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Bar IQ

Long-Term Profit Tactics

July 2, 2012 By: Robert Plotkin


Even small ideas on how to make more money for your business are invaluable commodities. It only takes a few to make a big impact. Fortunes have turned on less. To that end, here are a handful of profitable ideas for your consideration. Take what you can use and discard the rest in an approved receptacle.

Old School Practices Best Left in the Past – Doubles and Post-Shift Drinks — As society continues tightening restrictions on the consumption of alcohol, once accepted practices have become outdated and fraught with liability. On-premise operators need to reevaluate their pouring policies from a risk/reward perspective. A prime example is the service of “doubles.” Any way you look at it, doubles are more than twice as potent as a regularly prepared drink. Complicating matters, people consume doubles at the same rate that they do other cocktails, which increases the rate the alcohol is absorbed in bloodstream by a factor of two.

Where is it written that beverage operators have to serve doubles? When a guest does request a double, a bartender need only respond that house policy prohibits serving doubles and then inquire if he or she would care for a regular strength drink.

Equally outdated is the practice of giving bartenders and servers a post-shift drink and allowing them to drink at the bar. While it may seem a hospitable gesture, there’s a natural temptation for bartenders to over-pour, undercharge and over-serve their co-workers. More importantly it reduces the possibility of employees becoming intoxicated at work and leaving under the influence.

In Praise of Syrups — In a business where success is measured one sip at a time, serving guests lackluster cocktails is hardly an option. So bar chefs and mixologists are increasingly using syrups to bolster the flavor of cocktails. One viable tact is infusing simple syrups with the flavor of cucumber, peppers, spices, ginger or seasonal fruit. Another creative outlet is relying on premium brands like Monin or Torani to deliver a true-to-fruit payload regardless of the season or market availability. Creative potential alone qualifies them as indispensable.

Sessionability – What the Classics Have and the Rest Don’t — The essential quality that all great cocktails share in common is sessionability. The term is used to describe a drink so engaging that people stick with it throughout the course of a night. Success in this case depends entirely on balancing the drink’s characteristics such that they can be appreciated equally. Stray toward any one extreme and you’re headed for trouble. A drink with too much flavor will quickly become overbearing; not enough and it’ll be a lackluster dud.

Develop a Signature – Specialty Drinks a Dime a Dozen — Most bars and lounges today sport drink menus loaded with specialty drinks, which is unquestionably a smart business tactic. But equally sage is working to develop a cocktail so intriguing and universally appealing that it becomes the signature of the house. Ultimately, crafting an amazing cocktail is an exacting science involving drops, dashes and dollops, the combining of dissimilar ingredients such that in the end, the sum becomes more than its parts. Create a popular masterpiece and the world will beat down your front door. Where else are they going to go to get it?

Sangria – Profit-Laded and Certified Delicious — Americans get cranky when parched. On those summer nights when the A/C isn’t cutting it, there’s nothing more thirst quenching and delicious than Sangria. Best of all, it’s a forgiving concoction, so you can’t go too far wrong. It’s a classic punch traditionally made with red wine, fresh fruit and a wide assortment of spirits and liqueurs. It’s easily prepared, loaded with profit and a perfect companion for light summer fare.

Double Straining – Serve Fresh Cocktails With No Floaties — For some time, venerable drinks like the Mojito and Old Fashion demarked the extent of a muddler’s professional range. The prevailing rationale being that swirling pulp and muddled debris had no place in cocktails. However, today’s top-notch bartenders rendered the status quo passé by outfitting their bars with handled tea strainers. At once the creative floodgates were thrown open. Mixologists and bar chefs soon began crafting cocktails by muddling fresh products directly in shakers rather than the traditional service glass. Then after vigorously shaking the contents—ice, muddled fruit and all—the bartender pours the frothing cocktail through the fine mesh strainer en route to the chilled glass waiting below. Not one trace of flotsam will make its way to the finished cocktail.


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