The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Does quality of bartender service affect the on-premise experience?

The latest New Zealand Pulse+ Report from CGA by NIQ explores the impact of maximising bartender relationships to influence purchase decisions.

The report covers not only the impact bartenders have on the overall consumer experience in the on-premise, but also their influence on consumer drinks choice and preferences.

Half of consumers (50%) rank the quality of service delivered by bartenders as a key element of an exceptional on-premise experience. This aspect is only bettered by the quality of food on offer, surpassing other factors, such as the quality of drinks and the entertainment offerings provided, according to the report.

When reviewing this by age group, it shows the value of quality bartenders increases as consumers mature. Quality of food is valued most amongst all age groups, followed by quality of service from bartenders and staff amongst 35–45-year-olds and 55+ consumers, whereas 18–34-year-olds place a greater onus on drinks than service.

This verifies bartenders as an integral aspect of the on-premise experience, according to CGA by NIQ, with just under six in 10 consumers engaging with them every time they go out. Additionally, 60% are open to altering their usual drink orders based on staff recommendations, demonstrating the high level of trust placed in bartender knowledge and expertise.

With this insight in mind, CGA by NIQ says venues might think about prioritising training for bartenders and other staff, because these frontline personnel are vital to building rapport with customers. What’s more, the high level of trust consumers have in bartenders makes them an appealing proposition for the brands on offer within venues, for optimising awareness, engagement and sales.

For these purposes, working with operators and their bartenders can open previously untapped avenues or reinforce existing ones. For example, increased awareness and visibility due to advocacy is a key consideration. Additionally, there are compelling opportunities to utilise bartender relationships and devise incentives to push certain menu items, ensure successful promotional campaigns, roll out new or seasonal products, and nurture sustainable brand equity.

Ultimately, knowing what makes bartenders tick is a chance for both drinks suppliers and operators to take a more strategic approach. This might entail including bartenders in their on-premise strategies to leverage the final touchpoint in the consumer path to purchase.

“Harnessing bartender engagement and rapport can help brands and suppliers gain a distinct advantage, bolstering product placement and fostering stronger brand recognition within the bartender network,” says Tom Graham, Senior Manager – Client Success and Solutions.

“Exploring this dynamic, the forthcoming OPUS Spring Survey delves into the wealth of opportunities for forging connections with industry operators, in turn fostering advocacy among influential bartenders and staff, who wield considerable influence over consumer preferences.”

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