The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Five ways to engage bartenders in the on-premise

Bartender engagement is a key way for suppliers to generate brand loyalty — and a CGA by NIQ report and webinar revealed how to achieve it.

CGA’s Global Bartender Report drew on an in-depth BarSights survey of 150 hospitality professionals in Australia.

Highlights from the report were shared at a special CGA by NIQ webinar, led by CGA’s James Phillips, Client Solutions Director – ANZ, and featuring a range of drinks experts, ambassadors and venue operators. Here are five of the top takeaways…

Bartenders want to become bar owners and brand ambassadors

Many bartenders are passionate about their work and eager to progress their careers.

More than half (56%) of those surveyed find the idea of running their own bar appealing, while 46% think the same about working as a brand ambassador.

“Brand ambassadors are super-important—they’re the first step to building that relationship between a brand and a venue,” said Ashley Nash, Venue Manager in Queensland.

However, bar professionals don’t always know how to navigate the career pathways and need help to make their way.

Social media can be a powerful influence

CGA’s sales research shows the importance of social media in influencing consumers’ decisions.

However, with two in five (41%) bartenders telling the Bartender Report that they never post on social media, there is room for a lot more activity—and 85% of respondents agree that more social media could help their careers.

People are looking for both innovation and familiarity in drinks

Bartenders like to be creative, and suppliers have some great opportunities to support their innovation.

Half (49%) of those surveyed said they feel expert or very knowledgeable in menu creation and cocktail mixology. But with nearly as many (48%) wanting to learn more about drink creation, there’s a clear need for more education.

Innovation is very important, said Fever Tree’s Brand Ambassador, Trish Brew, at the webinar. “It’s so important to give consumers choice and elevate their experience.”

At the same time, people also want to know they’re getting good value.

“Nostalgia and familiarity are playing a big part… people are choosing things that they know and understand and perceive to be worthwhile rather than taking a risk,” said Nick Tesar, Creative Director of Drinks at Four Pillars.

Venues value support

The Global Bartender Report emphasises the need to regularly support venues with their knowledge and skills.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents say they would ideally expect brand and supplier sales reps to visit them once or twice a month.

These visits can be very effective, as 40% of bartenders discover and add new drinks based on recommendations from ambassadors and reps.

Half (51%) say tastings and masterclasses have helped them learn and discover new drinks.

“As a bar manager we know you don’t have a lot of time to educate your team — we can give you so much to help you succeed and do your job better,” said Trish Brew.

Venue-supplier relationships are win-win

Nearly all (97%) bartenders told The Global Bartender Report that their relationships with suppliers and distributors are necessary to the success of the bar.

They are keen to stay in close touch: 88% say they are extremely satisfied when they order directly from the suppliers to ensure a better connection with the brand for future support.

It’s all about building a mutually beneficial and win-win relationship, said Alex Zanarini: “The goals of suppliers and venues are pretty well aligned.”

The Global Bartender Report is available from CGA by NIQ now.

How to catch up with The Shout NZ

Online, updated daily with its own unique content and breaking news.
Our weekly newsletter – free to your inbox! Subscribe here.
We are also on Facebook and Instagram!