July 30, 2018
One in three consumers now prefer eco-friendly options. And the hospitality industry is no stranger to this demand, with many bars becoming more eco-friendly. Here are our top sustainability tips for bars.
January 08, 2018
Each incoming new year overloads us with information on the latest cocktail trends - what's fading, popular and what will be popular.
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?
When it comes down to reality, the bar world is competitive with everyone looking to gain an edge...and following a cocktail trend seems like a good idea!
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.
November 01, 2017
August 07, 2017
It has been said that to be the best, you must learn from the best.
Ask yourself what does it take to be a culinary genius like Joel Robuchon – head chef at Harmony-Lafayette restaurant in Paris at 28 years old and attaining his first Michelin star and has been named chef of the century all before he’s 30.
What about Alain Ducasse, Wolfgang Puck or Anthony Bourdain? What are the habits that these top chefs use that we can take inspiration from?
Habit 1: Planning Is Essential to Success
Great chefs think ahead - from cooking to the financial responsibilities of running a kitchen. The best chefs are highly efficient - they know exact ingredients, where all the utensils are, and how they’ll pace themselves during crunch time. They also understand how to make and save money.
Habit 2: Become the Master of Your Time
When cooking, time is everything. Time management is crucial - utilise your minutes and seconds. A highly efficient kitchen will reduce stress for everyone and keeping diners full and satisfied.
Habit 3: Focus on the Task at Hand
Your office is full of fire, knives and people and you cannot afford slipups. Eliminate distractions, pay attention and keep your mind focused. This skill takes a good amount of discipline, but is essential.
Habit 4: Organisation Is Key
Staying on top of things is crucial. The best chefs not only know exactly how many minutes it takes to prepare each dish in the menu but also how to direct servers in and out of the kitchen.
Habit 5: Innovators Are Always Learning
How do chefs keep ahead of the game, stay innovative and creative? Simple: they're always learning. Great chefs study cooking methods and cuisines of other culture, they experiment, they are constantly on a journey of discovery.
Habit 6: Conscientiousness Pays Off
This comes in many forms: food quality to kitchen practices, personal and food safety, and presentation standards. Top chefs make it a priority to scrutinize everything that goes into their kitchen – from start to finish.
Habit 7: Keep Things Simple
Many great chefs spend hours refining and perfecting their key signature dishes. “Quality over quantity” – offer food that is of top-notch quality, rather than creating a huge variety of dishes that are of mediocre standards.
July 31, 2017
The “Claw of Averages” (COA) is the story of misunderstanding business metrics to create false readings!
Why the CLAW OF AVERAGES... Averaging CLAWs profits by shredding them, making it difficult to see problems or hear warning bells.
Most businesses make sense of figures by mooching up a wide spread of numbers to create averages or dashboards to run their business.
Dashboards position key business indicators into easy view allowing management to interpret and action, if required.
Consider this: a picturesque mountain replete with valleys and surrounding crystal clear lake. Each geographic feature has a separate yet unique value; differentiating it’s individuality from the terrain it surrounds.
Now as unthinkable as it may be: averaging is the equivalent of pounding our mountain into rubble, dumping tailings into the surrounding valley and clean lake to create a flat road.
Ironically the purpose of dashboards or metrics is to highlight exception not hide it!
Worldwide the universally accepted average to monitor the health of a bar business is called Cost of Goods Sold, COGS (total costs divided by total sales)… the figure widely relied on by many bars is 20%. This number (or whichever one is used) provides “visibility” to monitor and measure profits.
Here’s an example of a 20% COGS in an upmarket bar:
So where’s the missing $1.00?
The $1 exists as either over-poured alcohol or maybe worse!
Businesses doing stock or inventory control may say “hang on, we do inventory control… if we lost a buck, we’d see it (in terms of volume and $) in our metrics”; which may in some instances be true.
To answer this refrain: every Ops person on the planet understands that rarely do depletions (stock on hand less POS sales) ever match. To overcome this headache, its standard practice to allow a “few points variation” on the COGs figure, to explain away or diminish the exception! Remember, averaging or COA, generates small unnoticeable ripples, rather than a huge pot hole; unseen due to (statistical) infill!
Averaging a bar’s costs between the speed rail and the premium priced back bar exacerbates the COA problem. The higher potential wastage/loss at the volume speed rail, the easier it is to hide losses within a mountain of extra-ordinary profits created from higher $ value back bar sales (with the greatest disparity between cost price and sell price).
To make the case, imagine a fictitious bar with 6 people in it… here’s the age break down:
- Person 1 10 years old
- Person 2 17 years old
- Person 3 12 years old
- Person 4 16 years old
- Person 5 13 years old
- Person 6 60 years old
- Total Age 128 years
- Avg. Age 21.33 years old (128/6)
The average age (COA) is over 21, the legal drinking age in the US! Yet it’s plain to see to anyone sitting in that bar, there’s just one person capable of being legally served, yet, on average, the view removed from that bar indicates an age of over 21, so is everything fine?
The “Claw of Averages” can make and break a business!
Too often beverage managers, directors and operations people make decisions based on averaged numbers, not understanding the consequences of levelling mountains to create indistinguishable flat roads.
Liquor loss, wastage and worse are pot holes, they’re hard to see unless you know where to look.
The COA is out to get you… now, WATCH OUT!
July 03, 2017
Ritual is the key to connection
In his seminal piece on the Martini, Luis Brunel famously suggested a perfect Martini was more than "the earthly assembly of mere ingredients".
The key thought here suggests that the mere creation or re-creation of a recipe doesn’t provide the alchemy to transform a drink into a cocktail experience.
The missing part is not the ingredients but the ritual that builds the drinking into an experience.
Many consumers these days can rattle off classic cocktail recipes ad nauseum. Imagine then, if that savvy guest walked into your bar looking for more than just your best; wouldn’t that be the opportunity to offer a cocktail that’ll arouse interest and move to order.
Here are 6 considerations to keep in mind:
Ritual is a combination of visual and serve cues that elevates a drink from being simply a drink, and makes it that cocktail experience. All thanks to that powerful emotional connection between guest and bar.
In our opinion the key elements of ritual are:
Visual – watching the drink be made, seeing the presentation at the end and how these things combine in front of the guest, your audience are the raw essence of your ritual.
Contextual – how all the ingredients, the tools used to create them, the setting of the bar, the final delivery of the cocktail relate to one another, and to your customer.
Emotional – creating that connection between the customer and your business through the ritual.
Structural – the method used to create a cocktail is not only part of the theatre of it, but also part of the customer expectation, and part of the bartender’s efficiency in delivering that drink.
Psychological – how that customer feels about your business relies on the way you manipulate them to feel about it – what are you presenting them, how do you want them to feel about your business and the service they receive. The ritual will evoke a certain feeling about the experience.
Historical – what has existed in the past creates a history that gives something personality and depth – it creates meaning and understanding. The ritual shows off that history, that comfort level and expectation.
Use these key elements to help create rituals in your cocktail delivery, and make your cocktail serve much more than just an embellished drink!
Image by www.freepik.com
June 27, 2017
Ever noticed that the eco bar – sustainable and zero waste bartending - is increasing in popularity? The Green Restaurant Association claims a 20% increase in membership since 2010 with industry leaders Technomic suggesting 52% of consumers prefer choosing sustainable bars and restaurants over others.
We all know going green requires effort… how easy is it to then do yourself?
First start with all waste materials. The process may begin by checking out bin waste at the end of a shift to see what’s been used to work out what could have been saved.
The backbone to any bar is self-sufficiency - the more products that can be made/created, the better. If this is too time-consuming then there’s other ways to reduce environmental footprint.
Liquor behemoth Bacardi is heavily promoting eliminating all plastic straws. Change plastic cutlery to bamboo cutlery. Changing to biodegradable, organic or recycled products/produce makes a significant difference.
Many bars recycle their bottles and unused glass, Another option is removing the number of bottled beers served, replacing with tap beer. Same to be said about sparkling water.
Reduce glass wash cycles, re-visit the chemicals used, maximise each dish load cleaned, keep electricity usage to a minimum – turn lights off when not needed. Don’t over-pour liquor, use flat pour jiggers rather than round jiggers to reduce/eliminate the meniscus.
Finally, take your eco-do good sustainability and let the world know this through, marketing efforts. Lastly highlight on menus sustainable and/or green drinks, foods, products.
May 29, 2017
With the end of financial year (EOFY) in many countries coming up, there’s an opportunity to consider adopting Drop Dead Ugly strategies.
What we mean is the process of looking closely at all one’s business activities (sales, marketing, advertising, development), products, relationships (customer, supplier, staff), processes, behaviours that have become Ugly, unproductive, unprofitable; no longer serving anyone’s best interests.
Time and effort is money, a scarce resource that cannot be squandered to Ugly activities.
Dropping actions which don’t grow, expand, improve or nurture business should be viewed as toxic and therefore dropped.
There’s absolutely no sugar coating to this big idea, as it takes a lot of honesty to admit something has become Ugly.
EOFY is the perfect time to be bold and identify all the things that aren’t working; dropping then dead!
May 02, 2017
Whether it’s a bar, restaurant, lifestyle or destination store the principals are exactly the same.
At Über there’s a favourite question we love asking when evaluating performance, new products, operational considerations, sales and marketing stuff.
Here it is:
What did we do that worked that we must do more of and what didn’t work that we must do less of or drop?
Once the conclusions are in, next step actions are very straight forward.
Why not apply this principal yourself, it’s a winner!
Image designed by www.freepik.com
April 09, 2017
Most of us sit back and say what happened to the day that was.
We wear too many hats, meaning we spread ourselves thin, not focusing on activities yielding the highest returns.
Throw in some distractions and a lack of urgency, it’s then easy to see how a day is blown!
When next in this situation, here’s a great Über technique to maximize time and results.
Here’s where to start:
Take all known jobs for a day and then allocate a reasonable amount of time to get each done.
Before starting a job set your phone’s stop watch/alarm for the expected duration of the task at hand.
Do not accept any interruptions, until a job is done.
After each job is done allow 5-10 mins max to attend to anything super urgent that’s come up in between or use that time to clear your mind before the next job commences.
You’ll be surprised how much more you’ll get out of your day.
April 03, 2017
The survey suggests that “27% of surveyed beer drinkers have or will substitute beer for marijuana when and if it becomes legal in their state."
Anecdotally wine and spirits sales are also expected to take a hit.
What’s surprising is the ease that regular long term drinkers have/will jump from beer and possibly alcohol completely.
For years industry pundits have told us that it’s the flavour and taste of beer and spirits that motivates consumers.
The argument then segues into attributes of both “the experience” and “the occasion” that creates the environment for drinkers to relax and party.
The question that follows: what drives brand or category loyalty, when consumers can readily switch and ditch?
Can the argument be synthesised into something simpler: for consumers is it about the buzz, meaning the cost of a joint and its effects may be cheaper and quicker (with no calorie considerations) than an equivalent volume of booze?
If in the short terms sales do drop by 20-30%, there’ll be some horrific fall out, however what this will look like longer term no one knows.
Will folks drift back to beer and spirits?
Brands, retailers and bars are in for interesting times, perhaps now’s a good time for conjurers and marketers to huddle and strategise, to create new stories to help hold the existing market together.
Image courtesy of www.freepik.com
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.