Having an attractive and organized back bar is important for several reasons. A presentable bar will show your customers that you care about your business, property, product and furthermore, them. You want to do everything you can to trigger a spark in your customer’s mind that tells them your establishment has great drinks, food and atmosphere. Presentation is often half the battle of retaining repeat business and happy customers. Another reason to keep your back bar organized is for your bar staff. The easier it is for your bartenders to find what they need and get to it quickly will significantly reduce customer waiting time which, in turn, will boost customer loyalty. Here are a few tips on how to make your back bar “sexy”.
Your bar refrigeration has a tremendous impact on your customers. People like their drinks cold when served. Even a chilled glass can make a world of difference. It is important to keep your back bar refrigeration orderly, clean and visible to your patrons.
Back bar coolers are a must behind the bar. These coolers either have a glass door or solid door. Glass door bar coolers are great for bars with a wide selection of bottled beer or wine. People will generally not have to ask “What do you have in bottles?” if they can see your selection. Just remember that you must stay on top of your coolers organization and cleanliness because everyone can see what is inside. A solid door bar cooler is great for storing refrigerated garnishes, cocktail mixers or anything else that may not be as visually appealing to your guests.
If you have ever had beer in a frosty mug you know how exquisite the cool liquid feels and tastes as it hits your taste buds. Glass and plate chillers allow you to chill beer mugs as well as small plates in a hurry. Chilled plates are great if you serve cold appetizers or desserts.
Draft beer dispensers are another great addition to your back bar. They allow customers to easily see what beers you currently have on tap. Kegs are easily stored in the cabinet under the taps where they are refrigerated to ensure a cold brew with every pour.
Make sure your restaurant glassware is accessible and displayed in an appealing way. First decide the types of glassware your establishment needs and then how to display it. Glass hangers work well and keep glassware out of your bartender’s way while still making it easy to grab when needed. Just make sure to have enough storage for all the glassware your bar needs. Hand drying glasses is a great habit to take on in order to avoid water marks. You do not want your glasses on display to look dirty or smudged.
Liquor displays are not only eye catching but helpful for your patrons. Make it easy to differentiate top shelf bottles (more expensive liquors) from well bottles (less expensive liquors). Often restaurants put their most used liquors on speed racks below the counter and display top shelf bottles on tiered displays or shelves that are easily visible. It is common practice to put your less expensive bottles on the bottom of the display and more expensive at the top. Many bars will actually display empty bottles and keep back stock under the bar in liquor storage cabinets for easy-to-reach access.
The last products I would like to encourage are garnish centers and bar caddies. Making garnish centers available to your customers is okay but not encouraged. You do not want your customers periodically sticking their dirty hands in your garnishes. What I do recommend is making them visible to remind customers about your citrus selection and Bloody Mary toppings. Bar caddies should be in your drink mixing stations as well as on your counter top. Your bar staff can then easily grab what they need in a hurry and customers can grab extra napkins, straws or a toothpick without interrupting your staffs’ workflow.
An organized and clean back bar will result in a sexy back bar. You must always remember that what your customers see will make a lasting impression on your establishment.