Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Let's Be Great

What separates good from great?  A lot of things, and entire books have been written on the subject.  In regards to the bar, if you're going to have a great cocktail program, beer program, wine program, a really great overall beverage program at your restaurant, here are just a few things I have learned that make a huge difference:

- The people who are putting together the program need to be on the same page and have a common goal
- The people executing the program day in and day out need to be 100% on board, buy into the program so to speak, and be excited and passionate about it.  They need to understand WHAT you are doing, WHY you are doing it, and HOW to do it
 - TLC?  Yup, there needs to be a little tender loving care put into each cocktail crafted, each beer poured, each glass of wine served.  You have to care, and you need to have a strong desire to give your guest a great experience.  I am convinced it makes a difference
- There needs to be ongoing staff education and training
- Ergonomic bar set-up, equipment placement, organization of bar tools and bottles, and pre-shift prep work at the bar.  On a busy Friday night, having everything you need within a few steps and everything prepped and ready to go makes all the difference if your going to quickly and properly execute
- Ego needs to be checked at the door
- You're only as strong as your weakest link
- You need to monitor the quality of the products you're team is putting out each and every day: beer, wine, cocktails, N/A beverages.  Is something as simple as a whiskey sour or Cosmo being made according to your agreed upon recipes and standards?  Is that draft beer being poured correctly, served at the right temperature, and in the proper glass?  Can your entire staff articulate to guests the flavor profiles and other selling points pertinent to each of the wines in your wine-by-the-glass offerings?  When you really pay attention, you might be surprised!
- Recipes.  You need them.  Print them out. Memorize them.
- Inventory. Do it. Monthly.  Weekly if need be.  Have controls in place; monitor and understand the numbers.
- Does your Espresso, Cappuccino,and hot tea taste good?  How is being presented to guests?
- Be open to change and trying new things.  Just because you've always done something a certain way for a long time doesn't mean it's the best way.  Be ready and willing to adapt, change, and try new things.  Think outside of the box.
- Little things make a big difference and say huge things about your bar, beverage program, sometimes even your restaurant as a whole.  Glassware, bar tools, the brands you offer, music style and volume, lighting, uniforms, style of service, etc.  They all play a role in your brand.  Revisit and re-evaluate these things often to make sure they are playing the role you want them to play with your brand.

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