday business


A bartender makes drinks while interacting with customers at the bar.

Salary: $8 per hour not including tips

What This Role Entails:

  • Making drinks
  • Socializing with customers at the bar

Who to Look For:

  • Bartending license necessary
  • Creative flair for making and garnishing drinks
  • Able to spot fake IDs


Bouncers are often stationed at the entrance to the bar to control entry, as well as inside the bar to keep intoxicated customers safe.

Salary: $8 per hour not including tips

What This Role Entails:

  • Making drinks
  • Socializing with customers at the bar

Who to Look For:

  • Bartending license necessary
  • Creative flair for making and garnishing drinks
  • Able to spot fake IDs

Bar Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

Before you begin hiring staff, it is necessary to consider what kind of atmosphere your bar will provide to customers. Will it be a high end, elegant bar? If so, you will need highly experienced bartenders. Will it have a club-like atmosphere at night? If so, you will likely need more employees, including bouncers. Make sure that you hire bartenders that are both friendly and efficient. Bouncers, on the other hand, should be polite but firm with customers.

In the beginning, the owner can certainly fill in as a bartender. However, you will not want to do this forever, as you will have plenty of administrative tasks to tend to as well.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

Luckily, it is not too difficult to find people with bartending experience or those who are willing to learn. Put up flyers around town, such as in local restaurants and shops. Many bartenders are younger, so consider also advertising around university campuses. Make sure you also post your job openings online, especially if there is already buzz in the community about your new bar.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.

Nonetheless, it is natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most bar owners look for employees who are:

  • Efficient
  • Trustworthy
  • Friendly
  • Reliable

Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • What do you like about bartending?
  • What would you do if someone presented you with a fake ID?
  • How would you make an Old Fashioned?
  • How would you upsell a drink?
  • If a customer sent a drink back, how would you handle the situation?

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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