Recently a friend of mine posted a photo of a cocktail menu onto his facebook because he found a particular concoction to be funny. However upon viewing this photo, another item on the list caught my attention. This disclaimer posted on the bottom of the menu:
“Specialty cocktails may take more time to prepare during busy hours.”
It seems like a nice enough heads up, but this “warning” is way more disgusting than that drink! It may as well read, “We suck at our jobs, so deal with our incompetence”.
A cocktail menu is the heart and soul of a bar. I can get a good idea of what the bar is about simply by reviewing it. It should be a point of pride, not a statement of failure. The presence of this notice indicates that there are a few problems behind this bar.
One of these is that the bartenders are not skilled enough to execute the bar program. This is becoming a common problem as so many bartenders who can make a good drink or two have promoted themselves from mixologist to consultant. But skilled bartenders are the difference between success and failure, not a mixologist’s ego driven vanity project. If the cocktail program is so ambitious that the staff can’t execute it, the bar loses money, customers have bad experiences, unsatisfied guests don’t return, and the business fails.
Enough about the bartenders though, what kind of leaders set their team up to fail? Bad ones! Also what kinds of owners agree to accept failure as the status quo? You guessed it, bad ones! If the bar manager has no idea how to succeed during “busy hours”, it’s safe to assume that they haven’t earned their job on merit.
The owner’s of this bar may someday recognize their work and if so I ask a question. In the event that an inebriated guest were to defecate in the entry, would you just put a sign up and ask people to ignore it? Perhaps it is time to realize that someone has shat upon your bar program.
The bottom line is just that, the bottom line. As an owner if you are content with losing money, please promptly sell your business to a bartender that knows what they are doing and deserves the opportunity to make the money you are regularly leaving on the table.