"A great bar starts with great refrigeration," says Tess Posthumus, winner of the International Bartender of the Year award and bartender-owner of Flying Dutchmen Cocktails in Amsterdam. "Especially if you have such a small space like us, you want to optimise every square inch. Not only for efficiency, but because of the impact smart looking refrigeration can have on showcasing the products within, to passing trade and regular patrons alike.”
In the second of three cocktail bar features, Gamko’s go-to cocktail expert Tess, discusses how to attract customers to your bar, like bees to a honey pot.
Bottle coolers – a window into your world
“Not only is our bar beautiful, with over 600 uniquely designed bottles on display, our refrigeration is also a show stopping spectacle. We have arranged our bottle coolers in such a way that they act as a window display. When a patron is sitting at the bar, they can see at a glance every drink we have on offer.” This seemingly obvious principle is so often over looked or is not served justice. There is a field of science dedicated to how visual merchandise affects impulse purchasing and consumer behaviour. Bar height, width, lighting, bottle positioning and more are all factors in how your merchandise is displayed to your patrons. Getting it wrong could mean placing barriers between the customer and the products – not what any bar owner would wish for!
To engage her customers, and encourage them to ask questions, Tess puts certain products at the most visible point inside of the bottle cooler. “Our patrons are very curious and ask everything about the drinks they see. Therefore, I put the drinks that I have interesting facts about and the drinks with a good margin (of course) in pride of place inside my bottle coolers.”
She continues with the important point, that "Patrons don't have to see the cappuccino milk, to know we have it.” So, flooding your bottle cooler with your best-selling drink is not tactical enough – feature bottles with a story, a strong brand or something that helps you set the perfect tone for your bar (and helps you make a tidy profit too!).
The art of transparent theatre
Theatre cooking stations and open kitchen designs have exploded in popularity over the past decade. People enjoy the entertainment of watching a chef in action and being the immediate beneficiaries of their work! The same can be said for bars. In recent years, events like cocktail making classes have sky rocketed in popularity and are now a regular feature in social calendars.
Not only do people enjoy watching things being created, they’re much more educated, aware and interested in what goes into their dishes and drinks before they are consumed. It’s therefore becoming increasingly important to show what you have to offer.
"Patrons want to know more and more about what they consume. They want transparency. That's why it's important to highlight your products beautifully."
If you have great products on offer, according to Tess, it's a shame to put them away behind a solid refrigerator door. "That is one of the reasons why I opt for a Gamko cooling system. My bottle cooler has a well-lit large glass surface area which makes my bottles stand out and we offer transparency and clarity to our patrons."
Flexible functionality – perfect for small spaces
In addition to transparent and open displays, Tess emphasises the importance of functional and flexible cooling equipment. "Nothing is as annoying as a large bottle that does not fit in the bottle cooler. During a busy service, at some point these awkward size bottles will end up getting thrown in a bottle cooler crooked and then leak or get stuck. On the other hand, very small bottles take up a lot of space so aren’t as efficient to store when space is at a premium.” That's why Tess deliberately opted for a cooler with adjustable shelves. "Because my shelves are adjustable I get the best out of my cooling and I can stack it very efficiently."
Of course, efficient stacking is the basis of effective cooling. "Always make sure everything is perfectly straight and super tight, that the labels of the bottles face forward and that on the whole it looks attractive.”
With Tess’s advice on how to correctly display bottles within your cooler, and Gamko offering flexible, affordable and efficient cooling equipment, you can be sure that your customers will benefit from the best of what your bar has to offer them.