EFFICIENCY is vital in any on-trade outlet – and the back-bar is one area where careful planning can pay dividends.
That’s the message from equipment suppliers, who said getting the layout of the back-bar and location of equipment right can improve staff efficiency and, ultimately, enhance profits.
Bob Wood, director at DC Warewashing & Icemaking Systems, said: “It’s vitally important to have a smooth running back-bar.
“If the layout has not been planned out correctly then this will affect staff workflow as well as the efficiency to serve when demands are high.
“The back of a bar is not simply a place to store drinks anymore; bar managers need to be thinking it’s the identity of their business. If it’s not designed and maintained properly it could have an effect on your takings.”
Paul Crowley, marketing manager of Winterhalter UK, said the location of equipment is vital.
“Look at where equipment is sited and make sure it fits into the pattern of serving and clearing the bar area and tables,” he said.
“For example, site a glasswasher at the end of the bar, so staff are not struggling to get past when the door is open and dirty glasses can be stacked neatly away from the serving area ready to be loaded.”
The back-bar equipment required depends on the venue’s drinks offer, said Heather Beattie, brand manager of Santos for catering equipment supplier Nisbets.
She said: “No modern back-bar is complete without a good blender for mixing cocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails – or ‘mocktails’ – and alcoholic smoothies, which are becoming increasingly popular as customer demand for sophisticated drinks grows.
“Customers will love watching their drinks being made directly in front of them and will often be prepared to pay a more premium price for a freshly made drink prepared especially for them.”
Simon Aspin, commercial director of Hubbard Systems, which distributes the Scotsman ice machine range, said a quality icemaker is another important piece of back-bar kit.
“Cocktails, shorts and soft drinks all look and taste better when served in quality glasses with a generous amount of crystal clear, long-lasting ice,” he said. “There are now icemakers that are built to cope with the fluctuating temperatures experienced in the back-bar during a long-serving period, their adaptive cycle control fine tunes the machine functions for best performance and top quality ice cubes at all times.”
Malcolm Harling, of Williams Refrigeration, stressed the importance of choosing good quality chillers. “Back-bar bottle coolers need to cope with the demands of a busy venue, to maintain temperature as bottles are taken out, stock replenished and doors continually opened and closed,” he said. “They have to be robust enough to survive a punishing level of wear and tear.”