I've been at my current job for about 6 months. And even though it took a good 6 months to get the bar and beverage program from Point A to Point B, I feel like we've accomplished a lot. And that's success.
Is the the bar exactly the way I want it to be? No. And it never will be. I came into a restaurant that had already been in operation for over a decade. They had their own house drinks, some of which were very popular. They have set ways of doing things and thinking about things. It's a restaurant with a very loyal following of guests that usually order the same exact thing. A clientele very loyal to the big name-brand spirits that pour a lot of time and money into marketing. A clientele used to ordering their Cosmos and Lemon Drops, or any cocktail that ends with the word "Tini" (Cocktail and Martini has seemingly become synonymous if it comes in a chilled, stemmed glass). As I've learned, anything with "tini" tagged on to the name of a drink seems to sell like crazy here, and who I am to say "no, that's not how we're gonna do things here...it has to be like this!" Business is business. and I've learned that sometimes you have to accept other schools of thought and be open to doing things a different way if it proves to be successful for the restaurant. Balancing the old with the new. I've made some changes here and there, and I think that overall, it's been for the better.
Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I did what I could to keep the majority happy, while implementing little things here and there that would hopefully breathe some new life into the establishment, bring in some new guests, and "raise the bar" so to speak in regards to what brands of spirits we carry, the type of cocktails on our cocktail list (balancing the list with new drinks, classic drinks, and also keeping around a few of the guests house favorites), the tools and techniques we use behind the bar when crafting drinks, and the overall feel and vibe of the bar and lounge. It's been an exercise in patience for sure, and it hasn't been easy.
There's so much more I wish I could do and that I want to do. But at the end of the day, if I'm able to get one guest to at least TRY something different, something other than a Cosmo or Lemon Drop or a sugary-sweet drink, or to at least TRY a great, locally distilled, artisan spirit instead of their go-to Grey Goose vodka or Bacardi rum, then I'm a happy camper. And, if I'm able to deliver great guest service and a fun, memorable experience, regardless of what they want to drink, then I've done my job. Because that's really what it's all about. Sure...I love hand-crafted cocktails that use fresh, seasonal ingredients and quality booze. I love to drink and I love to make a balanced, well-made cocktail for my guests. I'm passionate about great cocktails, amazing food, quality spirits, and really good service. But at the end of the day, it's all about making the guest feel welcome, and giving them what they want. It's about ensuring our customers have a good time while enjoying great food and drink in a warm and inviting setting. Genuine, hospitable service is a beautiful thing.