Boosting profits with your back bar

Research carried out by Coors has shown that 35% of consumers are totally influenced by merchandising when choosing drinks.

This means at the moment you take a customer’s order, you can influence what they buy. Whether you have one site or one hundred, the principle is the same. Your back bar is like one big advert for your stock. If you get it right, you’ll see the difference in your till. Merchandising is about more than just stacking bottles in places they’ll fit, with the right thought and planning, you can ignite sales and concentrate on customer service. Here are our essential tips to getting the most out of your back bar:

Visibility and Simplicity

Start with your menu. Keep it simple and easy to understand. Not every customer will be an expert, so a simple, easy to read menu means you can cover all the basics.
When it comes to the back bar itself, the drinks located between waist and eye level account for up to 80% of sales. Make sure your customers can easily identify your products. It’s much more effective to arrange wine in blocks, ideally three across, as this helps the eye focus on the labels. When your products are clearly different colours it can help to group those together. Will Bicks (pictured above), bar manager at The Strand Dining Rooms, a bistro in London arranges his back bar by product type. He says “setting your spirit display up to be visually appealing, for example brandy, gin, bourbon/rye, vodka, scotch. It’s very simple but sometimes not obvious.” It helps his customers easily find a drink they might want and makes it easy for the staff to find. “We wanted our operators to understand ... what a difference effective merchandising could make to their wine sales and how easily it could be achieved if we gave them some simple pointers from Bibendum.”  Natalie O’Rourke-Jones, Senior Retail Marketing Manager at SA Brains.

Ergonomics and Theatre

At The Strand Dining Rooms, Will says “We’ve set up the bar so that if you do a 360 spin on the spot you can pretty much reach anything you need.” The nature of the bar at The Strand Dining Rooms means speed of serve is important. Make sure you know what your customers need and find out where they will look during their visit. Don’t forget that entertaining customers is also important. Serves with theatre, like pouring a Txakoli or serving sparkling from an ice bucket, will keep hold of your customers’ attention and add a little extra to the occasion.

Staying Ahead of the Game

It’s vital to stay in tune with trends as customers’ expectations change over time. It wasn’t too long ago that Albarino and Gruner Veltliner were nowhere to be found on a wine list. Now both feapes are heading towards “must stock” territory. Keeping up with the latest trends can be a full-time job, so keep an eye on Bibendum’s Twitter and Instagram accounts to help inspire your offer.

2nd January 2015

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