THE PERFECT POUR...WHY IT WORKS FOR GUINNESS*! March 23 2017
Note: *Does not imply the brand's endorsement Überbartools™
Bars and Pubs pride themselves on pouring a perfect pint of Guinness!
To deliver the promise Guinness provides its bars the equipment and training to guarantee the Guinness promised is delivered .
The question to ask: “Why does Guinness do this?”
The experience: Guinness makes a promise on quality and taste, which consumers gladly invest in to enjoy the experience of Ireland in a glass
Consistency: Consumers know that the experience will be the same at every place serving Guinness on tap.
Value for money: Quality, consistency, and experience in a glass represents value; something consumers will happily pay for. Whilst many competitive beer brands offer a product, almost none can replicate the Guinness experience; thereby Guinness owns the hearts, minds and imaginations of successive generations of loyal followers!
Guinness understands that irrespective of where their beer is served and by whom… It will always taste the same, and therein lies the promise delivered.
Regrettably, we cannot say the same about spirits served in a bar, as the tools required to deliver the promise are inaccurate and inconsistent.
Research shows that inconsistently prepared drinks creates category swap, the process where guests turn to a more predictable drink option bypassing spirits to bottle alternatives requiring either a corked or popped option. Either way spirits loose out.
BEWARE - IMAGES MAY NOT BE GOLD March 09 2017
Recently a colleague received a letter of demand from Dun and Brad street, advising that an e-newsletter published in 2014 used an unauthorized (unpaid for) image from the Getty library.
The long saga came to an end after the payment (extortion) of $250.00 was made down from $1000 for what could have been a $4 online purchase.
The Lessons - If you create Facebook posts, websites and newsletters, be very careful where you or your staff source photos. In many instances the cost to obtain an image is only $1, less if on a free library.
Today many businesses subcontract to outside organizations or junior staff social/media activities. If you're in this boat ensure your staff/contractors are aware of the consequences of using "unauthorized" photos.
THE RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF BEING OUR VERY BEST March 09 2017
As Hospitality professionals, most of us are excited to help people by making a difference to an occasion, experience or foot note.
Doing the same thing day in and out can sometimes make us forget what’s important serving others.
To many, the new face standing, sitting or queuing in front of us is just another customer. Sure they’ll be treated nicely, but how many of us really care whether that person or people receive the experience they deserve and in a sense are entitled to.
Recently a friend who owns a local community deli, took his wife on a five star holiday.
My friends are warm and friendly, their customers LOVE them; in fact these guys are the very essence of hospitality.
Working 7 days a week, 51 weeks a year, they look forward to their 1 week holiday where being spoilt and pampered is what it’s all about.
The build up to that one week holiday takes 6 months of longing, expectation and desire, plus 51 weeks of scrimping and saving. .
Guess what, the 5 star resort vacation was underwhelming, not because they had unrealistic expectations, it was the attitude of the staff and resort GM who did not care at all.
Without getting into the rights and wrongs of the situation, I think there’s a far bigger lesson here.
When a fresh face comes to our bar or restaurant, who knows what type of day they’ve had or are still having; how often do they go out and spoil themselves; can they afford to go out regularly or need to save up to go out.
Ultimately, as servers or facilitators, it’s too easy to get caught up in the moment and forget we’re trying to help other people, and its most unlikely we’ll ever know the circumstances and situations our guests face or are in.
The only thing that counts: guests are in our care, they deserve our “Relentless Pursuit of Being Our Very Best."
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BEING BAR READY FOR A CATASTROPHIC EVENT March 09 2017
SHOULD YOU FOLLOW COCKTAIL TRENDS? January 20 2017
Whenever these reports surface, there’s lots of chatter and interest amongst bartenders and bar owners hoping to gobble up and then commercialise the latest trends:
However, the resulting consequence is less exciting than one hoped to imagine - with bars around the world following the exact same trend and offering similar concoctions with little to no differentiation.
Here’s some things to consider the next time you’re reading (and hoping to implement) about the latest cocktail trend
- Trends are the talk of the town. Whilst it’s great to know what’s happening away from your bar, do you really want to follow a trend that too many others close by will soon follow?
- Some trends are irrelevant. Trends tend not to account for nuances such as culture, demographics and geographic differences and can prove to be irrelevant to your customers.
- Trends should be symbolic only. Trends should be seen more as an indicator, rather than something that’s definitive, to represent the theme and taste relevant of your bar and its guests.
- Who is reporting the trend? Can the information reported be trusted? Is the trend promoted by a liquor company or its reps with a vested interest?
Therefore, while a bar can start crunching profits early on by adopting a trend, the question of a trend's longevity must be taken into consideration. Is investing in the trend worthwhile? Will it provide sustainability for the business? Rather than answering these questions, we can focus our energy on creating a craft bar experience - who are better served being beacons of creativity while offering inspiration, art and experiences rather than slavishly following cocktail trends of dubious or possibly irrelevant provenance.
Images designed by Freepik (www.freepik.com)
TRANSPARENCY IN LIQUOR SERVES - THE JIG IS UP January 09 2017
Giving a customer exactly what they’ve ordered by spirit volume is what every consumer guest expects, similar to going to a gas/petrol station and expecting the volume amount showing on the gauge has been delivered.
In the wild west of bar tending circa 2012 to 1920 the poor guest was diddled out of spirit quality and volume by bar owners and bartenders wanting to make more money at their customer’s expense.
Leaving to one side the lunacy of using unscrupulous business practices here are some notable bartender/house under-pour tricks:
1. Placing coins inside a non-transparent jigger to give the appearance to a guest that they’ve received a full measure or correct portion of liquor.
2. Using multi level jiggers, non-transparent whereby liquor up to 60ml or 2oz is poured into a lined or step jigger where the guest cannot see the actual measure of alcohol poured. Who knows whether what’s delivered is what’s poured?
3. Liquor bottle swap – recycling branded liquor bottles re-filling with cheaper spirits
4. Free-pouring (short pouring)
A guest is entitled to know and trust the person dispensing Alcohol – when we buy food or bottles of booze, labelling assures us of the quality and volume of what’s been purchased or soon consumed.
The growing practice of using concealed measures, whilst in itself not illegal, does throw into question whether a true and fair measure of alcohol is being provided to the guest.
Here are some examples of non-transparent multi-volume jiggers that may give rise to under/over serve volume measures.
1. Lined Jiggers
2. Stepped Jiggers
With competition for lips on glass – at an all-time high – not taking accurate liquor serves seriously may play towards undermining quality, transparency and a bars reputation.
Using authorised or accredited jiggers or measures, goes a long way to providing a guest with the assurance that they are getting what they’ve paid for. For those not using or investing in tools of assurance, the Jig is Up.
The rise of the Mixologist has been astonishing.
Whilst the term was first coined to refer to a person mixing burger meat at a McDonald’s, the term now helps differentiate a main street bartender from their high street cousins.
The name bartender, as a generic descriptor, seems adequate, however does it really describe those that have scaled lofty liquid heights?
For those that have earned the title Mixologist, it’s fitting to see these people as part conjurer, entertainer, story teller, mixer and expert.
Ironically, attaching one's shingle to the Mixologist mast is not something one goes out to earn a piece of paper that says one is credentialed, nor is it awarded by a cabal of accredited individuals, rather it’s more a self-ascribed sobriquet that one hope to hell, as a guest, the self-appointed has truly achieved through years of hard work, education and experience.
Suffice to say Mixologists are people at the top of their game and are accorded such by industry peers.
For my money, when l want a cocktail delivered with style, panache, artistry, please give me a mixologist!
WHY IS ROSE GOLD SUCH A MARKET WINNER? January 09 2017
Take a stroll around any mall or shopping complex and you'll find products with one colour that has occupied a spot next to timeless and classic colours such as Gold, Black and Silver - Rose Gold. The Rose Gold phenomenon started 3 years ago and it's craze seems to mimic the significant uplift in heritage and craft hues.
Today, Rose Gold is prevalent across many products in a myriad of industries and it's shade can be found in everything from bar tools to phones, ipads, electronics, watches and housewares. Restaurants, hotels, manufacturers and retailers have succumbed to the lure of Rose Gold, with the public seemingly not getting enough of the finish!
But what’s driving the Rose Gold fad?
1. Rose Gold is a timeless colour, enjoying rises and falls in popularity as fashion dictates.
2. It’s not as "bling" as gold.
3. It exists within a narrow band that sits between fashion and luxury.
4. Rose Gold has a warm and re-assuring feel that implies quality and familiarity.
5. It has unisex appeal.
In 2015, Uberbartools™ introduced Rose Gold finishes across several ranges in response to customer demands.
The resulting feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and to date since introduction, across several industry types and markets, our Rose Gold range continues to experience growth and significant demand.
BETTER TOOLS AND TRAINING TRUMPS TALENT December 05 2016
Apologies to our many friends in the US, with our choice of title.
Every bar cries out for experienced bar staff.
Experienced meaning bartenders possessing the requisite knowledge, skills and mindset to excel at the job.
Experience of course comes at a price and in a global sellers’ market, the buyer, namely the bar must pay over the odds to acquire the required talent.
Seems fairly logical, right?
Now here’s the secret very few understand and even less share.
To compensate for poor, badly performing bar tools (as many bars do not see the value in higher quality, more precise tools), better, more expensive bar staff must be retained to overcome the negative consequences of using poor quality tools.
If this doesn’t make sense , here’s another way of looking at it:.
Let’s say a business is using antiquated software to run accounts, process wages, and evaluate sales. To overcome for the shortfall in software, more staff are required to make sense of the mess..meaning higher costs and more time consumed to get the results required.
At Uber we know that investment in rock star bartenders will not always compensate for a lack of investment in the proper tools. Give a mid level bartenders better tools and you could find they can shake it up just as well as their more experienced brothers using lower quality bartools.
RISKAURANTS - COCKTAIL LEAD RESTAURANT RECOVERIES December 02 2016
On the flip side, the business of food is highly risky, the factors making it so are:
- Labour and ingredient costs are high
- Long hard hours
- Negligible returns
Depending on restaurant, food to alcohol sales can be dangerously low, weighing in at 80/20 to 90/10 in many Asian countries.
In Western counties sales ratios ranging 70/30 and 80/20 are more common.
to many restaurants a golden revenue opportunity is being lost by either not having a cocktail offer or having one that’s so old school that no one orders them.
Plating and serving food takes time, effort and money by comparison, serving a quality cocktail takes less effort, time and product costs to return Gross Margins of over 80%.
Many restaurants price cocktails at around the same price of starters (entrees).
Imagine the dramatic impact on your business if you could serve in $ equivalent terms double the value with a starter/cocktail combo. Most likely the 2 together would generate more $ than the sale of a main meal by itself.
Too many restaurant businesses leave money on the counter.. take the risk out of Riskaurant by offering or upping your cocktail offer.
THE AGREEABLE VS. THE ANGRY CHEFTATOR November 28 2016
We’ve all experienced issues with bully boy chefs (AKA Cheftators) who dictate how and what their guests will eat and act, irrespective of the guests needs.
How refreshing to be welcomed with a new refrain, when recently booking at a high end Italian restaurant.
My partner a vegetarian, gluten free, pesticide free, with a few other exhausting not to be repeated dietary needs, needs to be very sure about where we eat to ensure her needs are catered for.. Me, on the other hand, l’m a vicarious vegetarian - l eat things that eat vegetables.
Expecting our reservation to be cancelled immediately here was the reply from the telephone host:
“No problems sir, our Chef loves a challenge, we do try to accommodate most people’s needs.”
Wow, l thought, the time of the Cheftator is now over, particularly when more and more people for reasons of choice or otherwise have special dietary needs. A failure today of a Chef or business for that matter to recognise the needs of their customers is itself an act of “Dishospitality."
Whether a Chef, a snickerty Bartender or Business owner, he or she who does not bend from the knee to their guests or customers, will quickly be wrong way rounded and kicked you know where!
Images from www.freepik.com
DIAGEO REJECTS FREE POURING. IT'S ABOUT TIME DUDE! November 22 2016
World liquor behemoth, Diageo, through its Bartender/Bar Owner outreach program - Bar Academy, is now promoting the importance of a consistent and accurate liquor serve.
The biggest surprise in the Bar Academy advocacy program is that finally: Diageo is recommending NO FREE POURING of alcohol.
For far too long the liquor industry has refused to see the relevance and importance of ensuring that alcohol, a key ingredient in every cocktail, is treated seriously with respect to the guest by serving the correct volume of alcohol, with no guessing.
At Über we believe that the 3 crucial elements to pouring a perfect serve pivots around:
1. Cocktails must be memorable – to delight the guest
2. It must be consistent: accurately measured and served to meet compliance standards.
3. Must be profitably made to guarantee a long term sustainable business.
Any single element missing in a serve, the delivered result fails..
To many bartenders Free Pouring equates to skill and elegance, a prized commodity. Yet on another level this could be considered nothing more than ego.
Making cocktails is not about a bartender, ego or looks – it’s revolves about the guest – delivering a valued experience, gladly paid and hopefully re-ordered.
It has taken a big Company like Diageo to admit that free pouring alcohol is bad, ultimately reducing quality and profits.
THE PRODUCT PARADOX: BUY, USE, DISCARD, REPEAT November 22 2016
Alex Kretena recently was attributed to this quote:
“Bartenders are fed up with the rapid purchase cycle: buy, use, discard, repeat, the new generation wants products with sustainability and purpose."
We call this the Product Paradox.
Since modern means of manufacturing evolved, deliberate obsolescence/product failure was inbuilt into all design to encourage on-going product consumption..meaning breakage, wastage, fatigue.
The result of hidden product design failure: customers having to buy more.
Over the last 75 years it’s been generally accepted that product failure was just a normal part of life, greeted with an accepting shrug of the shoulders.
Aided and abetted by oblivious customers, lining up to rebuy what they’d just bought.
So why then would any right thinking manufacturer design or produce anything better when customers agreed to pay less for progressively worse products?
Überbartools founders by Michael Silvers and Sam Tam, in the early part of this century conceived the guiding principles of the Company, built around 21st century design innovation with quality and sustainability a key to unlock the ground hog day of the Product Paradox.
Ironically bar tool technology seemed to be forever locked into a vortex of failed prohibition inspired design, creating the space for the: buy, use, discard and replace paradigm to exist.
Today’s Millennials think of resources in terms of being limited and therefore requiring careful thought based on the sound principles of sustainability, ergonomics, comfort, speed and efficiency.
The rise of premiumisation has ushered in a new age of design re-thinking where, quality, sustainability and the elevation of craftsmanship are heralded, eschewing the ethics associated with the Product Paradox.
3 B's TO C - THE DRINKS RELATIONSHIP VALUE November 22 2016
The drinks business is the perfect Business to Consumer relationship.
Brands, Bartenders and Bars (3B’s) work in unison to produce happy and satisfied, consumers (C).
The 3B to C relationship is a bottom up one, predicated on a simple cocktail formula.
The argy bargy of brand, bartender & even bar are all predicated on one thing delivering a served cocktail memorably, consistently & profitably into the hands of a consumer.
THE ART OF THE DISTILLER OR THE SKILL OF THE BARTENDER...OR BOTH? November 22 2016
The issue of distiller & bartender or art VS skill seems like a chicken & egg battle.
Is it the art of the distiller which allows a bartender to create a cocktail worthy of the bottled spirit or is it the bartenders skills that infuses life into a cocktail ?
We generally accept that when spirits journey from bottle into serving glass that the art of the distiller ends and the skill of the bartender begins.
Distillers understand that their prized liquids will be mainly used in cocktails, whether created by a brand or bartender.
Ultimately it’s the distillers vision which create the platform from which bartenders leap.
On the other side, many bartenders believe it’s their skills and creative process which provides the magic in a cocktail, thereby giving the liquid true form, a little like Michelangelo releasing a trapped “David” from its marble slab..
Whether distiller or bartender, each actor plays their part separately yet together it's their duality which creates the outcome that’s greater than its parts.
LIQOUR LOSS, BAR WASTE & SUSTAINIBILITY..SAVE BIG October 17 2016
We’ve recently written on the ease of bars to lose money wasting liquor.
Many operators don’t always see that wastage can be more than just wasting liquor it covers many other hidden costs that may lie undiscovered in areas such as consumables to over-using inputs in food or cocktails.
To see whether your business has a problem it becomes important to evaluate ALL your waste.
Here’s some things to think about::
- How much waste do you produce?
Can your waste be divided into
- Why is waste being produced?
- What steps can be used to reduce or eliminate waste via making changes to the menu, use of products or search for alternatives? i.e. making your own soda
- What can be re-used?
- Bulk up wine – serve in reused bottles.
- Do you use cheap consumables that encourage over consumption, because you’re trying to save a buck upfront.
- Use dehydrated fruit for garnish rather than fresh.
Want to cut down on your bar's liquor waste? email email@example.com for help.
SERVED DRINKS SUPER FAST October 17 2016
Drinks produced super-fast produce more Dollars?
This refrain is one commonly heard in the US, from venues where bartenders are paid minimum or less wages, relying therefore on tips to make an adequate living.
On the other hand speed of service can be a critical barometer of success provided the finished product is always consistent, (the ability to reproduce the same drink identically every time).
Fast drinks are predicated on a number of considerations:
1. Bartender skill/experience
2. Quality and accuracy of tools required to make the drink.
3. The number of drinks expected for a bartender to make per hour to maintain bar profitable.
4. The style of bar.. night club versus style bar.
In the US it’s expected that drinks are served fast with scant regard to consistency and quality. It doesn’t always follow that the faster a drink is made and served the more profitable a bar will be.
Mostly without adequate training, tools and systems in place drinks made fast tend to over-pour alcohol.
We know it takes 1 second of alcohol pour time to dispense 10ml or 1/3oz of a shot of alcohol with a half a second (a blink of an eye) to dispense 5ml or 1/6oz.
Repeated on an industrial level, fastness usually means sloppiness which in turn quickly corrodes a bar’s profits.
Like anything that’s quality a due amount of time must be invested to create the desired outcome.
Anyone that thinks that fast served drinks increases profitability is too focused on either tips or fast cash in the till rather than watch what’s pooled and wasted on the bar counter tops or the floor!
THE ADVANTAGES OF A "LESS IS MORE" MENU October 17 2016
While on a recent overseas trip it got us to thinking... a seasoned traveller is often provided with some of the most interesting and varied snap shots into emerging trends percolating the hospitality world.
One commonly re-occurring theme restaurants and bars are adopting is a “deconstructed” or simplified menu.
Subscribing to the “less is more” school turns confusion into an easy experience by simplifying that decision process. When you think about it, the menu kicks off the entire experience… and first impressions count!
Of course, if a guest likes pages of choices pick a menu that has simplicity whilst actually presenting a larger array of options. Less is more should be smart.
After all, “less is more” suits the world we live in. Deconstructed food and drink menu design literally means we trust someone else to make a better choice for us. In a world where we constantly cram more into our busy lives – more hours at work, more hours on the move, more travel, more to buy, more to see, more to do - this is a moment of simplicity and ease for the customer.
Still not sure? How about tacking a black board of seasonal specials onto your menu options?
And if that doesn’t convince you, think of it this way: paired down selections create faster order turnaround times, which means fewer server created mistakes and less wastage…
UNHAPPY HOUR - 1 IN EVERY 6 DRINKS FREE October 17 2016
Happy Hour is a time proven strategy to attract bar guests at quiet times.
The effort and energy used to promote Happy Hour can be amazing, with arising back slapping and hi-5’s if successful.
On the flip side have you heard of “Unhappy Hour”, the time in every bar, in every minute 1 in every 6 drinks is given away free?
Studies show that bars are so focused on what’s being served over the bar that few pay attention to what’s being spilt, wasted or over poured onto the counter or floor.
Here’s how: Either free pouring or using a jigger it’s far too easy to not stop or control a liquor pour stream once a bottle is tilted. After the alcohol is dispensed, one needs to pull the bottle upwards to stop the flow of more alcohol, which is easier said than done.
Putting some numbers behind the losses comes down to timing, science teaches us that it takes 3 seconds to pour 1 oz or 30mL of alcohol or 1 second to pour 1/3 oz or 10 ml.
So in just a blink of the eye, a quick glance away from the pouring action or erratic hand/eye co-ordination can cause an easy over pour.
Here’s how the liquor loss can be broken down by tool used:
1/10 - 1/6 Oz (3-5ml) over-poured via a speed pourer.
1/10 - 1/6 Oz (3-5ml) from the bubble or lens naturally forming at the top of a jigger.
So here’s some totals
Metric: 3 ml + 3 ml = 6 ml, per 30 ml shot
US/Imperial 1/10th +1/10th = 1/5th Oz per 1Oz shot
So why is it so easy to give away so much alcohol. Again this issue comes down to the consequence of poor bartender training/compliance together with the use of inaccurate pour quality pourers and jiggers.
When Inventory control folks see discrepancies in the numbers guess who they start blaming, bartenders.
Is it then really fair to blame bartenders for not performing when the culprit usually can be traced back to an under investment in cheap, poor performing tools?
For owners/ops managers wanting to change the outcome, a re-tool is needed. The good news is that it doesn’t cost that much, with busy bars potentially recouping their total investment costs within 4-10 weeks from implementing.
THE MISSING LINK BETWEEN BRAND AND BARTENDER – THE PROMISE October 17 2016
Liquor brands invest a huge amount of money creating and delivering awesome products.
The reason why we love these bands is they provide re-assurance, a promise or belief we’ll somehow experience something better as the result of trying, using or consuming.
In the spirits world, we translate this to a distiller who provides a liquid vision in a bottle and through the magic of logistics then delivers it through the front door of a bar or restaurant.
To get the consumer/guest to move, a brand owner will then entice consumers through advertising and other forms of outreach to believe and therefore buy/try.
What happens then when the promise made by a distiller/brand is not delivered by a bar/bartender in the manner conceived by the distiller? Can there be some form of damage caused to the brand?
In short the answer’s yes.
Ok, if we all can see the link between a promise and the arising failed delivery who will a consumer blame: the bar that served the drink or the person that produced the product, namely The Distiller/Brand.
Strangely so much time, energy and money is invested in making a liquid promise, that little care or thought is given to the delivery of that promise by a bar or restaurant within in a glass at the point of serve.
People such as Guinness many years ago focused on providing consumers with a faultless Guinness experience. To do this on premise Guinness needed to re-think the process from making the beer to consuming it.
The result: irrespective of country, bar or location a draught Guinness will taste exactly the same everywhere.
To provide the Guinness experience or as we like to call it The Promise, the Company invested money and time in their customers providing the tools( technology/equipment) and training( know how) required to help guarantee the delivery of a served beer.
Ultimately this “Promise” provides us with a value for money experience provided/served in a glass, gladly paid for.
So then doesn’t it sound pretty logical that if a bar fails to invest in the tools, training and discipline to deliver a brand’s Promise that in some way we all lose out?
JIGGERS AND POURERS COMPARISON CHART September 12 2016
Last week we talked about the six early signs that indicate liqour waste in a bar (see here).
The largest contributor to liquor loss comes from poor quality jiggers and pourers.
Here’s a quick overview to see whether your bar is at risk:
THE SIX EARLY SIGNS OF LIQUOR WASTAGE IN YOUR BAR September 09 2016
Liquor loss and wastage is a silent profit killer for most bars.
Well run bars regularly lose 10-15% by volume of every served shot, with poorly run bars losing much more!
Over many years we’ve discovered 6 early signs of liquor wastage.
THE SIX EARLY SIGNS OF LIQUOR WASTAGE IN YOUR BAR:
- Drips and mis-shots sitting in small pools on the bar counter or floor.
- Sticky counter tops/back bars.
- Broken speed pourers shoved into ice buckets, bins and other low viz/controlled bar areas.
- Excessive amount of “replacements” speed pourers and jiggers purchased monthly.
- Unexplained amounts of comps, mis-orders, staffies, broken/missing bottles.
- Reluctance to do regular inventory/stocktakes.
Normally these signs are seen as isolated, unrelated problems, yet we know that something far sinister lurks below with 2 re-occurring culprits turning up every time: bad quality speed pourers and inaccurate jiggers.
To understand an issue one must identify and then understand the problem. To do this next week we’ll go through a comparison of the common speed pourers and jiggers used...let’s see at which end of the line you come out at!
WRIST BURN (WHY YOU HURT AT WORK) August 29 2016
Bar and Kitchen staff develop painful issues which are the result of years of repetitive work.
Wrist burn is commonly suffered throughout the hospitality industry which is a culmination of work load placed on the wrist.
Anecdotally, wrist burn can be traced to poor technique or bad tool design backdated 100’s or possibly 1000’s of years.
Certainly historic design can be a good guide and teacher, however when design hasn’t evolved to keep up with changes in societal thinking, problems occur.
Today human centered design and Occupational Health Safety & Security (OHS&S) act as an important driver for changes in workplace tools.
The below pictures illustrates how easy it is for a user of fairly common tools to experience a wide range of arising issues..
Let’s hope that inspired thinkers and dreamers will one day re-invent the way we do things, so at least work place injury will be significantly reduced.
BOOZE, GLASSWARE, FRIENDS & ÜBER BAR TOOLS August 24 2016
Theatre, energy and excitement creates buzz particularly when enjoying cocktails at home. Bottle those ingredients and there's a guaranteed night of fun no one will forget!
Recipe: Booze, Glassware, Friends and Über Bar Tools™
NO JOB, LITTLE WORK. OUT DRINKING, HUH? August 15 2016
As the last of the millennial generation take their seats at the bar, get ready for a big change when the new kids on the block generation Z' (2000-2019) start rocking up.
Nothing new that the hospitality biz is built around 20 and 30 somethings going out drinking, eating and having a great time. But what happens when a larger percentage of younger Gen Ys or most Gen Z's start struggling to find full time work or are under employed?
Will this impact entertaining habits and business?
OK, so when younger people cannot afford to go out to bars or eat at trendy restaurants where do they go?
This scary thought has massive implications for an industry with a dwindling customer base.
• Bars and restaurants close up.
• Bartenders lose jobs.
• Where do uni students go to find casual work?
• Will cocktails will get cheaper and cheaper to attract customers?
Some after affects:
• How will liquor brands build name and reputation on premise?
• Where will consumers get to try/sample new product?
• What will happen to liquor innovation?
Each new generation brings new challenges and opportunities. No one can afford to rest on their laurels forever, maybe here's an early opportunity to plan ahead for a different kind of future.
WHY IN HOUSE TRAINING IS YOUR BEST BET August 01 2016
The perennial issue facing all hospo businesses: finding experienced staff!
Ironically employers searching for new staff assume they’ll instantly attract an ideal candidate someone else invested in!
And there’s the problem.
In a hyper competitive world with many businesses seeking few candidates what are the chances you’ll pay way over the odds?
Pretty high huh!
Sorry to say it this inconvenient truth needs accepting to allow quickly moving to the fix: In-house staff training.
Whilst costing more to start, longer term it’s the proven way to reap rewards.
TOO LITTLE, TOO MUCH! July 25 2016
Recently I went to a diner for lunch, the traditional square napkin holder was on the table, dispensing single square napkins.
By the end of the meal l'd unintentionally used 4 napkins, and felt a little embarrassed.
The question: did l make far too much mess?
After the initial guilt trip, some semblance of logic kicked in: one hand I thought, who cares how many napkins l used they’re cheap!
On the other hand I thought isn’t there a financial cost and environmental impact on what had been consumed/used/ wasted.
Ok, the average person isn’t going to be concerned with my concerns, however on further reflection, who's really to blame for my over-consumption: me or the diner’s manager?
Yes l ordered a messy burger and the napkins provided were too small, made of wafer thin paper and not very thirsty.
The question: would l have used as less paper if the napkins were thicker and of a higher quality?
Bingo...the answer in one: management presumably wanted to save money buying in napkins. Napkins are a consumable, rarely thought of, yet part of a customer experience.
Management strives to reduce costs and will not consider consequences, as there’s only one result considered, save money!
By opting for the cheapest napkin, the diner’s got the job done , but at what extra cost in terms of purchase quantity, extra time and effort needed to clean and dispose of more mess.
On face value who'd argue with the righteousness of saving a buck yet in practical terms using 2, 3 or 4 times the necessary amount of paper will cost far more than having purchased a higher grade quality napkin in the first place.
The point: a failure to properly invest, ends up costing more when the cheapest option tends not to be the best at all, requiring more time, effort and usage to get the job done.
So isn't this a case of too little costing far too much.
What do you think!
CRAFT BEER SALES PLUNGE. ARE CRAFT SPIRITS NEXT? July 19 2016
Falling Craft Beer sales should sound alarm bells as consensus thinking imagined never ending rivers of gold.
Is there anything here we can learn to then apply to the Craft Spirits industry? Are spirits in for a rough landing?
Here are some thoughts: -
- Confusion reigns within its borders.
- The Flavour Saviour Category
- Beer is Cheap, Spirits are not.
- There’s not enough retail shelf space.
Just because a producer introduces new variants or line extension or brands doesn’t automatically mean a retailer, consumer or bar manager can range it. Limited space means you really need to be good, powerful, and creative and/or have a terrific back story that’ll earn physical presence on shelves or bars. Just making something for the sake of it is absolutely no guarantee
- Authenticity & Experience
Evidence at this stage doesn’t automatically translate to an issue with the Craft Spirits category, yet, however saying that, it possibly pays to be somewhat circumspect.
Let’s think of the bartender as a craftsman. That essential style of the cocktail can only be imparted by the right tools. In the same way a carpenter brings his own tools to the job so he can complete his craft with finesse, so too do the best barmen and bar women.
Bar tools add to the performance of cocktail creation, the better the function and aesthetics conceivably the better the expected results.
So, what does this suggest today when we look back through history to discover that the bar tools we see today in our bars (and homes) today, are not far removed from those used during Prohibition.
Most designs trace their roots back to the 19th century – great examples are the Julep strainer, wooden muddler (evolving from a toddy stick),a Boston shaker, a Hawthorne strainer and the Cobbler shaker..
Whilst some other tools were tried (an aluminium shaker – but drinks tasted of metal, or cast iron juicer – bit cumbersome but good for shutting up a pesky client!) the basis of what we see today is not far removed from products developed almost 100 years ago.
By the time we reached Prohibition the tools and production of classic (modern) cocktails was becoming established, yet as production, materials and machinery improved, it seems that generic bar products are being produced and sold for price for less and less money.
So wouldn’t we imagine the consequence of this that something must give; namely quality, function and performance?
The old adage that a tradesman is only as good as the tools that they use still stands true today.
BREAKING TRADITION - IT'S IMPERATIVE July 01 2016
It’s human nature to look back into the historical record to seek guidance as to what to do now or into the future.
In a time where no one wants to stick their necks out too far, historical relativism becomes not only comfortable but re-assuring.
Classic cocktails for example provides a perfect historical time line from the past to the present…a linear progression without too many bumps along the way (Prohibition excepted).
Joining two different points in time and then assuming a straight line between them is fraught with danger.
The issue caused by creating a highway which extends from then to now, may not be a good bet particularly when un-factored parts change along the way.
In terms of modern hospitality concepts such as work safety, minimum wages, OHS&S, quality, consistency and excellent service were not considered in the earliest days of bartending; certainly not during 1920’s and Prohibition. However today these concerns are considered fundamentals to business success.
The cautionary tale may be that quaint tradition (the reason why we still maintain certain modes of behaviour) may not be the best route to a desired outcome when everything is changing.
Progression in it’s purest form requires movement either in the shape of a jolt or some break from the past to help re-set the trajectory higher.
Doesn’t a certain type of laziness creep into intention and arising actions when one hears the following excuse for inaction “that’s the way we’ve always done it here!"
Breaking with tradition require the openness to learn or create new habits by jettisoning bad ones with better ones, it’s imperative.
FLAIR AND CRAFT BARTENDING "RECONVERGENCE" June 24 2016
Often described as being cheesy and anti-craft, Flair Bartending has taken an unfair beating by Craft bartenders looking down at their Flair brothers.
Bad cocktails, wasted alcohol, cheap theatrics are common refrains sang from the Craft bartending hymn book, when referring to Flair bartenders.
Ironically, most forget the movie “Cocktail” which was the big bang moment for Flair bartending that helped pave the way for the early resurgence of the modern cocktail movement.
Flair now has its own well developed rituals developed over 25 years, yet on the Craft side of things it took the discovery and adoption of Japanese bar ritual 6 years ago to create the necessary theatre to power the Craft story as we know it today.
In anthropological terms the historic battle between Flair and Craft appears more like a schism, the result of a single bartending ancestor, with roots steeped in and around the time of Prohibition.
Can we imagine with the market moving so quickly will the rise of cocktail culture unwittingly morph the divergents back into one or maybe something new?
Could this be nature’s way of repairing the damage and aftermath created from Prohibition?
Today some visionary’s within the Flair community are tinkering with new techniques and rituals to help re-invent itself.
The new unnamed hybrid may one day be known as “Craft-Flair, " developed by people such as Clinton Weir in Australia.
If the ultimate goal is to keep delighting guests searching for new truths and experiences, then the possibilities of a re-imagined future will be really exciting!
HOW COCKTAIL CULTURE IMPROVES LIVES IN ASIA June 20 2016
In the developed world we take it for granted that cocktail culture is interwoven into our lives.
In Europe, North America as well as other mature markets, cocktail culture has provided us with new entrepreneurs, stunning new bars, amazing new spirits together with loads of innovations.
In SE Asia however we feel that the positive impacts of cocktail culture are going unnoticed.
Bartending has been a phenomenon everywhere, however in SE Asia the impact is tremendous as to many young bartenders, the “craft” is providing an escape from poverty, providing new trajectory.
Traditional Asian social structures are built around family and village– whereby a bartender in a large city such as Ho Chi Min, Jakarta or Manila may come from another city or island far away, repatriating monies home to dependants and village communities.
In a sense the success of the individual bartender translates into success for families and communities too!
To the tens thousands of bartenders making a contribution to the Asian hospitality industry, their reach and impact is far greater than most realise.
Quite possibly in the not too distant future more and more English speaking SE Asians bartenders will leave their countries of origin and start travelling the world to countries now desperate for hospitality staff.
Ironically stories such as these tend to get overlooked by the Politics that surrounds the liquor industry. Suffice to say being a bartender makes all of us proud , with positive impacts too easily overlooked.
ALL CONSUMING CONSUMABLES June 10 2016
In hospitality a consumable is the finishing touch to a main product; just like packaging or gift wrapping.
Consumables are defined as a unit of input required to facilitate or add value to a process. For example, a coaster is a consumable – you need to consume a coaster as part of the final presentation of cocktail.
As such, a consumable is not a considered item, but rather a cost of doing business, tending to be cheap and disposable with little or no thought required?
Some example of consumables are napkins, coaster, garnishes and pour spouts.
So what happens when an expense is considered so unimportant, that it’s not measured, will there be potential negative impacts on a business?
The answer is a resounding yes…when management doesn’t measure the cost of something, then staff won’t care either.
The message sent/received "when it doesn’t matter to you then why should we care."
Have you ever seen a bartender toss an empty liquor bottle with a pour spout still attached. It’s fairly common.
If the speed pourer costs $2 each, over 1 year, what will the bottle/pourer toss add up to?
The moral of the story - care about the cost of consumables!
Failure to factor the impact of consumables on profitability will have negative impacts.
Fire the Ass out of your speed pourers! May 13 2016
Imagine that really bad hire, the one refusing to pick up their game, is consistently late, sloppy, unhygienic and worst of all doesn’t care about waste or your business!
For most managers the decision is an easy one…fire the “ass” out of that guy!
Ok, we mostly agree that’s the solution for a human being, so should it be different with bar tools guilty of the same transgressions as a really bad hire?
Many believe so, as anything that can potentially reduce quality, efficiency, consistency, speed, accuracy and profitability cannot be good for business!
One industry stalwart routinely re-buying generic speed pourers says: “I wouldn’t keep a bartender that fails regularly…so why wouldn’t l get rid of speed pourers for doing the same thing!”
A trade tool that occasionally fails, is bad luck, when bad luck happens weekly and monthly then its time for management to step in!
We all know that a failure to perform has negative impacts on business affecting morale, quality and ultimately the guest experience.
If you’re continuously replacing your speed pourers maybe it’s time to fire the ASS out of them!
HOSPITALITY - FINDING STAFF! April 29 2016
It seems the same re-occurring problem is equally faced by bars, restaurants and hotels, when the following refrain is heard:
“hey, do you know anyone, who can……..? ”
Ironically all prospective employers “assume” they’ll be able to magically find the ideal candidate, trained, experienced and ready to go!
Stepping back a bit one soon realizes that to attract a trained whatever- someone else or else’s had to roll up their sleeves and invest in the person you want!
Doesn’t it then seem then to be a little unfair or unrealistic to expect a miracle?
How about this thought: when everyone wants to “take” someone else’s staff, who’s then left to select?
Let’s be honest, most people don’t start off in hospitality with long term dreams and aspirations for a career in that industry. Most are studying or doing something else with hospo work the plan B, short term.
OK so we’re all competing for the same staff hence choices are limited, sometimes you’ll win, mostly you won’t!
Now here’s the part most people hate hearing when looking for the right staff - train, train and train some more.
Yep, it means only one thing, invest in training.
In-house programs are generally proven to attract staff creating one hopes some well-developed, staff interested and vested in your business.
Is this process going to cost you time and money – it will! Will it solve short term staff shortage problems? Probably not!. Will it pay off in the long term? Absolutely!
Well-developed staff are part and parcel of a successful business. In an industry full of wannabes, it’s worth investing in those showing potential!
DECONSTRUCTED MENUS April 09 2016
Ever stop to think about thick food or cocktail menus featuring a dazzling array of choices?
It almost feels that everything in the book is being thrown at the guest ,hoping something will take!
Running counter to "too much" menu design , is the deconstructed” or simplified menu selection.
Deconstructed menus suggests that businesses have taken the time to understand customers needs, reducing order serve times.
Faster order turnaround times tend to reduce waste and mistakes possibly increasing spend from still hungry guests wanting something extra!
Shorter times to think about then receive menu choices tends to create better hospitality experiences, a win for everyone!
COCKTAIL HIGH March 25 2016
The last bastion of the heavenly cocktail might be in the air or 30 000 feet (10 000 metres) up!
Whilst alcoholic in-flight beverages have been available for over 60 years, the drinks on offer are more mixed rather than a cocktail in the traditional sense!
The challenge with cocktails is that weird things happen to taste and flavour when one’s so high up.
Predominately attributable to air pressure, this presents challenges that mixologists need to take into account when curating in-flight menus.
The business travellers are seeking better experiences and cocktails might just make a difference when selecting one carrier over another.
So hands up for a martini or even a delicious Negroni, served by a capable bartender on board your flight! Sounds pretty good!
WINE, WHINE, WHINGE, WHY? March 17 2016
We all hate it!
Visit a bar or restaurant, order a glass of wine, receive it, look and think... "The tides out!"
Everyday tens of millions of consumers are faced with the horrible feeling they've been ripped off!
Whether it's true or not that's not the point, it's the perception which counts.
In the US consumers are fairly vocal when short changed saying something, elsewhere consumers may be more polite!
Imagine as a bar or restaurant owner if a silent majority think they're being ripped off. How will this potentially impact on long term name, reputation and profitability?
Much of the issue resides with the business and not the guests, particularly when the house wine serve policy is not advertised on menus.
In some countries a serving of wine is prescribed by law, in most it's notional, meaning some operators possibly use confusion to negative advantage.
To address the issue we suggest honesty and transparency to assuage customers questioning their serving.
When confronted with a questioning customer some will just top up a wine glass to silence the dissatisfied guest, but really couldn't this be mostly avoided if the serve policy was upfront for all to see!
Please just define and advertise your serve policy… everyone wins!
WHEELS, WEDGES, BROTHELS FOR BAR FLIES? A SOLUTION March 01 2016
For years the bane of bartenders and managers has been securing seasonal fruit at good prices for garnishing.
Secondary to these issues, prep time, wastage/spoilage, with each impacting on costs and ultimately bar profitability.
Devices to help preserve and protect fruit such as limes, oranges, lemons, apples, pineapples from turning rancid have dotted the landscape with pretty mixed results.
Bottom line – lots of expensive fruit thrown away!
Within this mix we see the pesky bar fly, attracted to sweet smelling fruit, using wheels and wedges as cabanas to host their other air borne friends!
More and smarter bars are turning to dehydrated fruit as the solution for their problems, purchasing dehydrators, then capitalising on sourcing cheap, seasonal fruit for the coming year.
Dried fruit for cocktail cuts waste, spoilage and arising hygiene issues.
If you’re over fresh fruit give dehydrated alternatives a go at a fraction of the cost!
FAUX CRAFT FAST BUCKS February 21 2016
Much has been written about spirit producers falsely claiming a craft pedigree.
Some brands advertising authenticity may on closer inspection fail to deliver, resorting to deceptive labeling with seductive design cues to suggest and imply something that it’s not!
We call this new phenomenon Faux Craft!
So what's the motivation for producers or marketers to produce faux craft products and then pass off mystery and provenance as illusion... THE GREEDY BUCK!
Designers and producers will tell anyone that’ll listen: there’s no short cuts to the creation process other than lots and lots of time, passion and cash burn!
In a sense it's the initial quick dollar forgone that makes the craft process so attractive to consumers, delivering the expectation of a superior product!
The 1950s to early naughts of this Century production was all about faster and cheaper; today the market is eschewing the fast, lazy buck in favour of the crafted dollar!
Crafted products, are the result of human ingenuity and passion. Companies falsely claiming unearned pedigree must be held to account!
"Innovation, Quality & Daring!" February 08 2016
The race is on for large established distillers, vintners and brewers to capitalize on the world craft movement.
In each alcohol category, consumers seek new and more authentic expressions of their favourites with discovery and curiosity being the fuel driving volumes and profits.
In each alcohol category, consumers seek new and more authentic expressions of their favourites with discovery and curiosity being the fuel driving volumes and profits.
Founder of Camden Town Brewery in the UK, Jasper Cuppaidge describes this process as “innovation, quality and daring.”
From where we sit, it seems that disruptors take a rather counter cyclical approach to business and here may be the seeds for future industry/category expansion.
Over the last 10 years the number of players entering the alcohol ecosystem has been remarkable with most of the now knowns being totally unknown or their founding ideas were yet to be big banged into existence!
Seems like 2016 will be a year of huge change - hang on!
WAR WEEDS AND WHOA ...BEHIND THE BAR! February 03 2016
Expressions such as: I’m Deep in the Trenches, Knee Deep or In the Weeds... are some of the more colourful metaphors used to caricature the unrelenting pressure meted out by thirsty customers demanding drinks!
The Military is renowned for taking undisciplined “rabble," and transforming them into well-oiled fighting machines!
So could military style thinking be applied behind the bar, effectively?
We say, why not!
Imagine the potential impact on accuracy, consistency, improved drink execution (sorry no pun intended), as well as reduced wastage - with every cocktail becoming part of a carefully designed strategy designed to make well-made drinks, to win customer loyalty!
Consider this: if shots of alcohol were the equivalent of ammunition, wouldn’t bartenders think more carefully about how they’d pull a “trigger” (pour a shot) or where they’d “aim a bottle” just to save ammo!
In this new universe poorly made bar products would also disappear from behind the bar, as no successful Army deliberately provides their troops with the worst weapons, and then expected them to win!
So yes.. the bar is a kind of battlefield, stop the whoa!
What do you think!
SPIRITS CHAUVINISM THE WINE PARALYSIS EFFECT! February 03 2016
The rise and rise of single country or region dominated bar specialists offering only products produced sourced from that source have blossomed around the world.
Barring spirits produced from outside a territory in a sense becomes a form of Spirits Chauvinism, which we can define as a "biased devotion to any group, territory or region produced and sourced spirit."
There’s nothing inherently bad about Spirits Chauvinism, in fact to the contrary in most cases it reflects the renaissance of spirits distilling, enabled by educated consumers.
The USA, UK, Italy and Spain are some notable countries where established single sourced regions or territory spirits (or wines for that matter) are available in exclusive bars or bottle shops, only serving from that territory.
A recent visit to Melbourne revealed what we believe is the first Australian bar sourcing and selling only Australian produced spirit, wine, cider and beer. Called Bad Frankies, this eponymous liquor locker offers an unbelievable 200 plus range of liquor SKU’s excluding locally produced craft beers and all the other good things.
With a population of about 24 million, it’s was inconceivable just 5 years ago that Australia could ever produce such an incredible range of spirits from as many producers!
The micro distilling and brewing movement has produced more and more nuanced or otherwise producers, searching for their special niche or chunk of someone else’s pie. Throw in the other disruptors - beer and cider makers turning their hands to spirits and there you have an explosion of new world choices.
One could imagine that the ever growing number of producers/brands will create “wine paralysis” effect whereby too many different offerings within the same category creates potential consumer confusion, where the final default position could be based on familiar "mass" brand.
How will potential consumer paralysis be turned into positive outcome? Your guess is as good as ours!
The Pour Challenge January 14 2016
Anyone can pour liquor right.
What's not to know.. pick up a liquor bottle, pour into a jigger, serve into a glass of some sort...yawn.. it's so easy.. a child can do it?
Pouring alcohol consistently, without spilling or wasting a drop takes lots of skill, whilst it may appear so easy, yet many of us know intuitively the simpler something appears the more difficult it’s likely to be.
Ironically when children play games, it takes practice, practice and more practice before mastery is attained.
To prove have you taken: A series of deceptively easy tests (or are they?) to challenge:
- TEST WASTE: Pick up a liquor bottle, pour alcohol into a jigger, tin or glass without spilling a drop.
- TEST ACCURACY: Pour an exact shot of alcohol - i.e 1 oz, 30 ml etc. repeat (3 times)..then measure each portion to check for.
- TEST CONSISTENCY: Prepare the same cocktail 3 times ensuring it LOOKS and TASTES the same.
- TEST SPEED: Prepare 3 different quickly, just like a real bar situation, except don’t waste a drop, serve each drink accurately and consistently!
Odds are that most people will fail some if not all the above? Why?
Possibly the answer may lay with bar managers not really understanding the impacts and consequences of pouring failure.
From experience people don’t treasure what’s not valued.
The impact of inconsistently made cocktails affects the bottom line, reducing Spend Per Guest, increasing costs as liquor is over-poured or just wasted.
Once drink inconsistency is identified as an issue, one can then start looking at impacts on business outcomes such as provided guest value for money, quality and ultimately guest satisfaction!
Bars wanting to sustain profitability long term need to get the Pour Challenge right, there's nothing childish about disappointing guests...it's not a game!
Did you complete each test without failing any test?
DRINKING THE SUGAR BULLET ...DIABETES December 16 2015
The Western world has become it’s own victim, with increasing numbers of people suffering from lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is triggered by substances such as sugar and carbohydrates which is converted in the body to sugar.
The ravages of diabetes is growing at such an alarming rate that more and more children (tomorrow’s liquor consumers) are also now registered as sufferers.
The question that the liquor industry at some time will need to address: if diabetes continues to grow exponentially as it’s now doing how will this impact future consumers and their drinking habits?
When consumers start demanding lower sugar and carbs entire categories such as rum which is derived entirely from molasses and possibly liqueurs that contain very high levels of sugar could be negatively impacted.
Wine and beer as a category could also be affected as consumers look for bottled alternatives that will allow them to still enjoy a drink without any of the nasty health consequences that a disease such as diabetes brings.
We’re not trying to generate fear but rather re-focus manufacturers as well as owners of bars, clubs and restaurants to consider different drinking options that can safely be offered to a category of guests to enable them to continue to enjoy drinking experiences with their friends.
FOUR REASONS TO FLICK YOUR WOODEN MUDDLER! December 07 2015
The bar's evolved since Prohibition!
One of many improvements has been the introduction of Occupational Health and Safety(OHS) regulations to mitigate food/drink contamination.
Doesn’t it then seem a little odd that the continuing use of wooden muddlers in North American bars and restaurants continues whilst in many other parts the wood muddler has been thrown into the recycling bin!
For those who haven’t yet flicked their wooden stick here's 4 reasons to re-think the issue:
1. Wood is porous, allowing bacteria to build up within the wood creating potential transmission issues.
2. Wood is likely to increase flavor retention (pass on flavors) between totally different drinks.
3. Varnish, pesticides and other nasties live in and on the wood which can be transferred into drinks.
4. Wood discolors easily making the muddler look very unappetizing.
Life’s already complicated so then who really needs all the extra hassles to then make it worse!
In a nut shell...isn’t it really time to "flick the stick"?!
CAN YOU REALLY OPERATE YOUR OWN BUSINESS? MAYBE NOT... November 27 2015
At some point entrepreneurs will ask the big question: “can someone else run this business better than me?”
The entrepreneur wishing to be true to themselves and their stakeholders must regularly ask this question to ensure long term success.
Ironically friends, family and colleagues may never share the thought that at some point the knowledge and talent to run that business may not be there!
Transitioning from bartender to manager to owner takes giant leaps: each representing a learning curve requiring education, experience and brutal honesty.
Most passionate entrepreneurs find it difficult to recognize the right time to bring in the people with the experience needed to run their businesses.
Such moments are not failures but rather the time to take control; re-setting the trajectory towards continued success and ultimate fulfillment.
The day we start asking more questions than we have answers to it's probably the time to take a step back and leave it to someone else!
What do you think?
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