By Stuart Morrow
You can catch Stuart behind the stick at Sydney’s The Baxter Inn.
During my career I have worked in all manner of different bars and establishments, each with its own service standards, style and patron base. In each venue, careful attention and planning is put into the concept, atmosphere and general service standards of the company, gaining what the operator believes to be a solid product that will wow their guests. Regular training sessions are carried out, solidifying consistency and raising the knowledge and efficiency of the staff.
Yet with all this done, the one thing that I believe gets overlooked more than any other aspect is the importance of team cohesion.
Thinking back over the years — although I can’t properly remember them all — I can count the amount of staff parties and team building events that I have been on, that have been organised by my employers or bosses. And that number is shamefully low.
In contrast, other industries will have at least around three company-organised team events per year. With the physical strain and fast paced environment of a hospitality job, is it not more important that we have a stronger team ethos than somebody sat at a desk?!
Good teamwork in a bar not only looks great to the guest, but also lightens the load and strain on each individual team member. Simple things such as putting back your colleagues’ bottles, cleaning their equipment or cashing off their order when you’re free, means that person works just a little less, speeding up the guests wait at the bar in the process.
Teamwork is not only of physical benefit to the team, but also of mental benefit too. I’ve come in to work before, feeling tired or down for whatever reason. It’s the job of the team to then help pick you up, lending support to any member that is not 100 percent. There is an old saying that states that the buffalo herd is only as fast as the slowest buffalo in that herd. A bar with a good bar team runs like a well oiled machine. Movements seem effortless, there is a quiet hum from the communication between team members and a feeling of industriousness. A bar without it can have quite the opposite impression: with little or no sounds, each area over-worked and bartenders bumping into each other showing signs of friction.
I’m lucky. I recently walked into one of the best bar teams that I have ever worked with when I joined The Baxter Inn. Every shift that I work I am supported by my team, as is every other team member, and I believe this shows to anybody that comes into our bar. I can be working alongside any one of them and know that we all have each others’ backs. This is in no small way down to the owners and upper management that run the company. In the short period of time that I’ve been there we have had three organised team events and I know of at least another one planned. It is the job of not just the management, but every member of the team to induct new members, showing them how things are done and helping them through every aspect of the job. This only helps to strengthen the bonds of an already solid team.
Growing up playing sport, a good team ethos was something that was always drummed in to me. While I believe employers should be more conscious of team cohesion, providing more opportunity for team building events and recognising the benefit of having a strong team, it is also the job of every team member to be accommodating to new members and to grow that team ethos.
Dig in and go the extra mile for your team and make sure that you have good communication with each other behind the bar.
And remember, there is no I in TEAM, but there is a MATE.