October 18, 2018

When it comes to keeping customers, consistency is key

When it comes to keeping customers, consistency is key

When you think about consistency, do you think about quality control?

Let's consider Ikea for a minute. Imagine you visit the furniture giant and follow the well-trodden trail, perhaps you purchase a Billy Bookcase?

What's important here is that the whole experience is consistent, from the minute you enter the store until you arrive home and open the box to reveal exactly what's expected inside.

While quality control for manufactured goods is essential, so too is consistency in the hospitality industry.

Now, let's imagine you go out to a restaurant for a nice lunch and the guy on the table nearby orders the same steak and chips. But his plate comes piled high with perfectly cooked chips and a fresh salad, while yours comes out two minutes later with three burnt chips and some limp lettuce. You wouldn't be impressed.

When your closest competitor is two doors down the road, consistency could make or break your business.

Quality, Value, Consistency

Think about it this way—your quality, value and consistency (QVC) will be the measure of your success. But are you giving your customers Q, V and C? It can be very difficult to give good value or high quality if you’re being inconsistent.

A cocktail requires consistency through carefully measured ingredients and should be delivered, to the customer, with no variation in volume, taste, or appearance. All without wastage!

'Easier said than done,' we hear you cry!

Maybe… but there are ways to improve your chances. As Yugnes Susela, Head Bartender at Smoke and Mirrors, tells Spirits Business, "It’s not in tap cocktails".

We already mentioned one of the key ways to gain consistency and that is in training and practice. The other is to… measure, measure, measure!

Measuring is a must for consistent cocktails

Measuring is a must

As Colleen Graham writes in The Spruce Eats, “The importance of measuring cocktail ingredients cannot be stressed enough if your desire is to consistently create great tasting drinks. Many people skip this step because it's time-consuming or because they like the show of a free pour”.

It is the Pouring Paradox. Great spirits brands are manufactured consistently—their quality control is very highly managed. Yet, at the point of serve, if the spirits are not poured by a bartender using proper measuring and pouring tools, then quality can suddenly go out the window, and consistency too.

Do you ever notice a customer checking out your cocktail menu at first with great interest, only to end up ordering a bottled or pre-mixed drink instead? This could be a symptom.

Let’s be honest, we have all faced the disappointment of ordering a second drink and it not being as good as the first. Immediately our perception of the venue changes.

The Mixed Drink Paradigm

When customers experience this, they tend to react in one of two ways—they either migrate away from a cocktail or mixed drink to the certainty of a bottled alternative, which are almost always sold at lower price points with a lower margin (this is known as ‘category swapping’).

Or worse, the customer will just choose a competitor bar instead.

The mixed drink paradigm

And that’s when inconsistency becomes a real problem for your business—it could not only hurt your bottom line but your reputation too.

With increased inconsistency comes poor quality and lack of value, and you don’t need us to tell you these are bad business outcomes. But the solution is simple: investment in the best bar tools, partnered with good training, will create consistency in your serves and keep your profits soaring.