f you’re like most bartenders, you probably make less than minimum wage without tips, and you depend on your customers to make a real living. That’s why customer happiness and loyalty is so important — it’s the foundation of maintaining a lucrative, fun and rewarding bartending career.

Customers who have consistently good experiences will be more likely to return to your bar, recommend it to other people and spend more money — leading to a direct increase in your tips and bottom line.

Here are five suggestions you can use for every shift to make sure your customers love you and keep coming back for more!

Welcome Customers To Your Bar

No one likes to walk into a bar without being acknowledged by the staff — it’s awkward, unwelcoming and makes for a bad first impression. So whenever customers step into your bar, immediately greet them with a smile and a warm hello.

If the bar is slow, bring them a menu and a glass of water as soon as they sit down. If the bar is packed, let them know you’ll be with them shortly.

By making your customers feel welcomed and comfortable they will stay longer, spend more money and come back.

Offer Recommendations

You are the expert, and customers will look to you when they have questions or need recommendations. So, when you give someone a menu, always lead in with an opener such as, “let me know if you have any questions or need help choosing a drink.”

As simple as the statement above sounds, it’s very impactful because it demonstrates your knowledge and willingness to help. This interaction will also reduce the chances of customers ordering drinks they won’t like — meaning less send backs and a better overall customer experience.

Engage Customers in Conversation

When people go to bars they are usually looking to have a social experience so engage all of your customers in conversation. Not only will this enable you to develop customer-rapport which leads to repeat customers, it’s also a great networking tool.

As a bartender, you have the unique opportunity to meet, greet and talk to people from all walks of life, and you never know who you’ll meet or how they may impact your life so talk to everyone and see where life leads you!

Don’t Complain About Work

Bartending is about delivering a memorable, positive customer experience – not using your customers as your therapist.Your customers go to bars because they want to have a good time and unwind, not to be a dumping ground for your problems.

If you’re unhappy about work or having a bad day, address the appropriate person or call a friend for advice. Before you start your shift, take a few minutes to sit by yourself and clear your mind so you can focus on enjoying work, rather than personal problems.

Everyone has good days and bad days, but don’t let your bad days interfere with your ability to maintain a positive attitude and do your job.

Ensure Customer Satisfaction

Customer service doesn’t stop once your customers receive their orders. As a general practice, always check in on your customers one or two minutes after serving them to ensure they’re happy and their order is as expected.

This is an essential part of the customer experience because if customers are unhappy with their drink(s), or if there is something wrong with their order (for example someone receives a dirty or chipped glass, spoiled wine etc.) you won’t know.

So always check in and make sure they’re happy or if they need anything such as another round or the check. When your customers are ready for their checks, write a quick, personalized “thank you” onto their receipts. This is a quick and easy way to show gratitude and increase your tip percentage.

Every shift offers you a fresh opportunity to meet new people, network, develop regulars and increase your earnings. If you can master these five suggestions, your customers will always have a positive experience and look forward to returning.

Antasha Durbin

Antasha is a seasoned bartender with more than seven years of bartending and hospitality experience. She is also a spiritual writer at cajspirituality.com, where she writes free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living. You can follow her on Twitter @cajspirituality for daily inspiration.