All the action in a bar takes place between open and closing times. But it’s the procedures before the first customer walks in the door and after the last one pays their tab that can determine the success or failure of a bar. Here are some tips to help you open and close your bar like a pro.
Tips for Opening Your Bar
1. First Impressions
What people see first – like it or not – always frames their initial opinion of you and your business. It doesn’t matter how good your food is if it’s being served on a dirty bar tabletop. It doesn’t matter how extensive and reasonably priced your beer list is if your store front looks about as inviting as a prison cell. Clear up any debris and remove any unpleasantries from your entry and surrounding areas to eliminate any hesitations your customers might have of coming inside for a pint.
Tip #1: Don’t let your store look like this from the outside
2. Stepping Inside
Immediately upon entry note anything that screams out as needing attention: odors, misplaced items, spills, et cetera. Once inside you don’t want people bolting for the door to escape.
3. Clean Clean Clean
Floors, counter tops, tables, bathrooms, walls. The essentials. Check to make sure things that should have been cleaned after last night’s close got cleaned properly (more on that to come later). Replace and/or refill any tabletop items like condiments.
4. Beer Lines and Faucets
Dirty beer lines can ruin the quality and taste of your beer. Cleaning your beer lines involves pumping water mixed with cleaning chemical into the line and letting it soak for the prescribed time. Then, flush out the water and chemicals. Soak the faucet and keg coupler in the cleaning chemical and brush them spotless. Making sure your lines are clean is the first step to keeping your beer decontaminated, and nothing feels more like money down the drain than ruined beer. General guidelines are that lines, keg couplers, and faucets should be chemically cleaned once every two weeks, or after each keg.
Tip #4: Check your taps for cleanliness and decontaminate if necessary
While you’re there check to make sure your glasses are clean. No lipstick stains, dust, soap, old beer.
6. Beer and Tap Lists
Update your beer list, print menus, social media, and website with the newest information about the beers on-tap.
Tip #6: TapHunter’s suite of online tools will update all of these in one step to help speed up the process. Click here to learn more and request a free demo of the tools.
7. Final Checks
Make one last round of walkthroughs and if everything looks good, you’re all set to open.
Tips for Closing Down
Wash and clean any remaining glasses left out. Set any still wet up to air dry. No one wants to come in the next morning and have to rewash all of the glasses again – so make sure you do it right so you only have to do it once.
9. Clean the following:
- Bar well, speed well, glass cylinder, beer drains, soda guns/lines, sinks,
- Tabletops, chairs, bar stools, counters, condiment areas, railings, ledges, walls, windows
- Glassware, silverware, dishware
- Fruit containers, ice containers, coolers, liquor cabinets, liquor bottles, ashtrays
- Bathroom floors, mirrors, walls, stalls
- Computer, printer, screen, sound system, TVs, other electronics
Tip #9: Clean after closing so you can come in to a well-maintained work environment next time
10. Taps Again
Wipe down and cover with rubber protectors to keep flies out. Remember: properly closing down saves time and effort when opening. Don’t let tomorrow’s beer become contaminated tonight.
11. Finishing Touches
Shut down any remaining equipment. Take out the trash and recycling. Make sure caps are tightened on all bottles. Place any dirty towels or linen in respective containers. If you plan on updating your menus the next day, throw out the now-outdated lists. Stack any chairs still out and clear out the floor if necessary.
You’re good to go! Obviously additional procedures might be necessary depending on your particular bar’s circumstances, but by starting out with these general guidelines, you’re on your way to opening and closing your bar like a pro.