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Become A Bar Back

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Working As A Bar Back

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $19,280

    Average Salary

What Does A Bar Back Do

Food and beverage serving and related workers perform a variety of customer service, food preparation, and cleaning duties in restaurants, cafeterias, and other eating and drinking establishments.

Duties

Food and beverage serving and related workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and answer their questions about menu items and specials
  • Take food or drink orders from customers
  • Prepare food and drink orders, such as sandwiches, salads, and coffee
  • Relay customers’ orders to other kitchen staff
  • Serve food and drinks to customers at a counter, at a stand, or in a hotel room
  • Clean assigned work areas, dining tables, or serving counters
  • Replenish and stock service stations, cabinets, and tables
  • Set tables or prepare food trays for new customers

Food and beverage serving and related workers are the front line of customer service in restaurants, cafeterias, and other food service establishments. Depending on the establishment, they take customers’ food and drink orders and serve food and beverages.

Most work as part of a team, helping coworkers to improve workflow and customer service. The job titles of food and beverage serving and related workers vary with where they work and what they do.

The following are examples of types of food and beverage serving and related workers: 

Combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, are employed primarily by fast-food restaurants. They take food and beverage orders, prepare or retrieve items when ready, fill cups with beverages, and accept customers’ payments. They also heat food items and make salads and sandwiches.

Counter attendants take orders and serve food over a counter in snack bars, cafeterias, movie theaters, and coffee shops. They fill cups with coffee, soda, and other beverages, and may prepare fountain specialties, such as milkshakes and ice cream sundaes. Counter attendants take carryout orders from diners and wrap or place items in containers. They clean counters, prepare itemized bills, and accept customers’ payments.

Food servers, nonrestaurant, serve food to customers outside of a restaurant environment. Many deliver room service meals in hotels or meals to hospital rooms. Some act as carhops, bringing orders to customers in parked cars.

Dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers—sometimes collectively referred to as bus staff—help waiters, waitresses, and bartenders by cleaning and setting tables, removing dirty dishes, and keeping serving areas stocked with supplies. They also may help waiters and waitresses by bringing meals out of the kitchen, distributing dishes to diners, filling water glasses, and delivering condiments. Cafeteria attendants stock serving tables with food trays, dishes, and silverware. They sometimes carry trays to dining tables for customers. Bartender helpers keep bar equipment clean and glasses washed. 

Hosts and hostesses greet customers and manage reservation and waiting lists. They may direct customers to coatrooms, restrooms, or a waiting area until their table is ready. Hosts and hostesses assign guests to tables suitable for the size of their group, escort patrons to their seats, and provide menus. They also take reservations over the phone, arrange parties, and help with other customers’ requests.

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How To Become A Bar Back

Most food and beverage service jobs are entry-level jobs and do not require a high school diploma. The majority of workers receive short-term on-the-job training.

Most states require workers, such as nonrestaurant servers, who serve alcoholic beverages to be 18 years of age or older.

Education

There are no formal education requirements for becoming a food and beverage serving worker.

Training

Most workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting several weeks. Training includes basic customer service, kitchen safety, safe food-handling procedures, and good sanitation habits.

Some employers, particularly those in fast-food restaurants, teach new workers with the use of self-study programs, online programs, audiovisual presentations, or instructional booklets that explain food preparation and service procedures. However, most food and beverage serving and related workers learn their skills by watching and working with more experienced workers.

Some full-service restaurants provide new dining room employees with classroom training sessions that alternate with periods of on-the-job work experience. The training communicates the operating philosophy of the restaurant, helps new employees establish a personal rapport with other staff, teaches employees formal serving techniques, and instills a desire in the staff to work as a team.

Some nonrestaurant servers and bartender helpers who work in establishments where alcohol is served may need training on state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some states, counties, and cities mandate such training, which typically lasts a few hours and can be taken online or in-house.

Advancement

Advancement opportunities are limited to those who remain on the job for a long time. However, some dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers may advance to waiter, waitress, or bartender positions as they learn the basics of serving food or preparing drinks.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Food and beverage serving and related workers must listen carefully to their customers’ orders and relay them correctly to the kitchen staff so that the orders are prepared to the customers’ request.

Customer-service skills. Food service establishments rely on good food and customer service to keep customers and succeed in a competitive industry. As a result, workers should be courteous and be able to attend to customers’ requests.

Physical stamina. Food and beverage serving and related workers spend most of their worktime standing, carrying heavy trays, cleaning work areas, and attending to customers’ needs.

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Bar Back Jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Mini Bar Attendant 2.4 years
Bar Host 1.7 years
Bar Attendant 1.3 years
Bar Back 1.0 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 13.3%
Server 12.9%
Bartender 6.2%
Internship 6.0%
Cook 4.1%
Busser 4.1%
Assistant 3.8%
Manager 3.6%
Volunteer 3.2%
Teller 3.0%
Stocker 3.0%
Top Employers After
Bartender 15.1%
Server 13.9%
Cook 4.7%
Internship 4.7%
Manager 4.6%
Cashier 4.6%
Waitress 3.6%
Technician 2.9%
Associate 2.7%
Assistant 2.7%
Driver 2.4%
Supervisor 2.4%

Do you work as a Bar Back?

Bar Back Demographics

Gender

Male

87.0%

Female

11.7%

Unknown

1.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

18.8%

Black or African American

10.7%

Asian

5.5%

Unknown

3.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.5%

Russian

6.5%

German

4.3%

French

4.3%

Portuguese

2.2%

Irish

2.2%

Lithuanian

2.2%

Bosnian

2.2%

Serbian

2.2%

Japanese

2.2%

Dakota

2.2%

Persian

2.2%

Polish

2.2%

Arabic

2.2%

Croatian

2.2%

Thai

2.2%

Italian

2.2%
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Bar Back Education

Schools

Texas Tech University

7.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

7.3%

College of Southern Nevada

7.3%

Savannah College of Art and Design

6.1%

Ithaca College

4.9%

Fresno City College

4.9%

University of Nevada - Las Vegas

4.9%

San Francisco State University

4.9%

Coastal Carolina University

4.9%

University of Connecticut

4.9%

University of Central Florida

4.9%

University of Texas at El Paso

4.9%

Florida International University

4.9%

Bunker Hill Community College

4.9%

Onondaga Community College

4.9%

Sonoma State University

3.7%

Minneapolis Community and Technical College

3.7%

University of Rhode Island

3.7%

Valencia College

3.7%

Rhode Island College

3.7%
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Majors

Business

22.9%

Criminal Justice

9.8%

Kinesiology

6.4%

Psychology

5.3%

General Studies

4.5%

Management

4.2%

Political Science

4.2%

Automotive Technology

3.9%

History

3.9%

Communication

3.6%

Sociology

3.6%

Photography

3.4%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Finance

3.4%

Computer Science

3.1%

Biology

3.1%

Graphic Design

3.1%

Music

2.8%

Hospitality Management

2.8%

Accounting

2.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.6%

Other

32.0%

Associate

13.3%

Certificate

5.1%

Masters

2.7%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.6%

Doctorate

0.6%
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Top Skills for A Bar Back

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  1. Bartender Runs
  2. Stock Beer
  3. Drink Orders
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Wash and restock glasses, restock beer cooler and liquor cabinet, help with end of the night clean up.
  • Assisted Bartenders with drink orders, party set-ups, clean-ups, stocked bar after inventory.
  • Bar back: help scanner break down bar for counting and help count bottles and weigh kegs.
  • Inventory management/organization * Club operations maintenance * Bar management/security * Customer service * Very fast paced environment
  • Monitored and serviced beverage inventories.

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Top Bar Back Employers

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Jobs From Top Bar Back Employers

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