Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC JanFeb 2016 Contents PRO TIP:
Stuart Morrow: The experience is very
important. Coming from a busy bar,
we try to make sure we have enough
staff on to be able to talk to the guests
and give them enough service but it
is tough when you've got another five
people waiting to be able to spend
the necessary time with somebody.
So I think it’s really important to be
able to take them away from that
environment, take them somewhere
completely quiet and closed off and
give them one on one time.
The Whisky Room has been a bit of
a draw card itself, without the booze
even in there. People know they want
to go to the Whisky Room, but they
don’t know what they want. Some
people know what they want and we'll
take them into the Whisky room to give
it to them. But some people just say
‘I want to go into the Whisky Room,
how do I get in there?’ So that gives
us the opportunity to take them in,
stand with them for five to 10 minutes
and ask them what they’re looking for,
and actually just walk them through
what they’re going to buy. It’s not all
really expensive but the going rate for
most whiskies in Baxter Inn is about
$20 a nip, so when you look at that in
comparison to a lot of other venues, it’s
a pretty good spend per head. People
generally won’t even bat an eyelid at
spending that per serve because most
of what we sell is premium anyway. But
going in there and being able to offer
them something from $20 to $740,
it’s often the case that we'll take them
in there and say ‘This is great, this is
great, but if you want to spend a bit
extra, this is really great’ and they'll
come back with ‘yeah, I’ll spend the
extra’. That stuff you can’t really get
away with on the bar, because you
don’t have the time to talk people
TO MIX OR NOT TO MIX?
So should your top shelf be given the respect it
deserves and only be sipped out of crystal or is
ok to mix and match? Well, it’s a bit of column
A and a bit of column B. According to Healy you
need to be driven by customer demand.
“At the end of the day it is all about what the
consumers wants to drink, and how they want to
drink it,” she says.
Though you also need to take your customers
on a journey, so cocktails are a no-brainer. Preston
is of the firm opinion that luxury doesn’t mean
precious, and that mixing is an excellent option.
“Obviously a more basic serve would
showcase the taste profile of the product more
clearly,” she says. “But a beautifully presented,
well-balanced cocktail can be equally as effective
in driving volume and awareness of these lesser
Luxury spirits are more versatile than you
might think, and when it comes to the bottom line,
Shearer points out that you’re going to make a
better margin on a cocktail with a luxury element.
Over at St Agnes, Redin and his team are
actually actively encouraging bartenders to mix
their XO range in cocktails as they “bring greater
depth and character”.
PRESENTATION IS KEY
When it comes to luxury spirits, people are going
to be shelling out a significant investment, so
how you present them on the menu once you’ve
decided to mix them into some fantastic creation
is something that will require some consideration.
Of course there are plenty of opinions on the
topic, and your choice has to fit with the style of
Luxury serves are about connection and
engagement. Shearer suggests that because you
can invite the customer into a new and exciting
experience, your bar stands a better chance
of upselling if you tap more into the emotional
rather than the rational.
“We have seen some fabulous descriptive
and evocative cocktail names and recipes that
scream out “try me”,” he says. “Our advice would
be don’t hold back, make your upsell cocktail
or serve as attractive as possible – it’s definitely
worth the effort.”
Don’t be afraid of creativity. Andrews
suggests presenting visual cues to your
customers on the menu that hint at the luxury
behind the price point. She suggests anything
from font changes, to colour choice, to even
giving a single cocktail a whole page.
Utilise your staff. Andrews notes that it’s
great to be able to connect a luxury experience
with a person.
“EDV Melbourne use images and names of
their managers and owners to call out staff
recommendations,” she says. “It’s really powerful
to see a picture in the menu of a senior staff
member recommending a brand, then look at the
bar and see that person mixing your drink.”
Work with what you have. If your menu
doesn’t have the space to get fancy with images,
then, according to Preston, it can be as simple as
adding a small written cue.
“A simple one line justifying the additional
cost, rather than simply including them at the
bottom of a price list, can help,” she says.
Include specific details that staff can then
work into their chat. Redin suggests adding
specific detail that can then be worked into a
story about the brand by the bartender.
“Use their age, region and maker in a brief
description of the spirit that would not normally
accompany a listing,” he says.
Create flights or guided tastings. Healy
suggests that for less well-known luxury
spirits, flights and guided tastings are going to
add an important layer of experience for the
customer and “an important part of the ‘value’
communication and education process”.
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