Friday, November 13, 2009

Reasons for your stupidly long wait at bars

Okay, what I started in reply to a comment by RedDog in the What a bartender sees post...

I agree it takes really long to order, pay and get your change at a bar. It's really annoying because even when I'm working behind the bar, I can see people waiting for their change while the beer they ordered for their friends is slowly losing it's head (probably could be used as a metaphor for the person waiting as well). And I feel kinda bad for those people. Also when ice starts melting in their cocktails and they end up with something more watery than alcoholy.

One of the reasons it goes so slowly (at least in WIP, and probably the same in the majority of bars) is that there are so many drinks to have to make. Maybe it's not the same in the West, where most people order beer or straight drinks (liquor + mixer). Those can be done in a jiffy. In WIP, loads of people order cocktails. Those take on average of 3-5 minutes to make. So firstly, the rate of outgoing drinks is low.

Secondly, in a big bar like WIP or Zouk, there will be about 8-10 people working behind it. There has to be clear separation of duties. Hence, two people at cocktails, two people at tapped beers, etc. And there are only two people who are authorised to key in orders into the machine. And those two are normally the supervisor/manager, who are on cocktail duty (more complicated drinks). So they aren't always free. I sometimes find myself waiting next to the cashier for them to come back and key my order in to be made.

Next, when the customer pays, the money goes to a different cashier, because the people behind the bar don't handle the cash. Maybe because of dirty hands, maybe because of complications with both dealing with drinks and calculating money (when it gets busy, your head does start to go a bit bonkers if you don't remain calm). At the bar, there is only one cashier which receives and returns money. Sometimes that person isn't there. Sometimes that person has loads of other bills to deal with. Hence the slowness.

Everything added up, when you go to a bar on a busy night, things do tend to slow down. There is probably a better way, perhaps hiring just one sole person to be the cashier at the bar would do it. But then again, WIP is understaffed at the moment. I can't say the same about Zouk because I don't know about them. But if WIP is finding it hard to find staff to recruit, I'm assuming there's not many people out there who are available. So maybe these places are always understaffed, hence the irritating slowness at all bars.

Perhaps then, people should stop offering cocktails on their menus. And we should start ordering easier drinks. Or perhaps we should all take up part-time jobs behind bars to ease the load. Thank you, thank you. Seems that I'm doing my part for the community (albeit the drunken community) after all.

1 comment:

kelvin L. said...

Ah thanks , the mysterious underworld of the life behind the bars explained.
Well done , I'll never take another sip of drink under the same light again ...