Interview

17 Barback Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a barback, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Working behind the scenes, a barback is responsible for ensuring that the bar is fully stocked and runs smoothly. From stocking the cooler and shelves with liquor and mixers to cleaning glasses and preparing garnishes, a barback’s work is essential to keeping the bar running.

If you’re looking for a job in the bar industry, you’ll likely need to go through a barback interview. To help you prepare, we’ve gathered some common barback interview questions and answers.

Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment?

Barback positions often require working quickly and efficiently. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. In your answer, explain that you are comfortable with high-pressure situations. Explain how you stay calm under pressure and prioritize tasks.

Example: “I am very comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. I’ve worked as a barback for three years now, so I’m used to keeping up with the pace of a busy night. When I first started, I was nervous about being able to keep up with all the orders. Now, I know what my responsibilities are and how to prioritize them. I can take care of multiple tasks at once while still making sure customers get their drinks.”

What are your qualifications as a barback?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience as a barback. They want to know what you have done in the past that makes you qualified for the position. When answering this question, list out all of your previous experiences and qualifications. If you do not have any prior experience, explain how you would be able to perform the job well without any prior knowledge.

Example: “I have been working as a barback for five years now. I started off as a bartender’s assistant before moving up to become a full-time barback. Throughout my time as a barback, I’ve learned many skills that make me qualified for this position. For example, I am familiar with the different types of alcohol and drinks that we serve at our establishment. I also understand the importance of customer service and safety when working behind the bar.”

How would you handle a situation where a customer is unhappy with the quality of their drink?

Barbacks often have to deal with unhappy customers. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to handle these situations in a way that keeps the customer happy and maintains their business. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to solve the problem while also keeping the bar’s reputation intact.

Example: “If I ever had a customer who was unhappy with their drink, I would first apologize for the quality of the drink. Then, I would offer them another drink on the house. If they were still unsatisfied, I would find out exactly what they wanted from their drink so I could relay that information to the bartender. This ensures that the next time they order a similar drink, it will be exactly what they want.”

What is your experience with cleaning and sanitation procedures?

Barbacks are responsible for keeping the bar and surrounding areas clean. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with cleaning procedures and sanitation methods. Before your interview, read through the job description to see if they list any specific requirements or preferences regarding cleaning and sanitation. If so, share that information in your answer.

Example: “I am very familiar with proper sanitation practices. I worked at a restaurant where we had to follow strict food safety regulations. We also had to keep our work area clean, which meant following certain rules about how to wash dishes and sanitize surfaces. I’m comfortable using chemicals like bleach and other disinfectants to keep the bar clean.”

Provide an example of when you went above and beyond your job duties to help out your team.

Employers ask this question to see if you’re willing to help out your team members and managers. They want to know that you’ll be a valuable asset to their bar or restaurant, so they can trust you with important tasks. In your answer, explain what motivated you to do more than was required of you.

Example: “When I worked at the local brewery, we had a busy night where it seemed like everyone wanted drinks at once. The bartender was swamped, so I offered to make some extra drinks for him while he waited on customers. He thanked me, and I felt good knowing I helped him get through his rush.”

If a supply runs out during service, how would you approach your manager about the issue?

Barbacks are responsible for keeping the bar stocked with supplies, so employers ask this question to make sure you know how to handle a situation like this. In your answer, explain that you would approach your manager and let them know what happened. You can also mention that you would offer to help find a solution or work on finding more of the item.

Example: “If I noticed a supply was running low during service, I would immediately tell my manager about it. If we didn’t have any more of the item in stock, I would offer to go out and find some more. It’s important to me that guests get the best experience possible at the bar, so I always want to do whatever I can to ensure they’re having fun.”

What would you do if you saw another staff member violating company policies?

Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of following company policies. They want to know that you will report any violations and are willing to take action if necessary. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to ensure the policy violation does not happen again.

Example: “If I saw another staff member violating a company policy, I would first approach them privately to let them know about the policy. If they continued to violate the policy after my warning, I would report it to my manager so they could handle the situation. I believe in upholding company standards and making sure everyone follows the same rules.”

How well do you follow directions and instructions?

Employers ask this question to make sure you can follow their instructions and complete your tasks on time. They want barbacks who are organized, dependable and able to work independently. Use your answer to show that you’re a responsible person who is capable of handling many tasks at once.

Example: “I am very good at following directions because I pride myself on being an organized individual. Throughout my career as a server, I’ve worked in busy restaurants where there were multiple servers and bartenders working at the same time. I was always able to remember which tables needed drinks or food and when they needed it. This helped me keep track of all the orders and ensure everyone got what they needed.”

Do you have any experience working in the food and beverage industry?

Employers may ask this question to see if you have any experience working in a similar role. If you do, share your previous job duties and how they relate to the position you’re interviewing for. If you don’t have experience working in the food and beverage industry, explain what other work or volunteer experiences you have that are relevant to the role.

Example: “I worked as a barback at my local brewery for two years while I was in college. My main responsibilities were cleaning up after customers and restocking supplies like glasses and napkins. I also helped bartenders by taking orders from customers and bringing drinks to tables.”

When was the last time you updated your skills and knowledge?

Employers ask this question to see if you are committed to your career and want to improve yourself. They also want to know how often you update your skills, which can show them how much effort you put into your job. When answering this question, think of a time when you took the initiative to learn something new or take a course.

Example: “I have taken several online courses in wine tasting and beer making. I find that it helps me better serve my customers when I understand more about what they’re drinking. It’s also helped me become more knowledgeable about different types of alcohol so I can recommend drinks to customers.”

We want to create a fun and friendly work environment. How would you contribute to this goal?

Employers want to know that you can fit in with their team and create a fun environment for guests. They may ask this question to see if you have any ideas on how to make the work place more enjoyable. In your answer, share some of your past experiences creating a positive atmosphere at work.

Example: “I think it’s important to be friendly and welcoming to all guests. I’ve worked in bars where people were rude to customers, which made me uncomfortable. I always try to greet everyone who comes into the bar and offer them something to drink or eat. It makes them feel welcome and shows that we’re happy they came.”

Describe your experience with POS systems.

Barbacks often need to use point-of-sale systems, or POS. This question helps employers determine if you have experience using these systems and how comfortable you are with them. If you don’t have any experience with a POS system, consider asking your employer for training on the system they use before starting work.

Example: “I’ve used several different types of POS systems in my previous jobs. I’m most familiar with Square because that’s what we used at my last job. However, I also know how to use Clover, Revel and other similar systems. I find it helpful to learn about new systems so I can help train others who may not be as familiar with them.”

What makes you the best candidate for the barback position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for the position. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities while also being honest about what makes you unique.

Example: “I am passionate about customer service and enjoy helping others. I have worked as a barback at several different venues over the past few years, so I know how to work in a variety of settings. My experience working with many different types of people has helped me develop excellent communication skills. I am always willing to help my coworkers and customers, which is why I feel like I would be a great fit for this role.”

Which beverage dispensing systems are you familiar with?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level and whether you have any training in specific systems. If you’re not familiar with a particular system, consider mentioning that you are willing to learn it.

Example: “I am most experienced with tap systems, but I also know how to operate jockey boxes and self-serve beer towers. I’ve worked at several bars where these were the primary beverage dispensing systems, so I learned them quickly. I’m always open to learning new systems, though, so if there’s something different we use here, I’ll be happy to train on it.”

What do you think are the most important skills for a barback to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills they’re looking for in a barback. Use your answer to highlight any relevant experience or skills that match what the employer is looking for.

Example: “I think one of the most important skills for a barback is being able to multitask. I’ve worked with many bartenders who needed me to do several things at once, and I’m used to it by now. Another skill I find helpful is my ability to communicate well with others. Barbacks often need to ask questions about how to perform certain tasks, so having good communication skills can be beneficial.”

How often do you clean and sanitize bar equipment?

This question can help interviewers understand your attention to detail and how often you clean equipment. It can also show them that you know the importance of sanitizing bar equipment regularly. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you cleaned or sanitized equipment at a previous job.

Example: “I clean and sanitize all bar equipment after every shift. I find that doing so helps prevent any bacteria from building up on the equipment. This is especially important because many people touch the equipment throughout the night. If there’s no regular cleaning, then germs could spread more easily. In my last position, I was responsible for training new barbacks on proper cleaning techniques.”

There is a problem with the ice machine and it won’t work during service. What would you do?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills. It also shows the interviewer that you are willing to take on challenges and solve them quickly. Your answer should include what steps you would take to fix the ice machine, as well as how you would communicate with other staff members about the issue.

Example: “I would first check if there was any water in the ice maker. If not, I would then call for maintenance to come and repair it. In the meantime, I would ask another bartender or server to make more ice so we could keep up with service.”

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