Marketplace: Learn to be a ‘pro’ behind the bar
July 26, 2011
After a long and successful career in bartending, Timmy Eggers is now passing on his secrets to others.
Bartending pays well and the hours of are perfect for people with a day job, night owls and those who want to spend more time skiing or with their families.
The key to getting paid really well is intimately understanding the business, Eggers explained. That’s why he started ProServe Bartending last October.
ProServe’s classes are held monthly at a variety of times to accommodate different schedules. Sessions in Spanish are also available. The course includes Utah S.M.A.R.T. certification.
Eggers has been serving drinks in Park City for 20 years and has been in the business even longer. Professionalism is the secret to both finding good employment and having a great time, he said.
Bartending is a personality-based business. When you’re comfortable with what you’re doing, your personality can shine through, he said.
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"Once you fill the glass and add some ice there’s got to be a reason for people to come back and see you," he said. "You get to be in front of so many people, but still have that three feet of oak between you. You can be the life of the party without being ‘at’ the party."
For beginners, ProServe teaches the basics of pouring, mixing and interacting with customers. For experienced bartenders, Eggers shares an extensive knowledge of all forms of alcohol.
After attending ProServe, one doesn’t need to be a fan of whiskey to carry on a conversation with a client about the whiskey they’re drinking, he said.
And even expert bartenders can be embarrassingly ignorant of wine, he added. The class teaches not only several different techniques for opening bottles, but how to identify the origin and content of bottles quickly.
ProServe helps its attendees become experts on everything a bar carries as well as teaching tricks for how to speedily become acquainted with new drinks, he said.
This is especially helpful for restaurant bartenders who will find corporate chains call their drinks different names, Eggers added.
Once confidence behind the bar is established, bartenders can focus on developing a rapport with clients, really listening to them, cracking jokes, or enhancing their presentation.
"We get into reading your customer," he said.
Eggers also holds training sessions for restaurants to help all staff display the same level of confidence and expertise to diners.
An excellent waiter should do more than serve; he should sell the food, Eggers said.
With home bars becoming popular again, he also encourages amateurs to attend the classes so as to impress their friends at home parties.
Eggers is a Parkite and ProServe is a Summit County business, but to accommodate his Salt Lake Valley clients ProServe courses are held at 508 East South Temple in Salt Lake City.
In addition to helping others have successful careers, Eggers said he’s also motivated by a desire to elevate the reputation of Utah’s bartenders.
The stereotype of Utah as a "dry" state means the community’s talented and experienced bartenders are often unrecognized.
The goal is for ProServe graduates to continue elevating the quality of service people receive at area clubs and restaurants, he said.