Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5 Tips to Improve Beverage Product Quality

Guy Fieri visits America's most interesting and unique restaurants on Food Network's “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” He walks into kitchens, lifts lids, opens doors and asks questions, quickly gauging the quality of the food. While this show is designed forInspection glass entertainment purposes, it has a message that operators should not ignore to improve bar product quality.
I recently completed a beverage operations evaluation for a client who had been receiving customer complaints about the quality of drinks served and wanted to find out why.
My client prides himself on the quality of food served. On a shift basis, the manager and chef perform an inspection of every hot and cold food item on the food line.
“We take pride in what we serve, and this is what brings our customers back,” he explained.
My client was a former chef who enjoys working in the kitchen and talking with customers. In keeping with his line of interests, he hired managers with food backgrounds who focused on perfecting customers’ eating experiences, but did little to supervise the bar side of the business.
After observing the bar operations over a series of lunch and dinner shifts, several issues became clear:
  • Beer temperature: The temperature of the draft system was 42˚F when it should be 38˚F. The beer companies were cleaning the taps, but the long-draw glycol system had not been serviced, resulting in higher temperatures, foaming and waste.
  • Post mix brix: The soda poured was too sweet, and the tonic was weak. The proper brix service and maintenance had not been completed for months.
  • Garnishes: Lime and lemon wedges were different sizes. The fresh fruits were mixed with old garnishes, and containers were not labeled or dated.
  • Ice levels: Bartenders were half-filling glasses with ice, requiring them to add more mix and, consequently, making the drink recipe weaker.
  • Pouring levels: Glasses were overfilled, and drinks were spilling over the sides.
  • Pre-mixes: Again, containers were not labeled or dated. Partial cans of pineapple juice, energy drinks and tomato juice were not stored at room temperature.
  • Refrigerators: Temperature gauges were not working, shelves were dirty and filters were clogged.
  • Pour spouts: Pour spouts were worn and leaking.
  • Bar cleanliness and organization: The floor mats were worn, the backbar was cluttered with personal belongings and the bar top had not been cleaned. Plus, fruit flies had invaded the bar!
  • Glassware: The glassware was spotty and chipped.
You don’t have to invite a Food Network star to one of your restaurants to start lifting lids, opening doors and asking questions to improve beverage product quality. In fact, these steps should be taking place regularly within your restaurants to ensure that the drink quality is on par with the food.
Here are five steps to get started:
  1. Implement a “we do everything fresh” mentality in the bar, at every location.
  2. Hire managers who have experience in food and beverage.
  3. Make sure each location’s management builds pride with bartender staff to serve quality in product and presentation.
  4. Implement a product line check before every shift, chainwide.
  5. Encourage managers of each unit to randomly inspect drinks during each shift.
Contact Dronkers Beverage and Social Media Solutions at ddronk@gmail.com and receive a free bar-inspection checklist.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tips to Bolster Your FourSquare Presence

With more than 10 million users, FourSquare may be the most used social network, behind Facebook and Twitter. If you own a nightclub, bar or restaurant, you most likely serve guests who check in on FourSquare. But are you strategically engaging your customers? Review the checklist below to see if you are up to date on three of the most important FourSquare practices.

1. Claim Your Location

To those well versed in FourSquare, this is a no-brainer. Venues on FourSquare fall into two categories, “claimed” and “unclaimed.” Claimed locations have been officially identified by the owners of their establishments to the corporate FourSquare office, which then gives claimants the special privileges of running promotions, editing the page’s information and retrieving statistics on visitor usage. Unclaimed locations, though unmanaged, allow visitors all the same options of checking in and leaving tips but without promotional incentive.

2. Remind People to Check-In

This tip, like the one above, may seem fairly obvious to heavy FourSquare users. Yet it is important that a business not rely solely on customer word-of-mouth to attract traffic to its FourSquare page. Remember that a check-in is a visit to your establishment, so the more you get people to check-in to your venue, the more business you will receive. Proactively encourage check-ins by posting the Foursquare logo in your establishment and on your website, reminding people to check in.

3. Run Promotional Offers

After claiming your location, give people a concrete incentive to visit your establishment by offering them a free drink or appetizer on their first, fifth, or tenth visit. Such practices can end up turning any initial loss in resources into a profit by attracting a greater number of customers to your establishment. These need to be strategically executed with an eye toward increasing current sales.

Following initial competition from other geolocation applications, such as Facebook Places and Gowalla, FourSquare has emerged as the No. 1 GPS-determined location-sharing service. Don’t waste your resources by checking out these other websites; focus on catering to customers on FourSquare by following these tips and tricks.

For a complimentary list of effective Foursquare promotions, contact Dronkers Solutions at ddronk@gmail.com.