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How to Stay Cool with Difficult Customers at your Bar or Restaurant

March 6, 2023
bartender pours mimosas

Working as a bartender can be both rewarding and challenging. You get to meet interesting people from all walks of life, but it can also be stressful when dealing with difficult customers. Either way, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone on your premises is having a great time.

With spring break around the corner, your bar is bound to catch a rude customer every now and then. If you aren’t sure what to do in these situations, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Here are some tips for keeping cool when dealing with those pesky patrons who come in determined to cause a ruckus.


Be Prepared For Anything

Knowing your job inside and out is the best way to prepare yourself for any obstacle that could arise. Have a thorough understanding of the menu, drinks, and, most importantly, the rules.

Know what you are allowed (and not allowed) to do as a bartender. This will help you remain calm since you won’t feel like you’re trying to navigate unfamiliar territory to appease an unhappy customer.


Stay Professional No Matter What

No matter how rude or unruly the customer may be acting, it’s important that you never stoop down to their level. Remain professional and polite no matter what insults they may hurl your way. Being able to keep your cool under pressure shows that you are capable of handling any kind of situation without getting angry or flustered, which will prove valuable in the long run.

Not only can professionalism diffuse a bad situation, but it can also help you keep up your bar’s reputation as a respected establishment.


Know When To Walk Away

If someone is being excessively rude or aggressive with their words or actions, it’s okay (and even encouraged) for bartenders to walk away from the situation if necessary.

Let them know that you’ll be more than happy to help them when they’re ready to talk respectfully. If they continue behaving inappropriately after that point, contact management or the authorities so they can handle it as needed.


Use Positive Language

When speaking with a difficult customer, use positive language and be sure to thank them for their patience throughout the process. Phrases like “I completely understand your frustration,” and “Let me see what I can do to make this right,” can help quell strong emotions.

A positive attitude on your end will help reinforce that you value their business and that you appreciate them as a patron at your establishment. Not only will this make them feel valued, but it also shows that you aren’t intimidated by their attitude.


Diffuse With Humor

Sometimes humor is an effective way to defuse a tense situation with a demanding customer. A light-hearted joke or funny comment can help lighten the mood and show that you still respect them as a customer. Just make sure not to take it too far. Disrespect and unprofessionalism are never the way to go.


Get Management Involved

Your managers are there for a reason, and one of the biggest reasons is to support you and have your back when you have a difficult customer. So, don’t hesitate to ask them for help. It’ll free you up to focus on your other customers who are more deserving of your time and attention.


Dealing with difficult customers can be stressful, but hopefully, these tips have given you some insight into how best to handle those tricky situations! At TABC On The Fly, we help servers and bartenders in Texas stay on top of tips like these and more to ensure they and their establishments remain in good standing with the TABC.

Our online course is affordable and user-friendly! Register today!

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