EFFICIENCY HACKS FOR THE NEW NORMAL
From serving drinks to taking orders, this article offers hacks to speed up service and improve efficiency when faced with limitations in your venue. Bar professional Minakshi Singh, from Sidecar Bar, voted Best Bar in India, gives her best practice and hacks for a slick and efficient service in your bar.
SLOW AND STEADY START
First things first, let’s face it: it will be a slow and steady process getting your bar to where you want it to be, and it will be some time before we can go back to how bars are used to operating. So, brace yourself for slower business, and becoming as efficient as possible with existing resources and processes, making operations as smooth as possible in your venue.
THE MENU OFFERING
- The idea is to ensure fewer surface touch points, so implement QR coded menus. It is one of the simplest things you can do, and every guest can access it via a smartphone. Also, it goes on to save printing money, as well time-consuming printing updates! While you are at it, direct the menu to your website, thus increasing page views, as well as brand visibility.
- Re-evaluating your menu content from a cost point of view works well. So, consider a less perishable inventory in order to reduce wastage and cut back on costs. For example, introduce drinks which are efficient to make or consider batching – this is a simple, cost-effect way for your staff to save time making drinks and also allows them to be prepared for busier shifts.
- Ensure your menu is seasonal and optimised to the demand of the guests. This practice is not only something we need to integrate at all times but goes on to ensure your guests get the best of what your bar and region has to offer.
In the hospitality industry, your team of staff is your ears and eyes on the ground. Therefore, it is essential to ensure they are well trained on the safety protocols, like maintaining proper hygiene practices, and following SOP’s. Right from your entrance to back area, your entire staff has to be briefed every day on social distancing as well as maintaining the rules. Make it part of your business day routine to ensure this time is put in with your team. Add any training or team catch ups to your regular staff training calendar to make it part of everyone’s working day.
COMMUNICATION WITH GUESTS
Communication with guests is always key. Our industry thrives on conversations and hence, it is tricky for us to limit this whilst maintaining a good relationship with the guest and making them feel safe in your venue. A great way to ensure efficient communication is to consider all the different ways to speak to your customers. Here are a few hacks.
- Amp up your social media presence. Post about your offerings, menus, and ensure it reaches your regulars. Use tech extensively if you can.
- Communicate via in outlet gadgets. If you have screens, use them to project new menus, offerings, events, or anything you are planning.
- Customer Feedback - Post service, you can share a feedback form via telephone call or email to hear back from your guests. This also helps in gathering data for future communication and efficiencies.
- Assuring your guests that you are taking optimal care when it comes to their safety will grow their confidence and encourage them to make another visit to your venue. This can be done by constantly communicating and showcasing the steps being taken both online as well as offline. For example, have you displayed your sanitization calendar in the wash areas, and are your key hygiene procedures on the front page of your menu? Educating and reassuring guests by written form will take pressure off your staff. Beside is an example of our online menu, where the first page covers all this information.
A great layout can help you put your guests at ease and can also get you better space utilisation. Do plan your seating keeping the protocols of social distancing in mind:
- If you are lucky and have some outdoor space, do invest in sprucing it up, and create some seating if possible.
- Use the extra furniture you might have spare to make santization stations as well as clearance and cleaning stations.
- For example, we have created four stations on which we place sanitizers, menus, as well as temperature check gadgets. These act like check points as well, to ensure any rules are being followed and adhered to at all times.
MAINTAIN & SHOWCASE HYGIENE
Needless to say, following strict health and safety procedures at all times is absolutely a must (no matter what time we are living in!) but also, showcasing that you are following norms is of utmost importance. Shoot a quick video showing your daily santisation routine, or best practices and post on your social media channels. This will go a long way in assuring your guests that it is safe for them to venture to your venue
Lastly, I would say, keep up with the everchanging innovations. Many venues in the industry have branched into exciting digital formats like YouTube channels or social media influencers or e-zines. We have been lucky enough to launch our own YouTube channel. The idea came from the fact that we needed to increase our digital footprint and be able to communicate with the industry as well our guests at large. The fact that we have spent a considerable amount of time in the industry gave us the confidence to launch a Youtube channel which is especially focused on the beverage landscape of India. We have covered new brands, cocktail recipes, and trends.
The industry has also done some amazing work right from creating their own RTD’s and premixes to creating opportunities like training portals to support the industry as a whole. In your downtime, take advantage of resources available to you and opportunities to further your business.
Five Key Takeaways
- Optimise the menu – be efficient with how it is delivered and what is offered
- Hold staff training frequently to remind them of the ways of working
- Maximise all the available communication channels – social media, in-venue signage, website – so that all comms don’t depend on your staff
- Look at various ways you can innovate and keep up with the trends
- Optimise your space as much as possible to allow a high volume of guests while maintaining social distancing
TIPS FOR REGAINING CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE
Karina Elias of the Langham Hotel shares some of the new procedures being implemented in their venues, and tips on how to make your customers feel safe when returning to the bar.
HOW TO STOCK YOUR BACKBAR PROFITABLY
Natalie Ng, owner of Doorknock gives her top tips on how to increase profitability and ensure the products and drinks your bar is making, is working hard for your bottom line.
HOW-TO: DIGITISE YOUR STOCKTAKE & ORDERING
Free up resource and transform your venue by switching to a digital process for stocktaking and ordering. Chris Kain, Head of Audit at Stonegate Pubs, shares the benefits of this digital transformation in hospitality.
DRINKSPIRATION: SEASONAL SERVES
Let us inspire you with serves and suggestions to suit every occasion and season. Check out our cocktail of the week to prepare for the week-end and help you whip up concoctions to impress your guests with.