Experience Vs. Expertise: What Sets You Apart?

By Toronto Bar School, 4/19/2023

Experience Vs. Expertise: What Sets You Apart?

Success in the workplace is measured in outcomes and performance, not on what you’ve attained in the past and bartending is no different. That is why having expertise is going to triumph over experience. So what is the difference between experience and expertise? In the bar industry, it is what is going to set you apart from the crowd. More than ever, success in the workplace depends on having the critical skills to perform. For restaurants and businesses, training is not only about getting the most out of its employees, but also ensuring they have the capability to cope with and thrive in the fast pace of bartending.

What is the Difference Between Experience and Expertise?

What is the difference between bartending experience and expertise?

Experience refers to acquiring skills and knowledge in a certain field over a number of years.
Experience has mostly to do with numbers and how many years are spent in a particular field or doing a particular task for a lengthy time. Experience can also be referred to in the context of life. A person who is much older is said to have more life experience. However, in terms of a job and a particular field, experience refers to the knowledge and skills acquired by being on the job for a number of years.

True expertise has to do more with skills and knowledge and is less irrelevant to the number of years in that particular field. Expertise can also be naturally found in terms of talent. Expertise can also be gained through experience. If a person constantly works in a particular field, they are bound to learn more and more about it and become an expert in that field. However, not always does experience gain expertise. Many people work in a particular field and still never manage to learn anything new about it. There are always new things to learn as a bartender. If you take the time to learn about different ingredients, you can even come up with your own new and invetive drinks.

When it comes to bartending, expertise trumps experience. If you really enjoy making inventive cocktails, then honing your mixology skills is a great idea. If you love whiskey, then learning about different styles of whiskey and its history will feel rewarding.

What are You Missing?

What skills are you missing as a bartender?

A good bartender has a foundational skill set, that includes these basic skills:

Drink knowledge: What ingredients are in each drink is important, but it really raises the guest experience when you can pair wines with meals, or recommend the best cocktails.


A soft touch with customer service: It starts with a smile, but it goes even further if you can be personable, make and hold interesting conversations, and generally go above and beyond for your guests. You want to make their experience memorable, keep them coming back, and recommending you to their friends and family.


Organization: Being organized is going to help you in the long run. You have to know where evything that you need is located, because when it comes to the busy rush, every second counts. Being able to reach for something you need, without even looking is going to save you precious time. That also means having all the stock you need on hand.


Time-management: When the dinner, late-night rush, or any other rush of guests pour in, you are going to get a lot of drink orders, all at once, so utilizing your time is key. For example reading ahead of your orders to make the hardest drinks first, and making more than one drink at a time is going to make your night run smoother.


Calm in the face of stress: Because of the fast-paced atmosphere and constant flow of incoming drink orders, bartending can be high-stress. You need to be able to keep your cool, with a smile on your face. Guests want to know they are being taken care of and when you are stressed, it doesn’t reflect well on your guests and their atmosphere. Most of your guests have had a long work week and they want to unwind and relax. Whichever methods you use to keep yourself calm are going to be to your benefit.

Made Up Your Mind?

While personally, I love bartending, I recognize that it’s not for everyone. If you’ve decided that you’re ready for the challenge, why not begin your bartending training at Toronto Bar School?