Controlling costs is a central tenet of operating successfully in the on-trade and operators have said that there are real savings to be made by being economical with hours. With the right planning, a small team on shift can perform big as bars welcome customers back.
That was the view of Scott Murray, managing director of multiple operator Cru Holdings. He said: “What we learned from reopening in August, is that our business simply wasn’t nearly as efficient as we thought. From oversized menus, even though we thought they were small, ‘just in case’ staffing levels at the weekends, and an onerous cocktail and drinks offering – there was so much fat to trim.
“Having lost 30-40% of our capacity, we immediately reduced our staffing accordingly. We noticed that the team members on duty were able to cope with much more, as the demand was consistent. Normal shifts by comparison have peaks and troughs which is harder to plan for. The employees on duty are not having to work any harder, but they are working more consistently.”
Similarly, London-based bar manager, Kevin Murphy, has said that a small and methodical bar team performing their roles effectively can work wonders and urged every kind of venue to consider prebatching their most popular cocktails to save time and money.
“When you are planning for a busy reopening and trying to keep staffing costs down, the key is making sure everyone knows what their role is, what is expected of them and sticks to it. Whether it’s dispense, bar back, floor or hosting, if teams start to chop and change mid-shift efficiency can sometimes fly out the window, customers will notice and so could your profits.
A big thing that helped us with reduced teams was pre-batching our cocktail menu and a few popular classics. As we only had one bartender on each shift, reducing each serve from 4-5 bottle pours to just one bottle pour helped efficiency immensely, and meant one bartender could churn out more than double the number of drinks they could on a normal shift.
“Even if your venue’s money-maker isn’t predominantly cocktails, making a Negroni a one pour serve instead of three will still help speed up service, and you don’t have to worry about how big of a batch to make as none of the ingredients are perishable.”
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