I don’t know why most bartenders fuss about getting “stuck” with Sunday night shifts. Most of my colleagues continually clamor for Friday and Saturday night shifts – for reasons beyond explanation. Look… I don’t like working Sundays anymore than the next person – period. But given the fact that I do have to work, these days, I’d much rather take a relaxed Sunday night shift over a craptastic, robotic weekend shift any time. I’ll tell you why…
Actually, I’ll give you Four Hundred and Fifty reasons why – as in $450 bucks from just last night. That’s not an anomaly. Quite the contrary actually; that’s fairly consistent where I work. The primary reason? I work alone.
Working solo enables me to control just about every aspect of the environment and guest experience. Those factors run the gamut from lighting, music choice/volume, cleanliness, drink suggestions, which direction stools are facing (yes, it matters), to how guests are greeted, how quickly they’re engages, which offerings they’re suggested etc. As opposed to simply making mediocre cocktails as quickly as possible, I have numerous opportunities to be a real bartender. That means: being engaging, inviting, friendly, jovial, mildly flirty (when called for), knowledgeable about all matters of food and beverage as well as neighborhood goings-on.
Rather than deal with throngs of – how shall we say – folks with low expectations (and thus, low ROI from the bartender’s perspective) I venture into personal relationship land with just about each and every guest that walks through the door. I don’t have to worry about the barkeep to my left picking his nose, ignoring 3 thirsty guests. Nor must I worry about my blood boiling witnessing the barkeep to my right drop a check into a Mojito puddle and never bother to say “Thank you” and “Come again.” Those faux pas wouldn’t be as grand of an issue to me if we weren’t pooling tips. But in most instances, multiple bartenders will pool in order to avoid cat-fights and (theoretically) provide better hospitality.
Sunday nights are rife with “mature” couples wandering about awaiting (or returning from) a show. Late night might as well be called the weekly Bartender’s Ball as the place frequently gets overrun with Hospitality employees – often the most generous kind of guest. Over the years, I’ve nearly mastered the art of maximum extraction from these folks through simply stellar service, not necessarily just impressive cocktails.
So the next time you’re “stuck” with a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night shift, do yourself a huge favor and simply werk it. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to turn what might be to some a “Punishment Shift” into a whole lot of duckets. Yeah, a good contingent of your buds may be sipping on Mimosas whilst macking on a fresh wave of bikini-clad hotties at some rooftop hotel pool or something of the sort. But, keep in mind (1) in NYC, that’s a 24x7x365 sport – accessible just about anytime and (2) they’re spending while your earning.