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How To Operate Your Bar?

16/12/2020

Giorgio Bargiani, Head Mixologist at The Connaught Bar, shares tips on how to operate your bar and hire great bartenders

Giorgio Bargiani is an Italian mixologist with a passion for flavours, travel and always connecting with amazing humans and characters. Working as Head Mixologist at The Connaught Bar, which recently won the world’s best bar award and a  judge at the London Spirits Competition shares tips on how to operate your bar and hire great bartenders.

Biggest challenges in operating a bar

The biggest operational challenge in our sector is to deliver consistency across cocktail style, service, and personality of the venue without becoming repetitive or getting into a mechanic routine. Working as a cohesive team is really helpful in this sense. Always try to share your vision with your team, this is fundamental because they need to share it and believe in it but they also need to feel their role and contribution are important in order to express their personalities and ideas. Each one of us adds to the united team and overarching Connaught Bar culture so that we always enhance our vision without moving away from our roots. A bar needs to be profitable as every business, but to be long-lasting it needs a good and timeless character.

Giorgio Bargiani, Connaught Bar's Head Mixologist along with Agostino 'Ago' Perrone

[Image: Giorgio Bargiani, Connaught Bar's Head Mixologist along with Agostino 'Ago' Perrone]

Tips on recruiting great bartenders

In a great bartender, you won’t just find great technical skills and knowledge. You will have the passion and desire to learn, grow and improve despite the role they cover. Being a bartender also means being a host and in order to host people, you need empathy, sensitivity and humbleness.

Define a good bartender

A good bartender is like a good cocktail: a balance of different ingredients and technical skills, a story and inspiration behind, and a great taste. 

Giorgio Bargiani also has a solid Instagram following and has his own youtube channel where he shares cocktails and tips for consumers that not only gives them great recipes but also helps the bar bring some solid foot traffic. Most of the leading bartenders around the world are also great influencers for spirits brands, cocktail and bar culture.

Tips on marketing a bar to drive foot traffic

Start from your local area. You need to think about what your neighbours need and look for and build relationships with them, both with businesses and potential customers. The next step is to go beyond your neighbourhood or town and think bigger, think global. Why would people from another area, region or country, be these tourists or business travellers, want to connect with them? Marketing and communications are paramount, but remember that even on media word of mouth is still the most effective medium and only your bar standards can drive it positively.

Tips on marketing menu and cocktails to drive cocktail orders

Do things that impress without overdoing them. This means creating and promoting cocktails and menus that are visually appealing, flavoursome and can spark a conversation. Therefore, these need to be approachable by customers who will be talking about you becoming your ambassadors outside the bar.

Giorgio Bargiani

[Image: Connaught Bar became the world’s best bar - Picture source]

Bar décor tips to drive sales

Your bar needs to be trendy but should not only reflect current trends. You need some timeless and bespoke elements to stand out and make guests feel they’re in your bar, not just in any venue. Every detail needs to fit into the wider look and feel driving the atmosphere that suits your bar style, from the cocktails to the type of service. Even uniforms are essential in creating the appropriate atmosphere and are as important as your décor in conveying the character of the bar.

What does winning the top bar award mean for you and the bar?

It’s an incredible reward for me, for Ago and Maura and for the entire team, but none of us feels like we have reached the top. This actually feels like the beginning of a higher peak to climb up, of some greater things to do together. Over these past years, we have been consolidating our identity, our vision and our offering for the Connaught Bar guests. Continuing to hold to our standards while always innovating and enticing guests will always be our challenge and commitment. Straight up with style and don’t forget the smile.