This is old news, last October Danielle Day from Chicago was voted America’s hottest female bartender.
The story grabbed my attention, because it does a decent job of highlighting some of the differences between the service industries in the US and Europe.
Bartending in the US
In the US bartending can be a lucrative career.
Hopefuls pay to attend Bartending School, and learn how to mix drinks, serve customers with flair, how to turn on the charm and when to turn it off, and responsible alcohol service.
Although it is not absolutely necessary to attend a bartending school in the US, it can help you climb the career ladder quickly- otherwise would-be bartenders generally have to learn the ropes by working as busboys or table waiters, which pay considerably less than bartending. In the US a bartender can expect to earn around $100 to $300 per day. This depends on the establishment, and also the city they work in. A large part of this money comes from tips.
If a bartender hopeful is not trained or experienced and cannot work to a high standard he or she is unlikely to find employment.
Bartending in Europe
In Europe, bar keeping is classed as one of the menial jobs, which is paid the ‘minimum wage’.
Here in Spain an inexperienced bar person will earn the same wage as his burger-flipping counterpart.
Legally a person should be paid more for working night shifts, but in practice I have never known this to happen.
There are no special skills required to work in a bar, and newcomers have to learn how to deal with customers the hard way. Due to their lack of training and people skills this can often lead to misunderstandings and arguments and even physical fights.
Bar staff in the UK are never tipped as such, although the customers will often buy them drinks. Some establishments allow the staff to keep the money, in others a drink must be taken.
In Spain tipping bar staff is the custom, although the tip will be a token amount, it is unusual to receive more than 50 eurocents (approx. $0.70) and many customers will leave less or not tip at all.
Standards are low- even without experience or flair for the trade, if a person can move reasonably well; they have a chance of finding employment. Whether they will be kept on is something else, bar keeping jobs have a very high staff turnaround, and it is unusual to see the same person in the same establishment for a length of time.
Now see ‘America’s Hottest Female Bartender’ Danielle Day discussing her work, then see her English counterpart in action below.