What influences a drinker more than any advertising or promotion when it comes to buying drinks in bars? Their bartender, of course! This earth-shattering revelation comes from a recent survey by the Adult Beverage Insights Group. And although it may seem screamingly obvious to many of us, the fact is that too many bar owners overlook the selling power of their own human capital.
So how can an owner help his or her bartender sell more? Stop stocking crap, for one thing. Quality tools allow the bartender to do a quality job; and when a bartender is proud of the drinks s/he's mixing, s/he'll be more likely to get the customer excited about it, too.
The other—and most important—way to help your bartender sell more and up is to give them the information they need to sell product. The survey's respondents support this idea that "familiarity and product knowledge are key influencers in what they sell at the bar." That means training them on proper mixing techniques, setting up regular tastings, and getting them involved in menu creation.
Sadly, there was one thing this study revealed that sent a chill down my spine: it turns out that a lot of bartenders actually prefer working with "fewer ingredients and convenient mixers." But perhaps this is less of an indication of laziness, and more of a cry for help. Maybe with a little extra training and exposure to higher standards, these bartenders will learn to appreciate the joy of freshly squeezed juices and carefully prepped garnishes.