• Rick Fogel

Mixology vs Bartending: Cold Hard Truth on Improving Guest Satisfaction Scores & Guest Experience.

On a basic level, there is a general understanding between a Mixologist and Bartender. But a deep dive into the more intricate details of their differences and how they affect bar business needs review.

Mixologist and bartender arguing in the middle of a bar
Mixologist vs. Bartender

Mixologist: An individual with a passion for combining elixirs, creating exceptional, unique cocktails, obsessing over the smallest details.

Bartender: An individual with the passion for creating well-balanced, memorable guest experiences and making great drinks.

Only 5% of drink sales are craft cocktails, the other 95% is other drink sales
Drink Sales vs. Craft Cocktail Drink Sales

Mixologist Characteristics:

· Play, experiment and reimagine classic cocktails

· Extensive knowledge on spirits

· Make 1 drink every 3-4 minutes

· No time to talk to Guests in between drink making

· The Bartender is the show

Fun Fact: Less than 5% of all drinks served in a bar are craft cocktails

Bartender Characteristics:

Football player catches football for touchdown and scores

· Entertain, create a fun environment and make great drinks

· Extensive knowledge on current events and sports

· Make 3-4 drinks per minute

· Quick Service and Conversation make it easy to relax, laugh, joke and talk Sports for hours.

· It is all about the Guest

Fun Fact: 67% of all Bar Guests are Sports Fanatics

At the end of the day, the Bar industry needs to strike a balance between the two styles of Bartenders. In the heat of the trend, there has been a hard swing toward Mixology—thinking it is going to save/ drive bar business. In the process, operations abandoned the basic fundamentals and secondary skills of Bartending as a craft. The hyper-focus on drinks has all but forgotten the old school priorities of Hospitality and Service Quality with each one of our Guests.

To add complexity to the equation, training has been reduced to making signature drinks. Little to no time is spent training the specifics on Service Standards, Guest engagement and Guest expectations. Training is what makes the difference between a Professional Bartender and someone that just makes drinks and takes food orders. It cannot be just about the drinks. Bars need the total package bartender to drive repeat business. Highly skilled Bartenders are not applying for these positions. An internal training program is required to develop the skills necessary to learn the craft of Bartending on all levels.

Well trained Bartenders drive bar sales and interact with Guests while they make drinks. This directly improves Guest Satisfaction Scores. My favorite question by the Director of Finance. “What’s the ROI on Bartender training?” Followed by: “They are going to leave anyway.” Best answer: Training the Bartender gives them the skills and techniques required to create memorable Guest experiences, drive sales and increase GSS scores. If you do not train your Bartenders, and they stay, you will not reach your sales potential and fall short of guest expectations which, in turn, will pull down your GSS scores.

In conclusion, Bars are at a time and place where Bartenders need better training to produce quality drinks, consistently and quickly. A solid foundation of basic service standards, advanced drink making techniques and multi-tasking skills will eliminate the current issues of slow service and minimal guest interaction. Improved drink production efficiencies and Guest engagement will drive higher Guest Satisfactions Scores, memorable Guest experiences and repeat Bar business.

Contact me to address your current bar situation and find beverage solutions to achieve your bar goals and objectives.