5 Ways to improve your margins behind the bar



Restaurants and bars are some of the hardest businesses to run. The current situation with  the pandemic brings along staff shortages and supply chain issues, radically increasing the competitiveness and challenges within the industry. Every detail and decision a company makes becomes vital to the longevity of its operations. Most important when looking at the lifetime of a company is the profitability of its operations, making margins more relevant than ever. 

In this blogpost you will be reminded of 5 ways in which you can improve your margins behind the bar from the minute your customer walks through your doors.  


1. Take a good look at your menu's pricing and existing margins 

When running a bar or restaurant, it is important to understand how your menu and drinks work in numbers. What variables are included in the cost of making a specific drink and where can you win margins? Are some cocktails more expensive to make than others? 
Is this being reflected in the pricing?

It might seem obvious, but there is more to a cocktail than the price of its ingredients.
All parts of the business should be taken into consideration when calculating the total cost of creating your drink. Labor, rent, utilities, and equipment are some examples of indirect costs you need to have in mind when setting your prices.

Bring out your calculator. Only when you're finished gathering all the financial data, you can derive the cost of creating your cocktails. Once done, make sure the price reflects the cost. You might find that you're over- or underpricing your items. If it is the latter, don't be afraid to raise the prices. Remember, unless you make radical changes, most customers might not even notice the price tweaks. Another way to align the cost and price ratio is to introduce smaller servings. Think about serving the same cocktail in smaller glasses to create the perception of serving larger portion sizes. Most important, take a good look at how to lower your costs without compromising on quality.  

2. Muster up and train your super team

No leader can win if they're without a team. After all your team are the ones that sell, create, and bring the product to the customer. How to train your staff is completely up to you. There are plenty of options such as waiter training and bar courses. However, these come with a price tag. To help you out, we have prepared some tips and tricks for your staff to create more sales opportunities and provide a better service level while doing so.  

Coppa Cocktails - Coppa bartender

Why upselling helps boost profit.

Focus on selling specialty drinks and alcoholic beverages. Upselling encourages customers to spend more on high- end products than what they originally intended, resulting in a higher revenue (and hopefully profit) at the end of the day. An important note is that it's vital to focus upsell tactics on an item with a higher profit. If a cocktail costs $10,- but earns the company $5, - and a wine costs $6, - but earns the company $3,50 then it is best to bet on the cocktails. 

Upselling's relative: Cross-selling.

While we're tapping in to upselling we might as well mention its relative, cross-selling. The process of cross-selling applies when people are offered the chance to buy another item that compliments their first purchase. What pairs better with a delicious drink than snacks?

Keep asking, but don't get impatient.

Have people finished their food or drink? Politely ask if they would like another round. Offering an Espresso Martini or Passion Fruit Martini as a dessert option gives you a great cross-sales opportunity! The idea is to make your guests want a product they didn't plan on consuming.  Remember; Nothing feels better than recommending something to your guests that they end up loving.  

A crucial step for succeeding in training your staff is to have adequate management who have expertise in the field. Make sure all your staff are aware of what they are selling, what it tastes like, and what it pairs well with. This will allow your staff to guide and aid customers while making smart decisions. It does not only bring more money into the cash register, it also creates a better customer journey. 

Passion Fruit Martini_Coppa_Cocktails_10

3. What is more wasteful than waste? 

Waste is found everywhere in the hospitality industry. Behind the bar, waste often occurs when bartenders are put to the test. Overpouring, faulty drinks, wrong ingredients, etc. There are plenty of challenges when it comes to creating cocktails the right way. Spillage is one of the main offenders of waste by bartenders and peels and garnishes often end up in the trash at the end of the night.

4. Create perfect serve sheets 

Perfect serve sheets are pretty much the bible for a bar. It holds all information needed for bartenders to create the most amazing alcoholic concoctions. In there you will find what bar equipment and ingredients you need and how to use them, as well as how to prepare all the garnishes for each individual cocktail.   
The perfect serve sheet should be used by all staff behind the bar. This will help create a great serve every time, regardless of who makes the drink. On top of this it will help give better insights into cost management.  

5. Cocktails to Go  

During 2020 and 2021 we saw a massive increase in the demand for bottled cocktails. For those who have been hit by restrictions and are unable to have on-premises sales, premix cocktail serves such as Coppa Cocktails six different serving option, offer an easy option to traditional cocktail making. 

If you've come this far, then you're well on your way to improve your bar and the quality of your service and drinks. We wish you the best of luck and keep those delicious drinks and bites coming!  


Coppa Cocktails