Bartenders mix drinks and serve them directly to customers or through wait staff.
Bartenders fill drink orders either directly from customers at the bar or through waiters and waitresses who place drink orders for dining room customers. Bartenders must know a wide range of drink recipes and be able to mix drinks correctly, quickly, and without waste. They also must work well with waiters and waitresses and other kitchen staff to ensure that customers receive prompt service.
Some establishments, especially busy establishments with many customers, use equipment that automatically measures, pours, and mixes drinks at the push of a button. Bartenders who use this equipment, however, still must become familiar with the ingredients for special drink requests and be able to work quickly to handle numerous drink orders.
Bartenders in some establishments also use carbonated beverage dispensers, cocktail shakers and other accessories, commercial strainers, mist and trigger sprayers, and ice shaver machines.
In addition to mixing and serving drinks, bartenders stock and prepare garnishes for drinks and maintain an adequate supply of ice, glasses, and other bar supplies. They also may wash glassware and utensils and serve food to customers who eat at the bar. Bartenders are usually responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of liquor, mixers, and other bar supplies.
Some bartenders run their own bar or catering business. In addition to their standard bartending duties, they also are responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff, budgeting for and ordering supplies, and setting prices.