A bar manager’s salary depends on experience, location, and bar concept. And if they're a good bar manager, of course! For example, the average bar manager salary in California is just over $54,000. While the average bar manager salary in Illinois is just under $43,000 as of 2019. Cost of living plays a big part in salary. Keep that in mind as you read on about national averages.
So without further ado, let’s look at how much a bar manager makes in a year. Then we'll look at how bar managers get paid and whether or not salaried managers can take tips.
How Much Does a Bar Manager Make a Year?
We took the average bar manager salary from the five largest nationwide employment websites and averaged that for a truly representative number. The average bar manager salary in the U.S. is $45,383 per year.
Given that number combined with the fact that bar manager duties (everything from marketing and restaurant SEO to creating opening and closing checklists to menu engineering—all types of menus) take an average of 60 hours per week, bar managers make an average of $14.55 an hour. Bar managers might even have to compile a bar operations manual or a bar staff training manual. They have a lot of responsibility in maintaining bar and restaurant operations. They even need to know how to spot a bartender stealing.
Here’s the data we used:
How Do Bar Managers Get Paid?
Typically, bar managers are salaried. They get paid a set amount per year and are not eligible for overtime.
However, some bar managers are hourly. That’s because they’re bartenders who have been promoted to part-time bar managers. On their bartending shifts they still have to do their bartender duties and usually make minimum wage plus tips. If you're lucky they can eventually come up with bartender interview questions and hire bar staff to cover the bartending. On their bar manager shifts they’ll make a more competitive hourly wage. One that aligns with what salaried bar managers make and get no tips.
Which brings us to tips. Do bar managers get them?
Can Salaried Bar Managers Take Tips?
Yes. A salaried bar manager can take tips if they receive that tip directly from a customer.
But a salaried manager should not be taking tips from a tip pool. Those tips are generally reserved for the employees who depend on tips: waiters, bartenders, barbacks, and bussers. Even if that salaried manager finds him or herself taking on some barback duties that shift.
The one exception is if that salary manager spent the shift performing similar duties that a tipped, hourly employee performed. Some bar managers generate tips and put them into the tip pool, though. Then it’s acceptable for them to take a comparable amount out of the tip pool at the end of the shift.
And That’s the Average Bar Manager Salary
45K is a pretty good salary for a bar manager. And all that kitchen slang they pick up is a nice side benefit. If you’re ready to accept that job offer, then you’ll need to get acquainted with all the duties and responsibilities of a bar manager. You need to lead and train staff, not to mention hire them. Just make sure you know the answer to "how old do you have to be to serve alcohol?"
One of those—and we here at BinWise think the most important one—is bar inventory management.
Using bar inventory software like BinWise Pro will make one of your most important responsibilities quick and intuitive. It turns all your manual counting into fast, effortless scanning. And it generates every report you’ll need based on those inventory numbers to make profitable bar management decisions and update your restaurant chart of accounts.
Book a demo and let us walk you through exactly how. You’ll impress your bar owner, save yourself a ton of time, and make your bar a profitable place to work for everyone. You owe it to yourself and your bar to explore the bar management solutions out there. Well, here’s one of them!