Behind every great bar there are great brands, great bartenders and great tools – the perfect combination for delivering liquid gold to thirsty guests. But, when the competition is literally only a few steps down the road, quality, value and consistency (QVC) become the real metrics to use when measuring success. Unfortunately, as a business it is a lot easier to stock the bar with top-shelf product than it is to deliver top-notch QVC.
Quality and value are both driven by related factors, yet contrary to popular thinking, consistency is not something that automatically occurs from success in these two areas. Instead, consistency is something that much be practiced and earned until a staff member holds the ability to replicate an exact outcome every time, regardless of either quality or value.
In a mixed drink, success in consistency requires a correctly portioned amount of alcohol to be delivered, without wastage, into its final serve – no variation in volume, taste, or appearance. Of course, this is often something that is easier said than done.
We’ve all returned to a bar and ordered a repeat drink that tasted completely different to when it was previously consumed.
This common occurrence begs the question: how can two drinks, made by the same bartender with identical ingredients taste so different?
It is the pouring paradox; great spirits brands are manufactured consistently, yet at the point of serve if the spirits are not poured by a bartender using proper measuring and pouring tools, then certainty changes and consistency is no longer guaranteed.
More than just an annoyance, unwittingly this same inconsistency affects venue profits. When customers (even subconsciously) don’t know what to expect from the next order they tend to migrate away from a prepared, mixed alcoholic beverage on to the certainty of a bottled drink alternative – which are almost always sold at lower price points with a lower margin. It is a sad truth known as ‘category swapping’ and is a constant that could have been avoided.
As a business outcome, consistency becomes an important pivot around which quality and value live, and something a reputation depends on.
With increased inconsistency comes poor quality and a greater loss in value - the failure to make the few-hundred-dollar investment in accurate bar tools has then allowed for a far more detrimental impact than many publicans or managers imagine.