Order, ring through, mix, repeat. It’s the mantra of busy bartenders on packed Saturday nights. A weekend rush can feel like a tsunami: a giant unending wave of orders, process, and scrambling, leaving an unprepared bartender gasping for air and begging for a break that won’t come until the lights come on at 3am.
The key to raising the bar at your nightclub? Keep that bar line moving. Customer turnover in a nightclub environment means filling glasses to fill sales tills. Here are strategies you can use to keep the bar at your bar or nightclub moving, your bartenders happy, and everyone’s pockets full.
Keep your bar menu simple
First the mint and lime get muddled. Then more lime and sugar. Muddle muddle muddle. Then comes the ice. Then comes the rum. Then carbonated water. The garnish. It’s just a simple mojito, before you know it, three minutes has passed and your customer is tapping their foot. People are impatient, especially after their tastes buds have been whetted, or more accurately, greased, with a couple of beverages. The bottom line here is to keep your menu within the limits of the bar at its busiest. Simple cocktails are usually the most effective. And if you do have a complicated drink on the menu, prepare what you can ahead of time to cut the laborious part in the middle of a rush.
Keeping your recipes within your POS
“Can I get a Harry Potter shot?” Come again? What? You don’t know that a Harry Potter shot entails a bartender throwing on a sorting hat, a Gryffindor scarf while igniting a shot of citrus vodka with a “magic wand”, then you probably should seek an alternative career. We’re joking obviously, but bizarre shot and drink requests are a common phenomenon. Flipping through a mixology textbook is laborious, and searching for recipes on Google is impossible, so store recipes within your POS system. That way, if you do have a more complicated drink on your menu, or a bartender is training or suffering from a brief memory lapse, your drink recipes are easily accessible.
Stock the fridges
Efficiency will make or break you during a rush. From an empty keg to an empty bottle well, every second counts when it comes to turning that bar line over. With analytics and sales records on hand within your POS reporting, you can better anticipate your stock needs and avoid running out of a key ingredient.
Have a barback
If a bartender says scalpel, the barback says, stat! If your establishment gets to the point of crazy, dragging your poor bartenders along with it, they need backup. A barback can take a lot of pressure off the bartender, taking care to restock, clean glasses, remove empties, as needed. Just as bartenders are responsible for making the order line move smoothly, the barbacks are responsible for making sure the bartenders have everything they need.
Pour spouts are those handy little caps that cut the flow of booze off every ounce so you’re no longer subjected to the cost associated with over pours, spilled pours, extra pours, momentary lapses in attention, diverted attention etc. Not only do they take the guesswork out of bartenders’ pouring equation, but they reduce alcohol spill and shave time off pours. In the end, that little investment saves you money! While you won’t find them on premium liqueurs like cognac or whisky, or thick liqueurs like digestifs, on your standard bar rail, they work wonders in creating consistency, efficiency and speed. So, if you like savings, put a cap on it!
Starting a tab
It’s a bar classic that never fails: the tab can save you wonders. Simply take a credit card and a name, and add drinks to the tab. Allowing customers to order drinks one by one, costs you both transactionally and wastes precious time that could otherwise be spent turning customers over. Bottom line? Reduce the number of debit and credit card transactions, increase the customer turnover.
The best bartenders know how to handle the influx. They make eye contact, in a few words conveying charm to inspire sentiments of good service, all while mixing drinks, popping caps and ringing the customer through as swift as a magic trick. Empower them to move through the line and fly through orders and you’ll both be happy and make more money.
About the Author
Andrea is a Content Marketing Specialist and Editor at TouchBistro where she writes about restaurant and dining trends, restaurant management, and food culture. A self-affirmed food geek, Andrea devours cookbooks and food blogs. She also knows how to make a killer kale salad.More Content by Andrea Victory