There are a lot of reasons to hire security staff for your bar, but deciding who to put in those positions can be harder than you think. Far too often, owners will onboard the first mountain-sized man that submits an application, but there’s more to protecting your assets —your property and staff as well as your clientele — than simply selecting an imposing build.
Pick Your People Yourself
Yes, security companies have the time and ability to focus solely on the security field, but who knows your business better than you? Everything from your profit margins to your liquor license depends on employing experienced and effective security staff — so take the time and effort to interview independently and ensure you’re getting what you pay for.
Getting an overall impression of a potential employee may be enough when hiring for some jobs, but interviewing security staff necessitates some deeper questions:
• Has the applicant ever been arrested? If so, for what?
• Is there a history of drug abuse? Drug testing may be a required part of the application process.
• Has the applicant ever been fired? If so, why?
• Is there a verifiable work history and does it include comparable work in the security and/or bar sector?
• Does he know how to spot a fake ID or recognize common signs of intoxication?
Include questions that will garner the information you need and highlight the interviewee’s ability to problem solve, communicate effectively, and think on his feet.
Bright and Bubbly or Dark and Brooding?
Personable staff is important when a business’s success so heavily hinges upon the customer’s perception of hospitality. In many ways you want your security staff to be welcoming and approachable, but you need them to project strength and authority as well.
You don’t want your security staff to be afraid of confrontation but neither do you want them to seek it. A bouncer with an anger problem is now your problem, and the consequences can be catastrophic. Avoid injuries, lawsuits or an awful scene by screening your staff before they ever have a chance to interact with customers, and keep an eye on how current employees take care of business, too.
Your clientele consists of a mix of different personalities and your security staff should reflect this. Having someone on hand who can talk two guys out of fighting before any punches are thrown can prevent a war of words from becoming a brawl. Equally important is the staff member who can escort a belligerent intoxicated person out of the bar without harming him or wrecking the party for everyone else.
Another factor to consider during the hiring process is the interviewee’s interest in the hospitality industry in general. A bar is a customer-oriented business, and every employee in every position needs to understand that. In addition to checking IDs at the door and maintaining order, security staff will also have to answer questions about the bar’s history, direct people toward the bathroom, help inebriated guests get a cab home, and so on. Handled incorrectly, these seemingly simple interactions could wind up costing you return business or even instigating a fight if someone is a little drunk and misinterprets a brusque reply as an invitation for hostility.
Train for Success
A successful boss and bar/restaurant owner knows that the hiring process doesn’t end when a new employee comes on board. Training is an essential part of making a new hire a good hire. Your security staff should know what’s expected of them, and the best way to get that across is to have a clear-cut job description along with step-by-step instructions on how to execute and adhere to those expectations. How should doormen handle underage gate crashers? What are your policies regarding unruly guests? What is the protocol for dealing with a robbery? Of course one hopes these things never happen, but in the nightclub industry it’s more likely than not that problems will arise. It’s therefore essential that everyone is properly and thoroughly prepared to deal with them.
By Wes Wernette, head of marketing at FireKing Security Group in New Albany, IN. FireKing focuses on broad-based security and asset protection in residential and commercial markets with products like safes, fireproof file cabinets and more.