The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

The power of the bartender in the on-premise

Data from CGA’s Spring 2023 Report has revealed that one in six on-premise visitors are influenced by bartender recommendations when choosing which category to order from in venues.

According to CGA, it’s important for brands and suppliers to not only understand trends but align with what’s going on in the bartender community.

This might include proactivity in areas such as menu placement, dedicating resources to specific brands, and social media.

What’s more, continuous alignment can also impact longer term visibility and competitive edge in terms of up-and-coming trends.

According to the report, the proportion of consumers who are open to bartender influence increases among specific drink categories.

Twenty-three percent of cocktail drinkers ask bar staff for recommendations every time or almost every time they’re ordering the category, compared to just a quarter who almost never or never do so.

This accentuates the key role on-premise staff can play in guiding consumers towards specific cocktails when in venues. Furthermore, it represents chances for suppliers of cocktail ingredients to score enticing wins by getting bartenders on side.

Overall, CGA says there are many invaluable opportunities to connect with and drive advocacy among bartenders when suppliers understand not only market nuances of the on-premise, but also the needs of its frontline workers.

To this end, competitive edge can be gained by enhancing product positioning and fostering stronger relationships with the bartender community through engagement and education.

As a result, bar staff can become vital influencers of consumer decision-making through their recommendations. But, sustainable success in this area calls for deep insights into popular drinks and emerging trends as told by those who engage with consumers most, coupled with strategies tailored to their needs.

This is why an understanding of how best to interact with bartenders is vital, from online communities and engagement programs, to the role sales reps play in strengthening bartender relations, their brands sentiments, and the drivers behind their supplier preferences.

“It’s clearly demonstrable how bartender recommendations influence category and brand choices,” says Matthew Crompton, Regional Director – Americas.

“So, there’s a potentially sizeable prize for suppliers who understand the bartender mindset.

“But winning it means not only brand and product familiarity on the part of bartenders, but also understanding their motivation to engage and drive specific brands and products.

“This calls for precision targeting what bartenders want from suppliers, the drivers behind relations, and how they’d prefer to be incentivised.”

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