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HOW LONG WOULD YOU WAIT FOR A DRINK?

September 02, 2015

How long should a guest wait for their drink? Or, the real question should be; whilst a cocktail can take anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes (or more!) to make, what's a reasonable wait time for a customer to be both intrigued and fascinated by a mixologist/bartender making a drink?
 
Depending on a number of factors, the style of the bar, the skill set of the bartender and how busy the venue is, the wait time can vary tremendously.
 
Many rookies transitioning from bartender to owner do not necessarily take timing into account. When looking at potential guest wait time, there appears to be a laissez faire or, "she'll be fine" attitude. Sadly, a wrong decision made at the very onset may doom a bars income generation and profitability.
 
So when making a cocktail what are some factors you need to take into account. Below we have identified key elements that need to be considered to ensure efficiency, management of your guest’s expectations and positive turnover.

  1. The number of separate ingredients and how long they take to gather and combine
  2. How much will the drink sell for, versus cost and time to make?
  3. Can you make an 80 per cent GP and still sell the drink? What's the expected sell price, versus the cost price, including labour
  4. How many people are making drinks behind the bar?
  5. Are there pre-batched ingredients on hand for more popular / high volume selling drinks?
  6. What type of venue is it? i.e. High volume cocktail bar, speak-easy, dive bar
  7. What are the guest’s expectations?
  8. Do you have a clear drinks philosophy?
  9. What's the expected spend per guest target?
  10. What’s the demographics of your patrons? 
  11. Who is your competition in the area?
  12. Is your bar set-up so staff can move quickly and efficiently? 
  13. Do you have a glassy/bar back support to help?

Reflecting carefully on each of the questions will determine the ideal time your bar can turn a multi-drink order around. Ultimately, it's the guest and what's left in the till at the end of a shift that will be the ultimate arbiter of how long the average drink should take to make! 

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