To make the most out socializing deal seekers who come by during happy hour, you need to be sure your servers are increasing food sales at the bar. Bartending training is the key.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars can be lost because of poor systems supporting the service of guests on a wait list who end up eating at the bar. Is your service up to par? Check it out: First, take a close look at all of your support procedures and training materials. You could be headed for disaster if they don’t include bartender training to the fullest extent.

Second, check up on food knowledge. Does each member of the bar staff know the menu and how to place orders? If not, incorporate the needed bartender training in daily pre-shift meetings.

Next, consider stocking the bar area with the same supplies the dining rooms require. Running back to a server work station or the kitchen for silverware, napkins or condiments not only adds another step in the process, but also acts as a deterrent during the sales process.

Bar servers will turn-and-burn on the drinks, but avoid potential food sales when the support system for serving appetizers and entrées isn’t in place.

Step up your bartender training by encouraging bartenders and servers in the bar to participate in sales contests to improve sales, tips, and morale. Grab a great idea from the book Playing Games at Work!