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Working in a bar is fast-paced and time is not on your side. So how do we ensure that fast service does not compromise serving the perfect drink even when you’re under pressure? Advocacy and training Guru, Ben Davidson from Uber Tools, shares his advice on how to deliver the perfect balance of smooth and speedy service every time.

Achieving speed and efficiency in the service of drinks is the "end game" that all hospitality professionals strive for. Once conquered, it means that bar staff is prepared to serve customers in an efficient and friendly manner, delivering an elevated drinks experience guests will not forget and will return for again and again, ultimately enhancing the venue owners’ profitability and their bar staffs’ prospects. In today’s hospitality environment, every competitive advantage that is gained can be the difference between success and failure—a good piece of advice to take on board.

Speed and efficiency: a match made in heaven

In bars and restaurants, speed is crucial. The faster we can work, the less time customers wait to be served. More satisfied customers means more money in the register. However, speed should never mean a compromise to accuracy or quality of the drink being served, or the standard of service offered to each customer. This is where efficiency plays its role, which is to provide service with speed but in an orderly, organized, streamlined and profitable manner.

As well as an action, speed should also be thought of as an attitude. It’s a mind-set built on a conscientious passion. Each individual member of staff makes the decision on how fast, or how committed they are to getting the job done. When it’s busy on the bar and customers are lined up waiting to be served, the usual response is to knuckle down and get through the peak service period with your bar team, gaining great pleasure from the shared moment of pulling together to achieve the common goal, after all, there is no "I" in the word team.

Speed is what the customer sees, whereas efficiency is behind the scenes. When speed and efficiency come together the result can mean a more enjoyable working environment which helps provide a higher quality of service to every customer. Every customer is a walking advertisement for your bar via word of mouth or by posting on their social channels, so it is important that your service is always on point and worth talking about.

Speed and efficiency tools and techniques

1. Tools

In order for wait staff to achieve speed and efficiency, they need to have the right tools and equipment to do the job. By checking your tools are all easily available and in good working order you can be sure they are—reliable and fit for purpose. Generic, leaky pourers are the main reason for spillage and wastage. Inefficient jiggers have been responsible for incorrect measurements from even the most careful bartenders. Service items including trays can also be the cause of spillages. Before addressing a customer, check for cracks in the service tray and ensure it is clean to prevent items dropping or distracting you from the service.

2. Workstation setup – the two-step rule

Well-prepared workstations are essential to serving customers in a fast and efficient manner. The two-step rule simply means having all of your equipment convenient to your workstation, so there are no delays when serving your customers.

3. Order of making drinks

When you get a large order consisting of various drinks, there is a proven order to prepare each drink that will aid your speed and efficiency:

Ben Davidson is an Advocacy and Training Guru from Über bar tools, one of the world’s leading bar tool designers and manufacturers.