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How do you decide which customers to serve first when the bar is packed?
Advice
Imagine you are standing behind the bar with your co-worker and swarms of rowdy customers surround you. Where do you start? Can you make out any of the words? Usually, when someone wants a drink they will make themselves known, so you have to start somewhere. You could take one end of the bar while your coworker takes the other side. Or you could just pay attention and work your way through the crowd at random. As long as you don't get overwhelmed, and are sure to maintain your groove with confidence, you will be just fine.
Answer examples
"I give priority to the customers who have their money out and are making eye contact with me. Someone may be there first who is on their phone and not paying attention. I don't interrupt them from their phone because I assume they aren't ready to place their drink order."
Entry Level answer example
"I have not experienced working in such a busy environment, but I am excited about the opportunity! If I had many customers waiting for a drink, I would treat it by first customer ready to order. Some customers may be ready to order, and others may just be standing at the bar, chatting. You have to be able to differentiate between the two customer types."
Experienced answer example
"I serve the customers that make eye contact with me, indicating that they are ready to put in their drink order!"

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User-Submitted Answers

How do you decide which customers to serve first when the bar is packed?
1.
Yes, tell them you will be right back will they decide. Then be sure you go right back.
2.
First I would recommend a few drinks to help them decide.. They usually go for your choice anyways. However if they were still on the fence I would then ask if they minded if I served the next person while they decide.
3.
Yes ofcourse but I inform the guest about the same.
4.
I let them know I'll get back to them in just a moment.
5.
You suggest cocktail or beer to get them thinking.
6.
I could ask them if they want a minute or two and if they say yes I can move to the mext person then come back to them. Or From my knowledge I can suggest something good to them.
7.
I would ask the customer politely if it's okay to take care another customer while they decide and will come back to them right after.
8.
No, but ask if it's ok to assist the next person in line while he is still deciding.
9.
Suggest a few specialty drinks, present a drink menu and if they are still on the fence, tell them you'll give them a moment to look over the menu and you will be right back to take the order! :)
10.
Yes, I would let them know that I will be right back.
11.
Ask if they'd like you to give them a moment. If so, yes.
12.
Ask if they'd like you to give them a moment. If so, yes.
13.
Yes I will ask him to decide first.. Will give choices.. And mean while I will attend the another coustomer b'coz if he id not able to decide than I am loosing my another customer.
14.
I would make a few suggestions then tell them I will give them an extra second to think it over and get their drink next.
15.
I would ask what kind of flavors the customer likes and try to make suggestions. If this is ineffective then I would ask if the cu stomer minds if I help another customer while he/she decides.
16.
Come back to them when they are ready.
17.
I would ask the customer if they would like for me to give them a few minutes to decide, if they answer yes I will serve the next customer before coming back to them.
18.
Suggest the signature drink, and give them a minute to look while you take care of another guest.
19.
No, I would provide a suggestion by asking them what they like. If they still seem reluctant, I would ask them if they would like another minute before moving on to the next person.
20.
No, I would first see if I could make a suggestion or guide them to a selection using whatever clues they could provide, if the guest still needed more time I would politly inquire if I might assist the next guest while they decided,
21.
No, try and assist in the choice, if the guest still needs time, suggest I assist the next guest and then return. if smoothly done the suggestion and the action take place as one and the guest is unaware that you ever left.
22.
I would offer a suggestion or two and ask if they would like a moment longer to look over the cocktail menu.
23.
Suggest something and if they decline come back to them.
24.
You ask them if theyre ready, if not just come back to them next.
25.
Will try to reccomend to give them an idea to speed up order taking.
26.
I would tell them that I will let them think about it and continue to the next person.
27.
Make suggetions but if still taken to long. Yes skipt to the next but let the customer know that you will be with them once they decide however make sure that you are still engaging that customer and offering suggestions.
28.
I typically ask them if they need another minute to decide and wait for their response. If they feel that I should wait, I wait.
29.
No wait patiently and see if the have any questions.
30.
No, I will suggest them the best drink for them and give sign for the guest next to them.
31.
Yes, Politely say that you will help others as they take their time, with a smile :)
32.
Yes, I give them a minute and come back to them.
33.
No, you think what ever bartender things in their head and ask do you want me to give you a minute.
34.
No, I ask them questions to help them decide what they want faster.
35.
First I ask him what his taste as per his taste I would suggest him some cocktails.
36.
I give them a menu and give them more time to decide.
37.
I will ask them if they need a minute first and if so I will continue down the line and come back to them.
38.
Yes, I will tell them take your time and I will be right back.
39.
I will let them know to take their time and I will be right back.
40.
I would tell them that I will give them a minute and then come back after serving one other customer.
41.
If there was someone right beside them I would start to make their drink while letting the first patron know I was simply giving them a minute.
42.
Yes, I tell them take their time and I will be right back.
43.
I will skip the them but I will let them know ill be back to the asonn asa they ready.
44.
Make suggestions, ask them if they need a minute.
45.
No, give them suggestions, or say, want a surprise?
46.
I would ask them what they like and suggest a few drinks with their liquor of choice.
47.
Yes, but I will tell the guest you decide your drink ill get back to you.
48.
Ask what they like t drink and suggest something.
49.
It depends on how crowded the bar is.
50.
I let them know I am busy. If still undecided, I tell them I will be back in a few minutes.
51.
Let them know you will give them a minute and take care of another guest.
52.
Let them know you will give them a minute and take care of other guest.
53.
Skip and return to them next.
54.
No, but if they take too long ask them if it is ok to take another customer while they figure out what they want.
55.
I would ask if they needed a couple more minutes, if they say yes I would move on and come back, if they answer no then I would wait for them to make a decision.
56.
I would probably say something like "How about I give you some time to decide?"
57.
Tell them that I'll give them a minute to decide, help another customer, and then come right back to them.
58.
I would give them some time and come back to them once they are sure about what they want.
59.
Kindly ask if you can grab them a water until they decide.
60.
No. Ask questions so you can help them make an informed decision and if still can't decide politely ask if they would like you to give them more time to decide.
61.
Absolutely not, maybe make a suggestion for theme.
62.
Yes tell them you will give them a little time.
63.
Ask them if they need more time and if they say yes then give them a minute. Take someone next to them but come right back after.
64.
I ask them what type of drink they are in the mood for, beer, sweet, classic, or strong and suggest a drink.
65.
Tell them you will give them time to decide.
66.
Go to the next person and come back.
67.
I inform them I will serve one person and come back to them.
68.
No, you ask if they need a little more time to decide, then you take care of the next customer, and immediately return back to the previous customer.
69.
Yes I would give them more time to think and move on to serve someone else.
70.
Yes I would give them a bit more time to make their decision while taking the orders of others.
71.
Ask them if they would like to look at a menu and come back to them.
72.
Let me give you a moment to decide, take your time.
73.
No, you wait for them to decide or make some suhggestions or politely ask them if they would like some more time to decide.
74.
I would politely tell them when they are ready let me know and serve the next person at the bar.
75.
If they request extra time to decide.
76.
I will suggest them a nice drink Or if they ask for menu I will let them to decide what they prefer.
77.
No, I would come to the gest, great and welcome him in bar, introduce myself and put him glass of water and at the I would say I will be with you in a minute.
78.
I would ask them what they like drinking and name similar drinks.
79.
No suggest them something you think they might like while letting the other customers know I wil be with them shortly.
80.
Ill greet them and ask them if they are ready to order and if they arent and theyre hesitant and are not really sure ill ask them what they feel like drinking. If they want sweet I would reccoment something like a tom collins or if theres a feautured drink or special ill let them know about that. If theyre still unsure ill give them my favourite drink and if anything ill let them know to take their time and that there isnt any rush. At that point ill skip them and go to the next person.
81.
Yes but do not ignore them by any means.
82.
I will give more time to deciding, may going to next.
83.
Yes. Let them know you are going to help the next person and that you will come right back with them.
84.
Try to help them decide, if they aren't ready, let them know you will give them some time to decide.
85.
Yes I would say "let me know when you know what you want" and I would offer help for the customer when deciding.
86.
I would politely tell them I am going to come back to get their drink order so I don't leave the other customers waiting too long.
87.
Depends on the pressure, I will give service to those who arrived first and I will try to help customers confused.
88.
Yes I would let the customer know I will be back to them when they are ready.
89.
No just ask them politely if they need more time.
90.
No be patient and take their order. Or apologizze and say let me take this person quickly.
91.
I try to help him, and if not, I tell him that I come back in one minute.
92.
No. If they are next in line, they get the next drink.
93.
Tell them take your time I will be back to take your order.
94.
Tell them to let you know when they are ready to order and that you will come back to them.
95.
Ask if they need a minute.
96.
Yes and ask them if they made up their mind while preparing the next drinks.
97.
I will ask first if they want a few minutes to decide. If they say no, I will try to guide them to a drink choice.
98.
First come first serve, or from right to left making contact with customers waiting to be served letting them know I will b right with them.
99.
First Come, First Serve. Make sure your eyes are constantly scanning the bar to see keep an eye out for new patrons.
100.
I pay attention of who came first. If it gets too busy I generally go from left to right.
101.
Usually first come first serve sometimes depend on d order if 2nd was easier I, ll do it 1st.
102.
I try to stick by a first come first serve basis. With a packed bar sometimes making sweeps down it taking multiple orders is necessary.
103.
Try to look who comes first but you can also ask the costumer who comes first.
104.
Left to right or first come first basis.
105.
Whoever came first to the bar and was the first to seem ready with a drink.
106.
Go from left to right or pick whoever has been there longest.
107.
Those who look like they they will order more expensive drinks and those who look impatient.
108.
I try to go with whoever I know has been standing there waiting the longest.
109.
The one closest to the bar, that I recognise being there the longest.
110.
I try to serve customers as they arrive to bar. Nobody likes to wait and nobody likes to be overlooked. It's my responsibility to keep track of people as they approach the bar.
111.
Pay attention to who walks up first. If you are a good bartender you are going to be good at multi-tasking on a busy night. If there are multiple bartenders work out who watches what part of the bar. Work together!