Whether it's in a hotel lobby, a new trendy restaurant, or a speakeasy, a cocktail bar is often the most profitable location in any food and beverage operation. Because it represents so much potential, it's even more important to consider best practices to help maximize the profitability of this space. Let's take a look at five essential tips for a profitable cocktail bar.
Try to implement zero-step bartending.
What is zero-step bartending? It's giving bartenders the ability to create everything in a single space without stepping around behind the bar. If everything is at arm's length, bartenders can create cocktails quicker, and the more cocktails a bartender can create in a given amount of time, the more profitable that space will be.
Keep your bar organized.
Mise en place, which is a common French phrase that means "to put in place," is common in just about every commercial kitchen around the world. It entails setting up ingredients before cooking to make the process easier. This isn't just exclusive to the back-of-the-house, though.
Bartenders who keep an organized bar area will be prepared to make just about any type of concoction in a shorter period of time while also being able to work with their heads up, reading the room, and connecting with guests like all veteran bartenders should. Every time a bartender has to look down to fumble for a tool or turn her back on the room to get an ingredient from a backbar refrigerator, she is missing out on all the hospitality opportunities in front of her. This causes bartenders to lose their natural flow of service.
Keep your bar clean.
Unsanitary conditions can mean cross contamination and dirty drinks as a best case scenario, expensive health code violations and even closure at its worst. When drinks are prepared with bar spoons or cocktail strainers that haven't been properly cleaned, the next drink won't taste like it should. When cleaning equipment like glass rinsers are installed outside of health codes, fines or closure may occur. Either way, keep your bar clean to keep your customers coming back and health inspectors from coming back.
Store ingredients the right way.
In many ways, cocktails are only as good as the ingredients that go into them. If you're making a classic negroni or Manhattan, your vermouth is extremely important. Treat it that way, and refrigerate it. After all, it's wine. If you're making a mojito or a caipirinha, mint will be key to your cocktails. Garnishes like herbs need to be stored the right ways so they don't wilt behind the bar.
Utilize the latest technologies and equipment.
Whether you're figuring out a new way to display your wine list on a iPad or tablet or are using the latest point-of-sale software system, equipment can make things easier and enhance the guest experience. With new underbar equipment like Perlick's Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station, bartenders can create high quality cocktails in higher volumes, all while providing a better experience for guests.