A bar supervisor is a member of the staff at a bar responsible for keeping operations running smoothly and addressing customer service concerns. One bar may have several supervisors who handle different shifts under the supervision of a manager, or a bar supervisor may act like a manager, handling all issues personally. The arrangement usually depends on the size of the business.
Bar supervisors generally look after inventory, making sure that things are ordered in a timely fashion and keeping an eye out for signs of spoilage and theft. They can also be involved in hiring and firing decisions, as well as managing the staff. Bar supervisors can write staff schedules, handle requests for vacation time, arrange coverage when people are ill, provide information about employee benefits, train new employees, and generally monitor the staff for signs of problems.
In a bar that also serves snacks and food, the bar supervisor can be involved in menu development, hiring cooking staff and servers, keeping the kitchen inventory stocked, making arrangements for repairs to kitchen equipment, and related activities. Bar supervisors can also be tasked with food safety training for employees and may be required to monitor conditions in the kitchen to confirm that things are handled appropriately, in accordance with the law and food safety recommendations.
Another aspect of a bar supervisor's work is dealing with members of the public. People with questions or complaints usually want to talk to a supervisor, and the bar supervisor may have the authority to bend the rules if necessary to keep customers satisfied. Thorough knowledge of the bar's policies, as well as legal and safety issues, is expected of bar managers so they can deal with customer requests appropriately and in a timely fashion. Good people skills are a very helpful asset to have when looking for jobs in hospitality in general, but especially in supervisory positions where people will have to be involved with customer service issues.
This type of work often comes with irregular hours. Bar supervisors need to be able to be on their feet for extended periods of time and usually do not have access to benefits like childcare. Some benefits may be provided through work at larger establishments, but usually retirement benefits and health care are not offered. People in supervisory positions may have opportunities for advancement like the possibility of becoming the head manager or managing a bar at another location.