A bar can have everything in place – from the drinks range to the décor – but if customers are unimpressed with the service it’s unlikely they’ll return.
Training firms say knowledge can be the silver bullet – but they have stressed that learning should be for life in the on-trade.
Joanne Worrall, director at Twist Training, reckons knowledgeable staff are key to setting a venue apart from competitors.
“If you want to stand out from the crowd, décor and menu are only going to get you so far,” said Worrall.
“The team is the biggest asset a business can have. A well-trained, knowledgeable, confident team who are enthusiastic about the premises and what they offer turn an evening out into a memorable experience.”
While all employees working in the licensed trade are required to complete mandatory training before they get behind the bar, Worrall suggested a bartender’s education should go beyond their induction and feature regularly in their on-trade career.
“Training should be an ongoing commitment,” she said.
“The training needs to pair up individual training needs with business requirements in a constantly evolving market place.
“Investing in training in this way has shown an increase in staff retention and in customer service and productivity.”
Stephanie Wade, director of Tennent’s Training Academy, agreed that training should be “a career-long process”.
“It makes sense for operators to invest in training each year in order to add value to their offering and get the most out of their staff and stock,” said Wade.
“Once an operator has identified professional goals for themselves and their staff, a suitable course of training can be devised to help meet those goals.”
Well-trained staff won’t just leave customers feeling happy, they can also encourage them to spend more, reckons Helen Willis of Punch Taverns, who said an outlet’s staff are “essentially your sales force”.
“They can influence how much customers spend, how long they stay, whether they recommend you to others and whether they return,” said Willis. “Training can provide staff with the tools to understand their target customer and the appropriate service style for the certain event, time of day, season and much more.”