Fortunately, there are some simple steps operators can take to increase the efficiency of their back-bar and ensure that customers aren’t kept waiting for too long.
Amanda Humphrey, of Maxxium UK’s Mixxit training programme, said bars should be organised in such a way that everything a bartender needs can be accessed within one or two steps of their workstation.
The most popular spirits should always be kept within easy reach, with the upper shelves reserved for premium spirits that will sell in lower volumes, she said, while arranging the bottles by category will help staff to remember where each product is stored.
A clear plan, said Amanda, is absolutely crucial.
“I think altogether as a bar team they should decide one day what the layout is going to be, maybe going so far as to take pictures, laminate them and put them in a drawer so if somebody at the end of the night is a bit confused about what’s going where they can have a look back at that,” she said.
“It’s just sticking to standards and making sure it’s not changing on a regular basis. Everyone knows when they go onto a shift that everything has its place.”
As well as increasing efficiency, a well-ordered back-bar can also help increase revenues, according to Leanne Davidson of the Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands Training Team.
“Try and avoid storing things on the back-bar such as glassware, garnishes and other bits and pieces that are not for sale,” she said.
“Move glassware onto the front of the bar if possible and de-clutter the area around the tills, place garnishes into garnish trays and keep them on the front of the bar, ice should also be stored on the front of the bar if possible.
“If you have point of sale around your venue make sure it is up to date.”
Leanne said it also pays to tweak the back-bar layout to get rid of spirits which aren’t selling.
“It may sound harsh but it can pay to be ruthless with the bottles on your back-bar. If things are not selling it may be worth identifying the things that sell in your bar and replace the poor sellers,” she said.
Amanda at Mixxit agreed, advising operators to re-order the area around different times of year or the introduction of a new cocktail menu.
“As soon as you change a cocktail menu you kind of have to change the layout of the bar to suit the menu, rejigging the fridges for what you need,” she said.
“It’s quite seasonal as well – you’ll need a lot more wine in the fridge during the summer, and you’ll be using that space for other things during the winter.
“So just thinking about those bits and pieces is the most important thing.”
Equipment should also be a focus for operators, said Amanda.
“It’s great if your guests can see clean fridges, efficient fridges that are working,” she said.
“It shows you have a more professional manner and you’re taking it seriously.
“No one wants to hear noisy old equipment either.
“There’s nothing worse, especially during the day, if you’re having a meeting in a bar and you’ve got this noisy fridge or ice machine.
“It’s off-putting for your customers.”
Image – Operators should consider reviewing the layout of their back-bar at regular intervals.