Bar Business Winter 2021

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Winter 2021

THE HOW-TO PUBLICATION

BAR BUS NESS barbizmag.com

MAGAZINE

Plus

THE WIDE WORLD OF

WHISKEY

The Future is

NOW Taffer’s Tavern demonstrates what the future of hospitality could look like.

TO-GO

A LOOK AT PACKAGING NEEDS.

SHIFTING SUPPLIES

A CHANGED APPROACH TO INVENTORY CONTROL.


GREAT OLE SMOKY TASTE FOR THEM

EASIER POURS FOR YOU OUR NEW 1-LITER BOTTLES LET YOU POUR FASTER AND WITH LESS WASTE

Now available in our top selling flavors Shine Responsibly®

©2021 Ole Smoky Distillery, LLC, Gatlinburg, TN All Rights Reserved. OLE SMOKY, OLE SMOKY TENNESSEE MOONSHINE and SHINE RESPONSIBLY are registered trademarks of Ole Smoky Distillery, LLC.

@OLESMOKY


CONTENTS Winter 2021

HOW TOS

16

The In’s & Out’s of Inventory

19

Transporting To-Go Orders

22

As supply and demand concerns change, so should the way you approach inventory. To-go changes the bevware and food packaging needs of bars.

Tuning Up: How Bars with Games Can Stay Compliant

Is your arcade bar getting the highest score on COVID-19 compliance?

DEPARTMENTS

4

From the Publisher

6

On Tap

9

Health & Hospitality

A letter from our Publisher Gary Lynch. Industry news & announcements.

25

Tips for staying well.

10

Behind the Bar

14

Happenings

31

Bar Tour

In-depth analysis of beer, wine, and spirits. Important dates for the month.

COVER STORY

A new bar deconstructs and redefines design, cocktails, and the chicken sandwich.

34

Inventory

36

Q+A

Transforming the Dining Experience For Taffer’s Tavern, the future is now.

Featured product releases. Jomaree Pinkard, Co-Founder & CEO, Hella Cocktail Co.

FEATURES

28

Tracking the Trends

A look at what will define the hospitality industry in 2021.

barbizmag.com

COVER & CONTENTS PHOTOS: TAFFER’S TAVERN.

Winter 2021

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THE HOW-TO PUBLICATION

BAR BUS NESS MAGAZINE

WINTER 2021

VOL. 14

NO. 1

Bar Business Magazine (ISSN 1944-7531) is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 88 Pine St 23rd Fl., New York, NY 10005

SUBSCRIPTION DEPARTMENT 800-895-4389

EXECUTIVE OFFICES President Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr.

Group Publisher Gary Lynch Office: 212-620-7247; Cell: 646-637-5206 glynch@sbpub.com

EDITORIAL

Editor-in-Chief Ashley Bray 212-620-7220 abray@sbpub.com Contributing Writers Dr. Chun-Chu Chen, Elyse Glickman, Maura Keller, Jeff Wooten

ART

Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Hillary Coleman

PRODUCTION

Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers mconyers@sbpub.com

CIRCULATION

Circulation Director Maureen Cooney mcooney@sbpub.com

ADVERTISING SALES

Gary Lynch Office: 212-620-7247; Cell: 646-637-5206 glynch@sbpub.com

Bar Business Magazine (Digital ISSN 2161-5071) is published four times a year. February, April, July, and October are only offered in a digital format at no charge by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 88 Pine St. 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10005. COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2021. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information contact: Gary Lynch, Phone (212) 620-7247, or glynch@sbpub.com. For Subscriptions, & address changes, Please call (US Only) 1-800-553-8878 (CANADA/INTL) 1-319-364-6167, Fax 1-319-364-4278, e-mail barbusiness@stamats.com or write to: Bar Business Magazine, Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. Instructional information in this magazine should only be performed by skilled craftspeople with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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STRAIGHT TO YOUR PHONE

Thirsty for more? Get updates between issues with our weekly newsletters full of how-to information on marketing and promotions, managing your bar, and the latest trends and technologies. barbizmag.com/newsletter THE HOW-TO PUBLICATION

BAR BUS NESS MAGAZINE

@BARBIZMAG


FROM THE PUBLISHER

FROM THE EDITOR PUBLISHER’S NOTE

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them. Embrace them. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward and then adapt as needed.”

- Lao Tzu

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I

f we learned anything in 2020, it’s the power of resilience—the ability to pivot when unexpected events change everything. The transition process can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding, as it requires us to think differently about how we operate, the services we provide, and our customer experience. Whether you are a bar owner, a beverage manager, or, perhaps, the publisher of an industry brand like Bar Business, we’ve all needed to reevaluate our business and adapt to a new environment. As consumer behavior and expectations have changed, we’ve needed to change as well. Media companies were not spared in 2020 from undergoing a reevaluation and reinvention process, especially as digital content consumption has increased dramatically across all channels. Consider the following trends from 2020: • Overall digital content consumption doubled. • Digital magazine subscriptions grew by 110%. • Virtual events experienced explosive growth, and the virtual event market is projected to grow 23% year over year for the next seven years. • Streaming services grew 40% and are projected to grow 20% year over year for the next seven years. Bar Business is no exception to the trends. We experienced similar audience growth with our website, newsletter, and digital magazine. At a time of significant market disruption, you flocked to our digital products seeking information and insights on how best to navigate the pandemic. At the same time, the Bar Business printed magazine faced enormous headwinds in its

ability to deliver critical and timely information due to the decline in first-class mail delivery and a readership that has been furloughed, laid off, or dispersed. In short, everything shifted, and we need to as well. We have a responsibility to serve the bar industry in a manner that meets your needs. As a result, we will suspend publication of our print magazine for the remainder of 2021 and invest in developing a robust digital portfolio that will include: • An enhanced quarterly digital publication featuring all of the columns and departments you have come to depend on plus deep dives into industry trends, equipment and products, and business management strategies. • Bar Business F&B, a new monthly newsletter dedicated to the unique needs and challenges of food and beverage managers. Topics covered will include new products, menu planning, inventory management, and budget/finance considerations. • A Seat at the Bar, a new podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders to inspire and inform listeners. • Mastering the Art, a virtual event series providing critical “how-to” education on topics you need to know to grow your business in this all-new landscape. It’s time to “Mix It Up!” Let’s move ahead together, rebuild our respective businesses, and look forward to the resurgence of our industry.

GARY LYNCH Group Publisher barbizmag.com


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ON TAP Signage Worthy of a Selfie

K

ing Street is one of the more notable districts in historic Charleston, South Carolina. The street houses a collection of fine dining restaurants, art galleries, and shopping, as well as the Vintage Lounge wine bar. The upscale Charleston bar offers more than 20 wines by-the-glass and a bottle list with over 200 selections. It also serves up a variety of classic and original cocktails and a curated selection of local craft beers. In addition to seating inside the bar’s location in a renovated historic building (they were named “Most Beautifully Designed Bar in South Carolina” by Architectural Digest), Vintage Lounge also features a spacious outdoor patio and bar, which now also includes a glittering, new identity sign spelling out the bar’s name. Highlighted with halo-lit LED lighting, the sign serves as the perfect backdrop for patrons to take selfies in 6

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front of. This standout sign for the King Street hotspot was designed, crafted, and installed by Justin Myers and his crew at Signs By Veterans, a full-

The new sign adds extra conversation and attention.

service custom sign company also located in Charleston. Myers and his designer happened to be visiting the open space at the establishment and noticed a fence with faux greenery on it. They approached the owner with the idea of incorporating a sign there

that would add extra conversation and attention. “The purpose was to generate a branded sign for patrons to take selfies at and post on social media,” explains Myers. “The majority of the design was already in their branding, so we used the [Vintage Lounge] logo to come up with the design for this sign.” The new selfie sign, constructed from gold and black DIBOND, is not only a very high-end brand asset at the Vintage Lounge, but it also creates an even more positive energy throughout the venue. “They have become very well known throughout the food and wine industry in Charleston, which also happens to be one of the largest industries in the United States,” says Myers. “This selfie sign engages visitors and encourages them to spread their experiences here.” —Jeff Wooten vintagechs.com barbizmag.com

Photo: Signs by Veterans.

FROM ON TAP THE EDITOR


ON TAP Barpay Releases New Contact Tracing Platform

Photo: Barpay.

B

arpay, a leading contactless technology company designed specifically for the service industry, has recently released its contact tracing platform. The platform is offered as a free or paid service, and follows the company’s initial order + pay software, and QR code digital menu platform. It is a user-friendly way for restaurants to capture and securely store basic information about their customers, such as their name, phone number, and other optional information like an email and address. From a venue operator’s perspective, there is a simple dashboard that: • Allows the user to choose what pieces of information they would like to capture • Generates a ready-to-print QR code for customers to scan • Provides a “Request Access” button, should the venue need to contact patrons. The venue’s dashboard allows users to choose what information they want to collect from their customers. For restaurant patrons, the experience is three simple steps: • Scan a QR code at the venue’s entrance with their phone’s camera. • Fill out the information prompted by the QR code (name, phone number). • Click the “Verify” link they receive via text message (if the venue is using the paid version of the service). Once the patron submits the requested information, they are taken to a screen that they can show the restaurant host to prove they have filled out the necessary information. While some customers may be weary of sharing personal information, Barpay’s contact tracing platform stores all customer data on secure servers, and it only allows venues to view the information upon request and with authorization from county Health Department officials. Additionally, Barpay only stores information for 30 days before being permanently deleted. “We talk to our clients on a daily basis and do our best to keep our finger on

barbizmag.com

the pulse of the industry,” says Dan Wagner, chief product officer and co-founder of Barpay. “What we have been hearing from our venues about contact tracing makes us think that this is going to be the next wave of technology to hit the service industry, similar to the QR code menus.” Barpay, which was founded in 2015, expects contact tracing to see similar adoption as the company’s original services, QR code contactless order + pay and digital menus, which are utilized in more than 8,000 venues nationally. “We launched our QR code menu platform in April and might have been a little early. When we first started pitching it, there were restaurant owners that weren’t interested and really had no idea what a QR code was. Now they are everywhere,” says Wagner. “I think the same thing is going to happen with contact tracing, but not just in the service industry. Basically every brick-and-mortar type business is going to need a way to take down customer information for health purposes.” barpay.com/contact-tracing

Guests scan a QR code at the venue’s entrance then fill out the form.

Once completed, guests show this screen to prove they filled out the form.

Barpay expects contact tracing to be the next wave of technology to hit the service industry, similar to QR code menus. Winter 2021

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FROM ON TAP THE EDITOR 5 Food & Beverage Trends in 2021 Dragon Fruit Melon Margarita Shake 1½ oz. silver tequila, ½ oz. Monin Dragon Fruit Syrup, ½ oz. Monin Watermelon Purée, and 3 oz. fresh agave margarita mix with ice. Strain into serving glass with ice and garnish with melon balls, lemon wheel, and mint sprig.

M

onin Gourmet Flavorings released its 2021 Flavor Trends report. The report includes a look at five emerging trends that will influence food and beverage menus as well as some suggested recipes for each category.

by maximizing efficiency through quality mixes and ingredient simplification, offering nostalgic flavors (butter pecan, root beer, sea salt caramel toffee), and cross-utilizing ingredients across frontof-house and back-of-house operations.

1. Functional First Deriving functionality and boosting their health through food and beverage is becoming second nature for consumers, as seen in the increased “appetite” for clean products, plant-based ingredients, and sugar/milk substitutes. Operators and innovators nationwide are seeking ways to add benefits beyond flavor, thereby blurring the lines of wellness with traditional food and beverage offerings. Give customers what they are searching for through items that satisfy a need state (Immunity Boost, collagen, caffeine), through sugar alternatives, and with flavors that offer a perceived benefit (turmeric, ginger, lavender).

Butterscotch Mocha Frappé Blend 1 oz. Monin Butterscotch Syrup, 1 scoop Monin Mocha Natural Frappé Base, and 5 oz. milk with ice. Pour into serving glass and garnish with chocolate sauce and butterscotch crumbles.

Amped Lemon-Aid Pour ½ oz. Monin Immunity Boost and 6 oz. lemonade into glass with ice. Stir to mix and garnish with a lemon wedge. 2. Strength in Simplification Consumers and operators will focus on utilizing fewer but better ingredients while still delivering an A+ show-stopping experience. Take advantage of this trend 8

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Winter 2021

3. Elevated Experience Providing uniquely tailored, personal experiences to temporarily transport consumers to new and interesting places will separate the ordinary from the extraordinary. Elevated experiences, interactivity, sensory elements, and flavors symbolic of a vacation can help customers optimize their journey on their terms, but still with your brand in hand. When it comes to food and beverage, there will be an even greater focus on what tastes great, what photographs even better, and what is customized for a guest’s interests. Catch the attention of your customers with brightly colored flavors (desert pear, golden turmeric, dragon fruit, blue raspberry), and tastes that transport them to new locations (guava, lychee, Tiki blend).

4. Convenience & Safety Customers want to optimize their time and make their lives easier, all while staying safe. Takeout and delivery has evolved into a core competency required for success. Offering unique beverages, curbside cocktails, and delivery-only special meals should be top of mind. Cocktails on tap, prebatched beverages, and enhanced technology measures will also offer safety, consistency, and speed of service. Look for to-go beverages, pre-ordering, and the use of home deliveries to continue. Premium packaging that turns a weekend meal pickup into a delightful micro-escape will also gain more traction. Simplify beverage execution and increase safety through the use of tea and coffee concentrates, as well as cocktail mixers. Honey Cold Brew Iced Latte Pour 1 oz. Monin Iced Coffee Concentrate, ½ oz. Monin Honey Organic Sweetener, and 6 oz. milk into a glass with ice. Stir and garnish with whipped cream and honey. 5. The Maturity of the Mocktail Many overindulged at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, consumers are reducing their alcohol intake due to a multitude of societal or health factors. The younger generations are moving away from alcohol and gravitating toward more sophisticated and adventurous flavors. Elevate your low/ no ABV offerings by adding layers of flavor without added sweetness (orange spritz, hibiscus, and yuzu). Zero-Proof Orange Spritz Pour 1 oz. Monin Orange Spritz Syrup and 6 oz. club soda into glass with ice. Stir. Garnish with mint sprig and orange peel. monin.com barbizmag.com

Photo: Monin.

Catch the attention of your customers with brightly colored flavors like dragon fruit.


HEALTH & HOSPITALITY

HEALTH & Hospitality

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TOLLS OF COVID-19 How to support hospitality employees.

Photo: Shutterstock/ AlessandroBiascioli.

T

he pandemic came at a time when the food services industry was booming – employment reached an all-time high of 12.3 million in February of 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As stay-at-home orders were enacted in March and April, activities like dining out came to a halt, resulting in an employment reduction of nearly 50%. This abrupt job loss experienced by millions of hospitality employees has led to devastating psychological tolls. My latest research identifies how the well-being of hospitality employees is impacted by three key stressors: Unemployment, pandemicinduced panic, and lack of social support. Enduring Heavy Psychological Tolls Since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitality employees have experienced a low level of well-being. Although the industry unemployment rate has been slowly recovering since spring 2020, the recent spike in cases and restrictions on indoor barbizmag.com

BY DR. CHUN-CHU CHEN dining in many states has left employees feeling uncertain about the future. Unemployment and lack of social support are two primary factors in the increased stress and are often experienced in tandem. Being employed provides a sense of belonging and support from coworkers and peers, which, in turn, helps to mitigate the psychological impacts. Add pandemic-induced panic to the mix, and it’s clear why employees are suffering. They must adapt to new protocols, enforce mask policies, endure wage cuts, and face constant exposure to the virus—all while not knowing if they’ll face a furlough or layoff. Prioritize Mental Health Many hospitality employees—especially female and younger employees—have experienced heightened anxiety and psychological tolls. This can lead to negative mental health impacts. It’s important to get timely help when symptoms like nightmares, anxiety, or recurrent thoughts about the pandemic or unemployment occur.

Employees should speak up about any workplace concerns related to safety or job security. Being re-employed is critical for those who have been laid-off or furloughed. Staying connected with former colleagues for support and employment opportunities is another way to avoid isolation. Transparency from Employers is Key Communication is key during this crisis. Employers must be transparent about the financials of the business and the steps being taken to prevent the risk of infection. Employers should consider furloughs rather than layoffs when workforce reductions are necessary. Lastly, employers should strive to stay connected with laid-off and furloughed employees and provide support if possible. Chun-Chu (Bamboo) Chen is an assistant professor in the Washington State University School of Hospitality Business Management in Vancouver, WA. His research focuses on the consumption of hospitality/tourism experiences and well-being. Winter 2021

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Let’s talk

BEHIND THE BAR: WHISKEY

WHISKEY

The world of whiskey widens. BY ASHLEY BRAY

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W

hiskey—especially American Whiskey—is having a moment, and that moment is expanding to drinkers the spirit has not traditionally reached. “With Off Hours, we’ve definitely seen more women enjoying bourbon,” says Jake Ireland, founder of Off Hours Bourbon, which offers a bourbon distilled in Indiana, aged in American white oak barrels, and bottled at 95 proof. “The market is expanding generally and we’re seeing more people seek it out than just the traditional bourbon drinker.”

In fact, Off Hours has made it its purpose to break down the traditional, stuffy notions of what it means to be a bourbon drinker. “The traditional stereotype for bourbon is not authentic to today’s consumer. Additionally, many of the brands on the market today have backgrounds that stem from fabricated tales and are generally outdated and not relevant to the modern spirit drinker,” says Ireland. “Regardless of background, ethnicity, or what you do for a living or for fun, Off Hours is very much so about who you enjoy it with, the conversations you’re having while on you’re on your own ‘off barbizmag.com

Photo: Off Hours Bourbon.

Salted Fireside


BEHIND THE BAR: WHISKEY hours,’ and how you make that moment in time a lasting one.” The story behind a brand and the image it projects has helped to propel craft whiskey—and craft spirits in general—to the top of consumers’ lists. “Millennials and consumers are looking for whiskies that taste as cool as they look,” says Savage & Cooke, a distillery in Vallejo, California offering four different whiskey expressions all defined by “cool,” off beat labels and branding (The Burning Chair Bourbon, Second Glance American Whiskey, Lip Service Rye, and Bad Sweater Whiskey). “[Consumers] demand high quality and crave a relatable story while looking for a trustworthy product.” Robert Hall, CEO of Ole Smoky Distillery, which boasts four distillery locations and a variety of moonshine and whiskey expressions, believes whiskey fits in perfectly with this growing demand for quality, genuine products. And the numbers show it— according to a recent report by SipSource, four of the fastest growing price tiers are Super and Ultra-Premium priced U.S. Straight Whiskey and Tequila, growing between 11.8 percent and 22.7 percent. “It’s the quality and authenticity of American whiskey—people want it,” says Hall. “And at a time when many people have a few extra dollars in their pocket, but very importantly, want to bring good experiences into their home, quality whiskey is benefitting.” Consumers characterize these at-home “good experiences” by quality and a fun product, which Hall says Ole Smoky has in spades thanks to its wide selection of unique flavors (i.e., Peach, Salty Caramel, Mango Habanero, Peanut Butter, and more). “Flavored whiskies are becoming more popular and more available. Flavored whiskies tend to attract new people into the category,” he says, noting that it’s also easier to make an interesting cocktail with flavored whiskies. Ole Smoky is in an interesting position given it gets so many barbizmag.com

visitors to its four locations—4.5 million visitors in 2019—many of whom participate in tastings. “[Distillery staff] listens very carefully to what consumers say so we get guidance on product quality. Because of this wonderful tool that we have, we’re able to learn and listen from consumers. We’re able to put out the very best quality according to what consumers want,” says Hall. “Not every f lavor works, but fortunately, quite a few do and make it into the regular rotation into our stores by the distilleries. And then we’re able to determine which ones have the broadest appeal, and we can introduce them into the wholesale market.” The boom of at-home cocktail making has also helped to propel the sale of whiskey and other craft spirits, but that doesn’t mean the on-premise is completely left out of the equation. As Ireland explains, at-home craft cocktail kits for delivery have become very popular given that “convenience is key.” Ireland also recommends keeping the cocktails simple and straying away from sugar in favor of fresh, simple ingredients like citrus. Hall says Ole Smoky’s on-premise accounts have had success with the to-go model. “We’ve done quite a few programs with our minis, our 50 ml sizes of both moonshine and whiskey,” he says. “The restaurant can sell the mini along with a cup of ice and a mixer. So the guest can actually make the cocktail at home, but the restaurant gets the benefit of the sale.” Ole Smoky has also had success with its moonshine products in to-go programs thanks to lidded, plastic mason jars (a nod to the moonshine’s mason jar packaging) they give to accounts to put takeout cocktails in. Savage & Cooke sees the future of to-go cocktails continuing to be an important source of revenue, especially as more and more states make strides toward implementing legislation allowing to-go cocktails permanently. In fact, the Distilled Spirits

Salted Fireside 2 oz Off Hours Bourbon 1/4 oz Maple syrup 3 dashes Salted cacao bitters Build in a tin with ice. Stir. Strain into rocks glass. Garnish with cacao nibs. Recipe courtesy of Off Hours Bourbon

Not Your Mama’s Medicine 2 oz Ole Smoky® Straight Bourbon Whiskey 1.5 oz Ginger beer 1 oz Lemon juice 1 Tbsp Honey Fresh blueberries Muddle blueberries in shaker. Add whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. Shake. Pour over ice. Add ginger beer. Garnish with blueberries and lemon wedge. Recipe courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery

Cutting Fire 2 parts Second Glance American Whiskey 2 Muddled Blackberries 1/4 part Amaro 1/4 part Sweet vermouth 1/2 part fresh lemon juice Build in a tall glass over ice, top with citrus soda, and stir. Garnish with one blackberry and lemon twist. Recipe courtesy of Savage & Cooke

Catch Me If You Can 1 ½ parts Lip Service Rye ¼ part Fresh lime juice 2 parts Ginger beer Dash Simple syrup Build over ice in a copper cup. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with blackberry and slice of candied ginger. Recipe courtesy of Savage & Cooke

Winter 2021

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BEHIND THE BAR: WHISKEY Home School. The product is perfect for on-premise use or to-go/delivery programs. “Home School satisfies the need for a high-quality craft cocktail with supreme convenience,” says Savage & Cooke. “Home School is a delicious and authentic blood orange Manhattan featuring a four-year-old Savage & Cooke bourbon blended with house-made vermouth and blood orange bitters.” Ole Smoky Distillery has also gotten into the RTD market with moonshinebased Ole Smoky Canned Cocktails in four flavors. “It’s another consumertested product,” says Hall. “We modeled our ready-to-drink canned cocktail line after the successes we’ve had with cocktails in Nashville.” The brand plans to expand distribution of the canned cocktails this year. Another encouraging note for the future of whiskey in the on-premise market is Savage & Cooke’s launch of a 120-seat eatery and bar sometime in 2021 that will be located in the distillery. The menu will be focused on fried chicken and southern sides that will pair well with whiskey-based cocktails served up at the bar.

Savage & Cooke offers a number of whiskey expressions.

Whiskey Sour 1.5 oz Ole Smoky® Straight Bourbon Whiskey .75 oz Simple Syrup .75 oz Lemon Juice Fresh Lemon Wedge Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries®

Council of the United States recently announced that 13 states have filed bills to extend or make cocktails to-go permanent, and many more are expected to follow. Ireland believes whiskey will have a strong role in to-go cocktails as its popularity continues to grow. “It’s becoming much more acceptable for creative cocktails to be whiskey based, especially with an approachable and inclusive spirit like Off Hours,” he explains. Savage & Cooke also thinks whiskey 12

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has a special role to play in the to-go cocktail market, “Whiskey is very versatile and has a hand in many of the most famous classic cocktails (Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, etc). It also plays in lemonades, smashes, and sours for summertime, therefore making it a go-to spirit for to-go cocktails.” Due to the growing dependence on the to-go model as well as a surge in ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails, Savage & Cooke recently released a fullstrength bottled craft cocktail called

Recipe courtesy of Ole Smoky Distillery

Whiskey Sour barbizmag.com

Photo (l to r): Margaret Pattillo; Ole Smoky Distillery.

Mix well in a glass over ice. Garnish with lemon wedge and cherries.


IT’S TIME...

Thirsty for more? Get updates between issues with our weekly newsletters full of how-to information on marketing and promotions, managing your bar, and the latest trends and technologies. barbizmag.com/newsletter

THE HOW-TO PUBLICATION

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HAPPENINGS March 2021

1

MARCH 1 PEANUT BUTTER LOVER’S DAY You know what goes great with peanut butter? Whiskey. Check out our Behind the Bar column focused on this spirit on page 10.

MARCH 5 EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION DAY Show appreciation for your staff. Find ways to support their mental health, especially in these times, on page 9 in our wellness column.

1

MARCH 1 WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH Honor the female mixologists at your bar or in your local area today by featuring their cocktails on your menu.

Break out the Irish whiskey and toast to the holiday.

MARCH 24 NATIONAL COCKTAIL DAY Feature your staff’s favorites on a special menu today.

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All Photos: Shutterstock.com.

MARCH 17 ST. PATRICK’S DAY


HAPPENINGS

Upcoming

MARCH 20 FIRST DAY OF SPRING

EVENTS

Celebrate the coming of warmer days with refreshing sippers featuring fruit and floral notes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the following information is subject to change. Check trade show sites for the most up-to-date information.

MARCH 2021 MARCH 11 POPCORN LOVER’S DAY Offer a free bowl of this favorite snack to each group that visits today.

ECRM-ON & OFF PREMISES ADULT BEVERAGE PROGRAM March 2-4, 2021 Virtual

ecrm.marketgate.com

APRIL 2021 WSWA CONVENTION

2

April 6-9, 2021 Orlando, Florida

wswaconvention.org

MARCH 2 OLD STUFF DAY

JUNE 2021

This is the perfect day to honor some of the older, lesser known recipes from the annals of cocktail history.

NIGHTCLUB & BAR SHOW June 28-30, 2021 Las Vegas, Nevada ncbshow.com

JULY 2021 INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANT & FOODSERVICE SHOW OF NY MARCH 21 CREDIT CARD REDUCTION DAY

July 18-20, 2021 New York, NY

internationalrestaurantny.org

Review your credit card debt and find ways to pay off what you owe.

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Winter 2021

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HOW TO

HOW TO: INVENTORY

THE IN’S & OUT’S OF INVENTORY

BY ELYSE GLICKMAN

t’s been nearly a year since COVID19 forced bars and restaurants of every genre and price point to change everything overnight— from socially distanced décor to sanitation practices to menu simplification. The silver lining is that the changes can instill best practices that will continue into better times. The same can hold true with how you approach inventory. While you’ve

Pro Tip Reduce the size of your menu, focus on core selections, crossutilize products, and have back-up vendors in place in case of shortages.

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probably had to adapt the ways you select, buy, and store products, there will ultimately be more adjustments you’ll need to plan for that will benefit your bar and bottom line in the long run. “It has been really challenging and honestly, it’s not really possible to maintain cash flow right now,” says Amal Flores, co-owner of Hermanito in Los Angeles. “Luckily, we knew winter would be hard, so we have been budgeting for the past six or seven months for this exact reason. Also, we have been exploring canned and bottled cocktails. We have been bottling our two most popular cocktails, the margarita and the paloma, and we have been getting canned cocktails from our go-to purveyors. This way, we do not need to spend money on a ton of ingredients that might go bad.” Ivan Vasquez, owner of Madre Oaxacan Restaurant & Mezcaleria (also in Los Angeles), stresses management needs to keep track of what they know

they will need beyond wine and spirits (notably, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and canning and bottling supplies for to-go cocktails). He advises to also keep an eye on what various suppliers have available so they can adjust accordingly. “There are so many things we did not need to order before the pandemic,” says Vasquez. “Much has changed for us based on the fact that laws in California and the U.S. are adjusted to allow for to-go cocktails and other streams of income such as our retail offerings. We learned a lot as we had to [rethink] our supply needs to enable us to provide outdoor service at our locations, think up smarter ways to package our drinks, and so on. This is a totally new market, and hopefully the ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and California laws will let us continue with it for another year to give us an opportunity to recover.” barbizmag.com

All Photos: Paola Ohlson, @paosfocus.

I

As supply and demand concerns change, so should the way you approach inventory.


HOW TO: INVENTORY Taking Stock of the Situation “Cash flow is incredibly critical right now,” says Joe English, Sculpture Hospitality regional director for Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas and 26-year industry veteran. “I saw a number of venues with incredible amounts of stock on hand, pre-COVID, whose management would never give a second thought to stocking up to ‘help’ their suppliers. That perspective has changed drastically for most, as many clients are running very lean on stock. Pre-COVID, they looked at their walk-in cooler and thought they were going out of business if their stock was low. Nowadays, they are finding they simply don’t need that much on hand.” English also notices that operators he works with are, “more aware of their checkbooks,” and therefore, “far more reluctant to chase deals that their vendors send their way.” Instead, these operators are choosing to only bring in what they truly need until their next delivery. Sourcing specific spirits, particularly imports, has become a greater challenge as competing bars are scrambling for some of the same things. On the other hand, markets around the U.S. vary based on regional supply and demand. While the Midwest accounts may be out of one thing, accounts in Southern states may have plentiful supplies of the same spirit but be out of something else. “What I see is that accounts with the best vendor relationships fare better than others,” English continues. “While Bar ‘A’ may be out of a particular spirit, Bar ‘B’ maintains stock by one week having a 1.75-liter bottle and, a week later, has several 375ml bottles. When I asked Bar ‘A’ why they didn’t go this route, they simply told me their distributor was out. Being creative is the key to the current supply chain, along with good vendor relations.” A good example of such creativity is Madre, which has a retail adjunct offering rare spirits and packaged gifts that converges well with its reputation for stocking hard-to-find mezcals. Vasquez also acknowledges that having three locations within ten to 15 miles of each other is an advantage that other independently owned restaurants don’t have, especially when it comes to barbizmag.com

managing stock and sourcing important things from within the organization quickly. “We talk every Monday morning and share our sales numbers,” explains Vasquez. “For example, we review why one location sells more reposado tequila while another sells more blanco tequila. We determine which location sells more pre-mixed cocktails, and which one sells more flights or shots served neat when outdoor service is permitted. From there, we will transfer bottles from one location to another where a particular product will sell better. While we did this once a month before the pandemic, we do it weekly to keep a closer eye on each of the

Talk to your suppliers about finding costeffective substitutes when your go-to products run out.

stores to ensure all products we have in stock will move as quickly as possible.” Hermanito’s Flores says guests’ spending habits are different, so they are going back to the basics based on what they know people will eat and drink. This reasoning meant that Hermanito’s drink menu was cut from 10 selections to three bestsellers during the holiday season. Drink specials would not be extended because of the need to order more product and increase labor, as creating something new could be a big risk with the uncertainty of how customers would receive it. Instead, management decided to order canned cocktail supplies and stick to classics such as Negronis and Manhattans. “We’ve reduced products we typically have on hand [as well as] the size of our

menus to accommodate fewer sales and a smaller spending capacity,” says Mark Gray, chief operating officer of Bottleneck Management in Chicago, who added that solvency for his restaurants so far has been accomplished through lines of credit extensions, eliminating all nonessential costs, staffing reductions, and pay decreases. “While we’ve innovated in terms of expanding our off-premise presence, due to our reduced financial resources and team size, we have eliminated many other initiatives. We’re also [dealing with the fact that] online delivery partners are reluctant to do alcohol-to-go, and the number of guests who are opting for offpremise alcohol has not been impactful at our venues. While we think liquor-to-go may be a viable part of our future strategy, it won’t have an immediate effect on how we’re adjusting inventory needs.” Material Issues While PPE and cleaning supplies take up a much larger portion of the operations budget than it did before the pandemic, some owners and managers find themselves stocking up on things that will help move whatever extra spirits, wines, and beers are in inventory. Others are finding that what qualifies as a bestseller has changed as beverage menus get shorter. There are some establishments who stopped ordering things like fresh ingredients and certain top-shelf spirits in favor of others better suited for outdoor dining and take-out business. Bottleneck Management’s Gray, for example, has found that reduction in production at many breweries means getting beer stock for his restaurants and bars can be more challenging than normal with delays or discontinued products. “Reduce the size of your menu and focus on your core selections,” he advises, echoing the approach other restaurants and bars are taking. “Focus on cross-utilization of your products and ensure that you have back-up vendors in place in case of shortages.” English recommends stepping up efforts to check expiration dates, toss any questionable juice or batch mixes, and start from scratch to ensure limited stock will not only cover your modified needs but also make it easier to keep quality Winter 2021

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HOW TO: INVENTORY

Step up efforts to check expiration dates, toss any questionable juice or batch mixes, and start from scratch to ensure limited stock will not only cover your modified needs but also make it easier to keep quality consistent.

consistent. Depending on how long a venue is closed down, he also stresses the necessity of staff retraining and managing their expectations as the COVID-19 situation changes to ensure that the venue can deliver a great guest experience. “It takes a lot of research,” says Flores regarding the ongoing process of shifting what to order or what not to order. He says that if he runs out of a specific liquor that’s the basis for a top-selling cocktail, he will research what would best replace it instead of scrapping the cocktail and creating a new one. Online ordering, meanwhile, allows him and his staff to adjust a given recipe quickly as some stock runs low. He acknowledges that stocking both canned cocktails and the supplies needed to create and package them in-house have helped in the inventory management process. While liquor is generally not challenging to source for Hermanito’s particular needs, Florez has found cans themselves are hard to source as so many places have started doing canned cocktails in-house, prompting him to outsource and buy pre-made cocktails from outside companies. “Packaging has been top of mind,” he adds. “Before, takeout did not really require as much thought. But now we’re asking ourselves, ‘What type of straw do we need?’ or, ‘Should we put our logo on every package that goes out?’ These are questions we never asked ourselves before.” An upside of ordering canned 18

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cocktails from certain suppliers or making and packaging cocktails in-house—even with the challenges of finding good packaging—is that it downsizes inventory needs, according to Florez. “This eliminated about two-thirds of our inventory, which is almost down to the bare minimum,” he says. “However, things are still evolving. During the first shut down, we just used what we had in inventory, as all that mattered was staying alive and getting through it. Early on, we used less expensive bottles of tequila for our margaritas and saved the pricier bottles for flights. However, once we ran through the $9 bottles, we had to start using our $15 bottles rather than replacing the cheaper stuff.” With supply and demand in a constant state of flux, Vasquez suggests staying in touch with the various reps you work with to be in the know on what products are available, finding cost-effective substitutes when your go-to products run out, and getting ideas or recommendations on how to source hard-to-find things or having a couple of different payment options available as things change. Optimizing to-go purchases can also be a great strategy, especially if the restaurant has a strong retail or to-go business that existed before the pandemic. In the case of Madre, Vasquez realized he could leverage the fact that regular customers have long found Madre to be one of L.A.’s best destinations for top-tier and hard-to-find Mexican spirits.

“We’ve had an increase of bottle sales because of take-out orders and the fact that our bar customers see us as a definitive source for rare and artisanal tequilas and mezcals with more unusual selections than your average liquor store,” says Vasquez. “Another key to our success is [tracking social media and traditional media] on a weekly basis to see what’s trending and what people are buying, depending on the season and depending on the economy and this pandemic. “As some of our most popular añejo and reposado tequilas right now are sold out, this is where constant communication with our suppliers becomes really important. They help us track what brands are on trend, and what we need to do to ensure we can fill the demand.” It’s also important to evaluate which spirits and products are not moving so purchases can be discontinued, or what’s leftover can be repurposed. Madre’s staff has come up with appealing ways to move overstock of older, high-quality spirits out from storage and to the customer. “During one of our weekly meetings, we figured out that we could reduce that stock by putting these into tequila and mezcal tasting flights, especially as we now have supplies that allow customers to buy flights to-go,” he says. “In most cases, with overstock, those older spirits are not bad, but they’re probably not moving as there may be a new distillery or spirit brand out there getting people’s attention through social media. New expressions are very hot right now because most of our customers are well educated and actively look for new products and expressions every couple of months to keep up—even during a pandemic.” That said, with almost half of mezcal and tequila production slashed in the spring and summer of 2020 due to the pandemic, Vasquez says extra effort is required to find suitable substitutes whose quality matches up with a spirit that’s no longer available or in short supply. Madre’s management is also finding difficult in sourcing small glass bottles for tasting flights, plastic bottles for to-go cocktails, and boxes and wrapping paper for custom gift boxes. As Vasquez sees it, the goal of these extra investments is “creating a whole experience in the box” to bring people back later. barbizmag.com


HOW TO

HOW TO: BEVWARE

TRANSPORTING TO-GO ORDERS

Photo: Shutterstock/ Oksana Mizina.

To-go changes the bevware and food packaging needs of bars.

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s the pandemic of 2020 continues into the New Year, bars and restaurants continue to grapple with their ability to meet the takeout and outdoor dining needs of their clientele, and this includes the relatively new concept of to-go alcoholic beverages. Gina Buck, beverage director at Concord Hill, a popular Brooklynbased bar and eatery, says that once barbizmag.com

BY MAURA KELLER Concord Hill was allowed to sell alcohol to-go, they saw a massive uptick in delivery for Concord Hill’s signature cocktails. “Initially, we used coffee cups, plus pitcher-sized batches of cocktails served in quart containers. People have loved our Build Your Own Cocktail Kits that offer everything needed to make our cocktails at home,” Buck says. “I have seen mason jars become more trendy during the

pandemic. I think this is the case because the jars elevate the experience and they are also not just single use. They are very convenient and can be used for many things at home. You can also batch drinks ahead of time in mason jars and refrigerate them so they stay fresh. This was very helpful at the height of the cocktails to-go excitement when people were ordering a lot of them.” Ashley Owen, director of end-user Winter 2021

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HOW TO: BEVWARE

marketing at Libbey, says they are seeing the highest demand in takeout beverage containers. “We have a number of beverage jars with lids as well as growlers that have sold quite well. We also had some interest in more sustainable options, like our recyclable flatware, which was a good alternative to plastic,” Owen says. Although slightly more expensive, reusable containers for food and beverages give consumers the peace of mind that they are not damaging the environment and that they can reuse the vessel at home. Owen agrees that the perfect example of that is the simple mason 20

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jar. As Owen explains, mason jars can be used for a wide variety of things at home; crafting, storage, canning, food prep, and even packing food and beverages. “For the operator, a simple mason jar can be used for a wide variety of menu items that go beyond beverages,” Owen says. “Although perfect for craft cocktails, jars can be used for layered salads, soups, noodle dishes, desserts, and are perfect for meal kits to separate the ingredients. There is also something appealing about glass because visually you can see what is in the vessel versus some other plastic containers. Many consumers do not

like the idea of plastics leaching into their foods. There is also research that shows that foods and beverages stay hotter in glass versus plastic.” Other bars are turning to beverage cans that are sealed on the spot to ensure freshness of the to-go product. According to Dennis Grumm, founder, CEO, and lead engineer at Oktober Can Seamers, some of the benefits of using sealed-on-the-spot cans for to-go beverages are their 100% recyclability, customer familiarity, and low cost. They also work with carbonated as well as non-carbonated beverages. “Oktober Seamers offer a low-cost barrier to entry, don’t take up much barbizmag.com

Photo: Libbey.

Mason jars have become a popular to-go option because they can be reused by the customer at home.


Photo: Footprint.

HOW TO: BEVWARE space, and are plug-and-play while looking good behind the bar,” Grumm says. “They have also proven to be super reliable through years of service. The ability to offer to-go beverages during COVID[-19] has been a life saver for a lot of the businesses that we have talked to since March. It has been an opportunity for businesses to pivot from their dine-in only models and offer things like take-out, delivery, or local distribution of their products.” While breweries have been using Oktober Seamers for years, the trend now is in the expansion of what types of beverages are being canned to-go. “With the new rules around the country allowing take-out cocktails, there has been a big jump in demand for cans and can seamers,” Grumm says. “After the initial shock of the early lockdowns, businesses have made time to design creative labels for their cans and specific recipes that lend themselves well to cans. A four-pack of canned margaritas with take-out tacos is an easy sell, for instance. It makes a simple take-out menu item into something more like a signature product specially made for enjoying outside the brick-and-mortar establishment.” Bevware to-go options aside, Jeff Bassett, senior vice president of marketing at Footprint, says that as more people are ordering takeout during the pandemic, they’re seeing food served in plastic. Pre-pandemic, 69% of consumers ordered delivery, but that number has jumped to 88% during the pandemic—with no signs of slowing down. “Customers are then eating out of their plastic to-go containers, and the plastic waste piles up in their trash. That trash then winds up in the environment because only 7% of Americans have access to recycling plastic clamshells,” Bassett says. In 2020, products like Footprint’s plant-based, compostable PFAS-free clamshells, plant-based cutlery, and quick-service bowls were in high demand. “These products can stand up to hot and cold foods, the hand-off to the delivery driver, every U-turn along the barbizmag.com

way, and can even be reheated if needed later,” Bassett says. “Put the same kind of attention to detail into food packaging that you do into the food and drinks you serve. Quality ingredient sourcing and recipe crafting is now an expectation, and that carries through to how a dish or a cocktail is packaged. Customers will notice and appreciate the quality.” As Hamid Charoosaie, vice president of marketing and partner at Drinique,

Put the same kind of attention to detail into food packaging that you do into the food and drinks you serve.

explains, his company is seeing an increased interest from bar customers who are now experiencing a spike in outdoor dining and take-out dining. These bar clients are looking for a quality plastic option that goes beyond single-use products. “Many of these customers may have not looked at unbreakable plastic options before,” Charoosaie says. “Unfortunately, certain markets like California and New York are still not allowing many bars or nightclubs to even operate.” While some bar owners and operators have switched their focus to unbreakable beverageware, they are still looking for innovative styles and also high-quality, unbreakable drinkware that will last—unlike other cheaper plastic options. “We’ve recently seen much more interest in the different color options, especially in our Stemless Colors,” Charoosaie says. “During the pandemic, some customers may feel it’s

easier to cut costs by going to disposable options. Although, as it may be a cheaper cost upfront, it will still cost them much more money in a short period of time over unbreakable plastic drinkware. Customers realize this very quickly once they add up the costs.” And while the pandemic may not last forever, some of the changes in consumer behavior likely will. Owen at Libbey sees that to-go cocktails and other alcohol is here to stay, so Libbey will continue to support and expand their product offerings in this area. “This is a great way to allow offpremise to be a significant revenue stream during and beyond the pandemic,” Owen says. Family-sized meals and meal kits have also gained in popularity, so vessels that hold larger amounts of food (or cocktails) have become important as well as specialized sizes for sauces, condiments, and other meal kit additions. “This trend will absolutely continue after the pandemic,” Owens says. “Beyond the pandemic, I think we’ll see more ingenuity and leveraging items that work harder. “For example, we see some of our stemless wine glasses that have a 17-ounce capacity as something that can be used for all beverages, simplifying what owners and operators need to purchase.”

Products like Footprint’s plant-based, compostable PFAS-free food packaging are in high demand. Winter 2021

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Tuning Up

HOW TO: TUNING UP

HOW TO

HOW BARS WITH GAMES CAN STAY COMPLIANT Is your arcade bar getting the highest score on COVID-19 compliance?

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ars/restaurants have many new guidelines and restrictions to keep in mind in the age of COVID-19, but bars with arcade games and other gaming equipment have even more to consider. So where do you start when trying to implement policies and best

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practices for cleaning gaming equipment, ensuring patrons remain six feet apart, and instilling confidence in your guests about your new safety protocols? “Betson will always recommend starting with your local, state, and CDC guidelines to identify any regional mandates,” says Jerry Battista,

national parts sales manager for Betson Enterprises, a worldwide distributor of arcade and amusement equipment, parts, and service. “In addition, Betson recommends a combination of dividers along with cleaning regiments using different products designed for keeping customers and equipment safe.” barbizmag.com

Photo: Shutterstock/ Atmosphere1.

BY ASHLEY BRAY


HOW TO: TUNING UP

Photo: Betson Enterprises.

Keep your guests informed about your safety procedures.

Cleaning Practices Betson recommends cleaning with CDCrecommended products but warns owners to be sure the products are safe for use on games. “There are many products on the market, but some can damage games on application because they are not designed for use on monitors, decals, or the various levels of plastic used on arcade equipment,” says Battista. To help clients avoid unintentional damage to equipment, Betson has vetted a variety of products and stocks and recommends two: Biocide 100 and Wipex 70% isopropyl wipes. Biocide 100 is a very strong disinfectant, germ, and virus killer that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to the 2019 novel coronavirus on hard, non-porous surfaces. However, when used incorrectly, it has the potential to erode certain surfaces. “This is where Betson is more than a provider of product, we educate our customers on these best practices,” says Battista. “Biocide 100 should be used once in the morning and once at night on all gaming surfaces, focusing on high touch points like buttons, guns, and steering wheels. We also recommend intermittent cleaning with wipes [Wipex or another 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe] in between patron usage.” When cleaning and disinfecting, the CDC recommends wearing a mask and disposable gloves. Be sure to clean your hands as soon as gloves are removed. In addition to the high touch points mentioned above, touchscreens, barbizmag.com

joysticks, game balls and tokens, etc. should also be frequently cleaned. The CDC says to consider putting a wipeable cover on your electronics for easier cleaning. Betson also recommends setting up hands-free hand sanitation stations throughout the building, which it stocks in standard models and models with customizable graphics. Social Distancing Ensuring guests remain at least six feet apart is another important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19— especially in bars with games that people tend to crowd around. Fortunately, Betson has some suggestions for successful social distancing in your bar. “We have provided a Safety Signage Kit, which the majority of our customers have taken advantage of. The kits consist of safety signs, directional arrows, social distancing floor stickers and best practices, along with signage letting customers know the diligence in cleaning and customer service standards,” explains Battista. “We have several kits designed for our customers ranging in size from smaller arcades and bars to large Family Entertainment Centers with the ability to buy individual or supplemental items.” Betson also recommends placing social distancing floor stickers where necessary to indicate where customers are expected to line up. Battista says signage is also a constant protocol reminder for staff and a great way to keep them informed. Frequent team meetings to educate employees on procedures and what is expected also go a long way in ensuring compliance. Bars may also consider instituting time limits on game play to keep traffic flowing, but Battista says there is really no need for limitations such as these. “Patrons naturally evolve in and out of lines for particular games, and if in use, tend to play another game before returning,” explains Battista. “There is no need to limit customer gameplay.” However, limiting entry points into

the establishment is a tactic that will help your guests to maintain social distancing. Consider having one door for entry and another one for exiting. Partitions Arcade bars can be packed with games as owners try to make the most of every square inch. Before you start rearranging or removing games entirely, consider using partitions. “Betson also recommends and offers dividers for those close quarter areas where removing a game just doesn’t make sense,” says Battista. “Instead of losing out on potential revenue, many operators are allowed to have games directly next to each other as long as a divider is present, which varies from state to state.” Get the Word Out In today’s world, things change rapidly, so be sure your customers know what

Many bars are considering bringing in new equipment to attract customers, such as the NGX Curve on Mobile Play jukebox from AMI Entertainment. Winter 2021

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HOW TO: TUNING UP safety protocols you have in place. “Advertise your cleaning procedures on your website, let the customers know what you are doing daily to keep them safe, and let it be visible by action,” suggests Battista. Additional ways to keep customers informed are through social media, email newsletters, signage, and phone calls—especially for guests with group reservations. For guests already in your bar, consider making announcements if you have a PA system, or display procedures on your TVs/digital signage.

One of the best arcade games currently on the market for bars is the new Big Buck Hunter® Reloaded™ Mini online game.

Bringing Back Customers COVID-19 regulations and procedures likely aren’t the only thing on your mind—bringing back guests and boosting your profits are probably major concerns as well. Consider bringing in new games/ equipment to attract customers. For example, Battista says many bars are considering bringing in a new

jukebox such as the NGX Curve on Mobile Play from AMI Entertainment. “With most states with indoor capacity restrictions, we have seen a significant increase in mobile jukebox play of 25% from outdoor dining with speakers outside,” he says, noting that some bars are even bringing their arcade games outdoors. “In some cases where the weather is moderate, locations are putting games outside to attract customers and abide by local restrictions.” Battista says one of the best arcade games currently on the market for bars is the new Big Buck Hunter® Reloaded™ Mini online game. “It’s such a great bar game because you can host tournaments, and the game is a great revenue earner,” explains Battista, who notes that the Big Buck World Championship brings the top players and fans together from all over. “Locations can tap into this network to bring awareness that they have the game.”

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THE HOW-TO PUBLICATION

BAR BUS NESS MAGAZINE

@BARBIZMAG

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barbizmag.com

Photo: Betson Enterprises.

On the go, and even at the beach!


OPERATIONS

TRANSFORMING the Dining EXPERIENCE FOR TAFFER’S TAVERN, THE FUTURE IS NOW.

All Photos: Taffer’s Tavern.

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affer’s Tavern, the new franchise from entrepreneur, hospitality expert, and Bar Rescue host Jon Taffer, officially opened its first location in Alpharetta, Georgia in November 2020. According to Taffer, despite a low-key, “very un-Taffer” grand opening due to COVID-19, the location has been popular and performing at almost twice budget. Taffer attributes the success to the one-two punch of the “kitchen of the future” and “Taffer’s Safe Dining System™.” The opening came after a two-yearplus journey that began back in 2018 when Taffer asked himself, “Can I design the kitchen of the future?” The catalyst for this question was the biggest problem facing the industry at the time—finding staff. “Unemployment was incredibly low. We were facing $15 minimum wages, which in some states, was a 600% raise. Many of the employees barbizmag.com

BY ASHLEY BRAY who were available were new Americans, so there were language barriers. As an industry we were in trouble,” says Taffer. “The casual dining model didn’t work anymore. So [I asked myself,] ‘Can I design the kitchen of the future? Can I actually create a restaurant concept that uses 60% less human resources in the kitchen infusing robotics, computer cooking systems, computer technologies, food technologies? Could I create a really high-quality restaurant in that fashion?’” To answer these questions, Taffer spent two years testing products and working in Cuisine Solutions’ test kitchens, a manufacturer of premium sous vide products. He also partnered with top manufacturers and brands in the industry. On cooking technology, he worked with Middleby Corporation, a manufacturer of commercial kitchen equipment, which owns more than 75 brands (Perfect Fry, Turbochef, etc.). He partnered with stainless steel underbar

equipment and backbar refrigeration manufacturer and supplier Krowne on bar technology. For the transactional technology, Taffer turned to Shift4 Payments, a leader in secure payment processing solutions. And for the accounting, workforce, and back office technology, Taffer chose all-in-one restaurant management software provider Compeat. With his team assembled, Taffer ripped up the plans for a traditional kitchen and started building an all-new concept from the ground up. The result was what he dubs the “kitchen of the future,” which includes no hood, no stove, no raw protein, and sous-vide cooked food. The model operates with 40% less labor and at more than half the costs of a conventional kitchen. “Everything is incredibly high technology out of commissary kitchens that is incredibly well prepared,” says Taffer. “Everything is systemized, Winter 2021

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OPERATIONS

Taffer’s Tavern is designed to exude warmth.

controlled, practiced, monitored, and our quality really speaks for itself.” Not only is the new kitchen model more efficient, it’s also safer, which has proven to be a vital component in the time of COVID-19. “We don’t have raw product, we have less counter space, there’s no contact with food. Our cooking time is four to six minutes. We realized this is the safest operation. We then said let’s take it to the next level and create the Taffer Safe Dining System™,” says Taffer. “Safety obviously is paramount to us. We weren’t comfortable proceeding until we knew we had a safety program that could protect everyone.” The system includes a number of safeguards, including employee temperature checks throughout the day; no personal hats or clothes in the kitchen; and the use of mask, gloves, and other PPE by kitchen staff. A large part of Taffer’s Safe Dining System™ focuses on creating a safer method of serving guests. It starts before the guest is even seated. An employee sanitizes the table and seats 26

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and then places a round disc featuring the Tavern’s logo on the table. The hostess isn’t allowed to seat guests unless that disc is there, indicating that the table has been sanitized. From there, actions and transactions are compartmentalized into three categories. Servers sell the menu and take orders, interact with the table, and remove items from the table, but they do not bring anything to the table. “They’re focused on connecting with the guests,” says Taffer. “All of our interactive dynamics training and connective training is much more powerful because of that compartmentalization.” Food runners only bring clean, sanitary plates, glasses, silverware, and food/drink, and they take nothing away. Lastly, the guest completes transactions (payment, tipping, etc.) through technology or through another separate individual. Technology plays a large role in Taffer’s Safe Dining System™. Taffer’s Tavern partnered with PathSpot Technologies to bring in its hand scanner, which uses

light-based detection to provide real-time feedback on the quality and effectiveness of every hand wash for restaurant staff. The scanner delivers results in less than two seconds via a green or red light. A red light means harmful contaminants are detected, and team members must rewash their hands. Working with Krowne, Taffer’s Tavern installed a nitrous system in the bar area, which is used to treat every piece of glassware before a cocktail is made. “It is slammed with nitrous brought down to such a cold temperature that any viral or bacterial contamination is completely destroyed,” says Taffer. “And that happens right in front of the customer—every glass, every time.” Speaking of cocktails, Taffer turned to Phil Wills, master mixologist from Bar Rescue and co-founder of L.A. beverageconsulting company The Spirits in Motion, to shape the beverage program. The bar menu features a diverse selection of spirits, wines, and beers, many of local and regional provenance. Where the menu really shines, barbizmag.com


OPERATIONS

Cocktails feature visual effects, like the Bubble Squared, which is crowned by a bubble that pops.

The Milk ‘N’ Cookies dessert is a 21+ take on a classic that features a warm cookie trio served with whipped bourbon vanilla bean milk for dipping.

A spread of starters.

Tropical Bliss cocktail.

however, is through its signature cocktails, many of which fans of Bar Rescue will recognize (i.e., The Resurrection). The program employs some of the most advanced mixology techniques to create cocktails with great visual presentation. Effects include smoking wood chips and a cocktail crowned by a bubble that pops when placed on the table. The flight, typically reserved for beer tastings, has been transferred to cocktails, with guests getting the chance to sample four of the most popular cocktails on the menu. “Every cocktail has very high standards of quality, but very high standards of presentation as well. You’ll see no standard glasses, no standard anything. We really wanted to provide what we felt were social media cocktails,” says Taffer, who notes that most of the photos shared online about Taffer’s Tavern pertain to cocktails. “It shows the power of presentation not only for the guest but as a marketing vehicle today. Presentation isn’t in your four walls anymore. If you do a good job, it’s blasted everywhere.” barbizmag.com

For the food menu, Taffer focuses on comforting, mainstream foods featuring staples like burgers, steak, pot roast, fish and chips, roasted chicken, etc. “By doing so, we have a broader demographic footprint,” says Taffer. “Every trend has an end. Classic doesn’t end.” That ode to the classic also feeds into why Taffer chose to use the term “tavern” above all others. “Taverns have an image of warmth, taverns always have food, taverns always have this length of stay—you stay longer in a tavern,” explains Taffer. “We felt that the word ‘tavern’ best fit the experience that we were trying to create of great food, great drinks, and a very warm, cozy experience. I wanted Taffer’s Tavern to be part of the community.” Duncan Miller Ullmann was tasked to design a look for the inaugural location that fit with the warmth Taffer’s Tavern wanted to exude. The location features warm colors, brick, masonry, woodwork, raftered ceilings, and metals without shine. “We also infuse technology all over the place with tablets, a video wall. On one

wall of the restaurant, the entire wall moves down to the floor and becomes a stage. But when the wall goes back in place, you’d never know there’s a stage there,” says Taffer, who explains they wanted the ability to make the stage appear only when they needed it on special nights like New Year’s Eve. “The worst thing a bar can ever have is a stage with nothing on it.” More Taffer’s Taverns will soon open in Georgia, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Boston. And while it’s unrealistic to think every bar/restaurant will be throwing out their stove in favor of a kitchen of the future model, Taffer says the main point to take away is a need for greater systems and procedures in the bar industry. “Sanitation is going to be more evident than it’s ever been before,” says Taffer. “If we don’t have systems to keep people and employees safe, and it hits social media, it’s a different world. There is an accountability online today that holds us all to the fire. The expectation of guests have gone up.” Winter 2021

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KITCHEN FUTURE

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new year may be upon us, but we haven’t left 2020 entirely behind. For one, our industry is still being affected by the pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2021 State of the Restaurant Industry Report, restaurant and foodservice industry sales fell by $240 billion in 2020 from an expected level of $899 billion. As of December 1, more than 110,000 eating and drinking places were closed temporarily, or for good. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the industry also learned some valuable

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lessons in 2020 that we’re going to want to bring into the New Year. Let’s look at some trends that will define the industry in 2021. MIXING THE ON- AND OFF-PREMISE One of the major avenues of survival in pandemic times has been the focus on off-premise channels, including takeout, delivery, curbside pick-up, etc. “63% of restaurant traffic at the beginning of [2020] was off-premises,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president, Research, for the National Restaurant Association. “In the second to third quarter, that moved up to the 80-90% range.”

As vaccines hopefully help to slow and put an end to the pandemic, Riehle expects that off-premise traffic percentage to drop as the on-premise gains back share, but it will be a while before it reverts to a pre-pandemic 63%. Part of the reason for this is that offpremise options were already continuing to grow. In the Association’s 2030 report, which took a look at the industry 10 years from now, the second-highest ranked trend was that off-premise opportunities would continue to drive industry growth. The data supports this claim. The Association’s 2021 Report says 68% of barbizmag.com

Photo: Shutterstock/ David Pereira.

TRACKING the Trends


KITCHEN FUTURE

A LOOK AT WHAT WILL DEFINE THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IN 2021.

brand interaction with consumers in delivery and takeout orders.

BY ASHLEY BRAY

consumers are now more likely to purchase takeout from a restaurant than before the pandemic, and 53% of consumers say takeout and delivery is essential to the way they live. One of the biggest boons of the offpremise model for bars/restaurants has been the ability to sell to-go alcohol and cocktails. “That obviously is one of the most major developments for the restaurant industry regarding alcohol probably since the Prohibition era,” says Riehle, noting that states continue to pass legislation extending or making to-go alcohol permanent. THIRD-PARTY APPS A big part of navigating delivery and to-go for bars/restaurants has been setting up an ordering process, and bars/restaurants must focus on their ability to fulfill a need barbizmag.com

for convenience. This has led many establishments without their own online ordering system to turn to a third-party app like UberEats, DoorDash, etc. The hospitality industry’s relationship with these apps has been mixed. For one, they offer exposure and a platform to reach more guests. On the other hand, the fees add up and can take away from the bottom line of an already struggling bar/restaurant. In its 2030 report, the Association brought up concerns about third-party apps severing the direct connection between bars/restaurants and consumers. The Association recommends that bars/ restaurants use specialized, unique menu items to defend against brand disintermediation. It also says to consider food-delivery packaging, as it becomes an increasingly important touch point for

TECHNOLOGY & DATA As bars/restaurants aim to meet the changing demands of customers, data will become even more important. And as more and more tech-driven applications and equipment are implemented in bars/restaurants, more of this data will become available. “In the end, good business decisions are made on good data,” says Riehle. Riehle sees technology implemented in three ways in bars/restaurants: in the front of the house; prep, kitchen, and management areas handled by the back of the house; and smartphone marketing and loyalty systems. Fortunately, Riehle doesn’t see this advancement in automation and technology replacing the workforce. “In general, when you talk to restaurant operators, the increased usage of technology allows for a reallocation of labor in that operation or at that brickand-mortar location. It generally does not culminate in staff reductions. In the end, restaurants are a hospitality business, so it allows a greater focus on that staff as well as the management to enhancing that customer experience,” says Riehle. “When there’s an extremely labor-intensive industry, such as the restaurant industry, and when technology is applied toward that industry, it really does boost the productivity and efficiency, not only of the industry but of specific operations.” PENT-UP DEMAND A silver lining to all of this is that most consumers are ready to return to bars/ restaurants when they feel safe enough to do so. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2021 report, in late April 2020, 83% of adults said they were not eating on-premises as often as they’d like—a jump from the 45% reported in January 2020. Riehle believes it will be the missing socialization factor that helps to drive consumers back in, “In the end, the consumer likes the restaurant industry, wants to use the restaurant industry, so as incomes and employments pick up, they will definitely step up their re-patronage of the industry.” Winter 2021

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KITCHEN FUTURE

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think human beings have learned a lot from the pandemic,” says James Nicol, CEO of Easybar, a leader in commercial beverage and liquor dispensing equipment, including an advanced beverage dispensing cocktail machine. “I think a lot of lessons that have been learned throughout this last year are probably going to start to be implemented into new concepts so that restaurants can ensure they can continue to be productive and profitable should something drastic happen.” One of the biggest lessons learned has been the need for technology—specifically automation—which Easybar is at the forefront of thanks to its Cocktail Service Station, which allows servers to pour the perfect cocktail in seconds with just one tap on a touchscreen. The ultimate goal of Easybar, and most automation processes in the industry, is to improve the guest experience. “It’s about personalizing the experience to an even deeper level than is being done now. I think that’s what we’re looking at from a technological advancement as the next step for food service,” says Nicol. “And automation has the ability to be repeatable and

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make things perfect every time.” Nicol points out that automation is already happening—especially on the food side. “You see companies perfecting the way a burger is made, perfecting the way a pizza is made. A lot of money is being invested in that side of food service at this time,” he says. “Over the next 5-10 years, we’re going to see a huge influx of automated restaurant concepts and automated delivery services for food. It’s the wave of the future.” Easybar’s cocktail station aims to use automation to increase the speed of service from the service bar. The system can be implemented in any size establishment, but it was especially designed for large-format establishments like casino and stadium bars. “The speed to service is paramount because obviously when you can serve more drinks, you get more revenue,” says Nicol. “And if you can get drinks to customers faster, they’re more apt to order a second one.” Servers simply input a guest’s order into Easybar by choosing the cocktail, and the system pours the drink in three to four seconds. The Cocktail Service Station ties into an establishment’s soda system as well as a large-format liquor well, which is the backroom pumping system—usually housed in the basement or a remote area.

The system can pour up to five liquids at once and handle up to 64 brands. The system also connects with the POS system and rings up the drink. Users also have the option to control draft wine and draft beer through the system. “It’s really a full-service outfit from soda to liquor to wine to beer, and it creates ease of use for the servers, speed to service, and accountability on the backend,” says Nicol. “There’s no overpouring, there’s no underpouring—the drink is perfect every single time.” One of the most common criticisms of automation is that it eliminates jobs and replaces the human element, but Nicol disagrees. He says the majority of clients Easybar has worked with have simply moved employees to other areas of the bar or restaurant. “You have someone already trained in your systems, within your brand, and that’s a valuable employee regardless of what position they’re in,” he says, noting that these employees also have more time to focus on the guest experience. “We are now able to interact with the client more, which thus brings more revenue and probably creates a more loyal client in the long run. It’s not eliminating the human element—it’s just maximizing the time because time is everything.” Criticisms or not, Nicol believes automation will continue to gain ground in the hospitality industry— especially in light of the way the pandemic has changed how guests interact with bars/ restaurants. “I think we’re going to see new avenues open up where this is going to be implemented especially with remote delivery of beverages or pick-up service or different things like that. It’s not someone going to watch a bartender,” he says. “It’s more immediate service, remote service, picking things up at counters, things like that. And this system has a great place for that.” —Ashley Bray

barbizmag.com

Photo: Easybar.

EASYBAR AIMS TO AUTOMATE THE BAR


BAR TOUR

BAR TOUR

On-tap cocktail #7

BY ASHLEY BRAY

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DOUBLE CHICKEN PLEASE

All Photos: Sahid Limon, @mistamoni.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK

A new bar deconstructs and redefines design, cocktails, and the chicken sandwich.

barbizmag.com

N Chan’s years-long dream of opening a brick-and-mortar location for his bar concept, Double Chicken Please, finally became a reality in November 2020. It may be Chan and his co-founder and business partner Faye Chen’s first bar, but they are no strangers to the industry. Chan is a veteran of The World’s 50 Best Bars’ Mace and Angel’s Share and a Bacardi Legacy Global Champion. Chen is an alumna of The World’s 50 Best Bar’s Speak Low (Shanghai) and a Bacardi Legacy China Champion. Chan says all of the accolades have only driven the duo to work harder and keep growing. They also gave them a stubborn determination to make the bar a reality. “Opening Double Chicken Please is a dream come true and the culmination of many years of hard work, experimentation, and persistence that even the pandemic couldn’t stop,” says Chan. “Faye and I are excited to share

our liquid creations with thirsty New Yorkers and eventually, with travelers from near and far.” Double Chicken Please (the name is a nod to Chan and his best friend’s “chickenish” Mandarin nicknames “Chicken Filet” and “Turkey”) started as a mobile pop-up bar when Chan’s original plans to open a brick-andmortar location fell through in 2018. The pop-ups were hosted in a sunny yellow 1977 Volkswagen camper with a bar top made from a repurposed skateboard. The camper took Chan and Chen all around the country and enabled Chan to combine his love for travel and cocktails. In total, the mobile bar logged 10,000 miles across the U.S. and 1,200 cocktails before the concept found a permanent parking space at 115 Allen Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Chan and Chen revived the V W pop-ups (on a smaller scale thanks to COVID-19) at Patisserie Fouet in Greenwich Village and Hunky Dory in Brooklyn to create excitement ahead of the brick-and-mortar’s November Winter 2021

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BAR TOUR

GN Chan and Faye Chen, Co-Founders of Double Chicken Please

The bar has become known for its chicken sandwiches.

On-tap cocktail #5.

2020 grand opening. It’s hard to open a new bar at any time, but especially during a worldwide pandemic, and Chan acknowledges the difficulties of the last few months. “To open during a pandemic is really challenging, but the team tries to focus on our opportunities not the problems we’re having right now,” he says. “We try to utilize this downtime to train people, to come up with new ideas, to do R&D, and to make sure we can constantly produce something new, something fun.” 32

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Although the establishment offers takeout and delivery, the closure of indoor dining in New York City also exacerbated challenges. As of press time, indoor dining is set to reopen in New York City in midFebruary, and when it does, the inside of Double Chicken Please will be big enough to easily seat groups far apart. Chan has also put up dividers to aid in social distancing and installed a ventilation system that meets state requirements. He has also installed industry equivalent air filters in all

HVAC systems. “We are taking this very seriously and doing whatever we can,” says Chan. “We are paying scrupulous attention to hygiene protocols and social distancing to ensure that our team and guests stay safe.” In the midst of all of the COVID-19 regulations, Double Chicken Please is not losing sight of the importance of the guest experience and the environment they attempt to create within the bar. “The spirit of Double Chicken Please barbizmag.com


BAR TOUR

Our hospitality should make people feel like they’re coming to visit us at our home.

is making people laugh and making people happy,” says Chan. “Our hospitality should make people feel like they’re coming to visit us at our home. So everything we do is based on that.” And that includes the design. Double Chicken Please is split into two rooms. The back room’s design gives the impression of walking into someone’s home for a visit. It includes a large kitchen counter and a semiopen kitchen and living room. There is no back bar and no bottles in view—only art, collectibles, and midcentury modern furniture and aesthetics, many of which were made in and shipped from Taiwan. Craft cocktails and pairings are the focus of the menu. The front room is more casual and fast paced. All the drinks are on tap, and snacks and chicken sandwiches are offered up on the food menu. The entire two-room concept pays tribute to a bubble tea shop from the Taiwan neighborhood where Chan grew up. The shop had a design studio in the back, and as a high schooler, Chan would stare into the studio with its colorful Macs and dream about becoming a designer. Chan eventually studied industrial design in school and originally had plans to make Double Chicken Please a design studio before happening into the bar industry. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of design influences to be found on the menu barbizmag.com

and all around the bar. In fact, one of the guiding principles of the bar is the concept of “hacking design,” where cocktails and food are deconstructed, redefined, and rebuilt in a new way. For example, on the back room’s menu, Double Chicken Please deconstructs the idea of the pairing— typically reserved for wine and food— and expands it to cocktails and food. “On the menu, you will see New York Beet Salad paired with a Clover Club,” says Chan. “One is a very popular dish in lots of restaurants in New York, and the other one is a very classic cocktail. When you order it and receive it, the drink is actually inspired by the salad, and the bites that come with the drink are inspired by Clover Club. So you are drinking your food and you are eating your drink.” In the front room, Double Chicken Please offers seven on-tap cocktails identified by numbers and featuring unique, culinary-focused ingredients like seaweed, longan, makrut lime, sea buckthorn, and verjus. “We do some R&D to make sure [the cocktail] fits in the tap system because to make tap drinks it’s a different logic than to make craft cocktails,” says Chan. On-tap cocktail #5 is a twist on a whiskey highball and includes Kavalan Distillery Select Single Malt Taiwanese Whisky, Patrón Citrónge Pineapple Liqueur, oolong tea, honey, longan, and soda. #7 is an ode to a Negroni featuring Bombay Sapphire Gin, Martini Fiero, Martini Bitter, Cheery Heering Liqueur, red bell pepper, and cranberry. Double Chicken Please keeps the cocktails very affordable for the Lower East Side at $12 to $14 thanks to the tap system. “It’s almost like a happy hour everyday,” says Chan. Chef Mark Chou, a veteran of Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, and Blue Hill, helms the culinary program. The menu in the front room includes Asian-inspired bar snacks like Sweet Potato Chips & Dip, which is a blend of crispy orange and purple sweet potatoes and Korean yams seasoned with five-spice & plum salt with an optional salted duck yolk purée sauce.

The establishment has become known for its chicken sandwiches that feature additions like hot honey, thai basil, and salted duck egg yolks. The original plan was to keep the sandwiches super casual, but Chef Chou’s fine dining background ultimately influenced the menu. “So now we actually do everything slightly more finer than we expected,” explains Chan. Another popular item is the fun and unique dessert Le Big Mac Ice Cream Macaron Burger, a “cheeseburger” comprised of an almond macaron (“bun”), housemade chocolate ice cream with mochi (“patty”), sesame sponge cake (“cheese”), and strawberry jelly (“tomato”). Chan says he hopes to continue to innovate and constantly create new things as Double Chicken Please evolves. Above all else, he encourages his team to keep guest service at the front of mind. “The coolest thing in the world is when we are making people happy while we are having fun,” he says.

GN Chan & Faye Chen CO-FOUNDERS OF DOUBLE CHICKEN PLEASE

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N Chan is a 10-year veteran of the industry and winner of the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition. He most recently tended bar at Mace, The World’s 50 Best Bars noted craft cocktail den in Manhattan’s East Village An industrial designer by training and a former street magician, the Taiwan native considers bartending the marriage of both. Faye Chen, a fellow Taiwan native, is a veteran of Shingo Gokan’s Speak Low in Shanghai of The World’s 50 Best Bars acclaim. She is also the winner of the Bacardi Legacy China Cocktail Competition.

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INVENTORY

NON-ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT LAUNCHES FROM SALCOMBE DISTILLING

PHENOMENAL SPIRITS RELEASES NEW WHISKEY AGED IN VINTAGE RUM CASKS

Salcombe Distilling Co. launches New London Light (NLL) in the U.S. NLL is created specifically for health-conscious drinkers and those who are choosing to reduce or change their alcohol intake. NLL is crafted by distilling three botanicals; Macedonian juniper berries, ginger, and habanero capsicum. Fifteen additional botanicals are blended into the base liquid delivering complex layers with hints of citrus orange and sage. Free of sugar and allergens, the 0% ABV spirit is also low in calories and vegan-friendly. NLL is made with all-natural ingredients chosen for their flavor characteristics and complementary health benefits. Juniper, cardamom, ginger, habanero capsicum, orange, sage, cascarilla bark and lemongrass are all loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.

Phenomenal Spirits announces the release of RY3 Whiskey, the craft spirits company’s third ultrapremium spirit introduction in the US in 2020. RY3 is a distinct blend of 3 extraordinary whiskeys, 3 carefully handpicked mash-bills, and 3 distinctive aged statements, which are blended with artisanal distinction to create an unparalleled whiskey. The culmination of this whiskey is finished in vintage rum casks, resulting in a sipping experience of silky-smooth rye with layers of fruity and complex notes from the rum barrels. Phenomenal Spirits is on a steadfast mission to create exceptionally high-quality brands that fill untapped opportunities in the spirits category. To help guide this mission, Sudhir is partnering with Matt Witzig, master distiller and co-founder of Joseph Magnus Bourbon. Witzig is working in concert with Sudhir and his team to build a portfolio of unparalleled brands. Since August 2020, the Phenomenal team has launched Ron Izalco 10 Year and Ron Izalco 15 Year Cask Strength Rums and now, RY3 Whiskey.

New London Light

newlondonlight.com

RY3 Whiskey

ry3whiskey.com

CHEF GORDON RAMSAY GETS INTO THE SELTZER MARKET Hell’s Hard Seltzer

Award-winning chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay’s first line of hard seltzers, Hell’s Seltzer, has launched. Brew Pipeline was tapped to bring this beverage to life in partnership with Global Brews of London. Ramsay created four hard seltzers for the initial launch: Berry Inferno, peach, blueberry, raspberry; Knicker Twist, passionfruit, pineapple, orange; Mean Green, kiwi, lime, mint, pineapple; and That’s Forked, Key Lime, vanilla, graham. Hell’s Seltzer features bold flavors with premium drinkability, and each recipe is inspired by popular menu items from Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurants across the U.S. Hell’s Seltzer is gluten-free and uses all-natural flavors. The 5.5% ABV hard seltzer will be sold in 12-pack variety packs, featuring three of each can. drinkhells.com

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barbizmag.com


INVENTORY

HARPOON BREWERY AND WHISTLEPIG RYE WHISKEY COLLABORATE FOR A SECOND TIME

WOODFORD RESERVE REVEALS 15TH MASTER’S COLLECTION RELEASE

Harpoon Brewery announced a second collaboration with WhistlePig Rye Whiskey with an elevated beer for sophisticated palates: The Bock Hog. Fans of both brands will immediately recognize the play on words, as Harpoon’s Doppelbock, a strong, flavorful, malty lager, is conditioned in Spanish Oak and South American Teakwood barrels that previously housed WhistlePig’s The Boss Hog VII: Magellan’s Atlantic, which was inspired by the first recorded circumnavigation of the globe. With the base notes of the Doppelbock including toasted rye, toffee, rum raisin, and cacao, the Spanish Oak and South American Teakwood barrels add complexity with top notes like holiday spice, roasted nuts, vanilla, and char. Brewed at 9% ABV, this lager will warm you on cold winter nights at home and whisk you away for an exploration of flavors.

Woodford Reserve releases its oldest bourbon yet, Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon, as part of the distillery’s 2020 Master’s Collection. Master Distiller Chris Morris and Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall used very rare barrels of Woodford Reserve to debut a new, modern bottle design. The bourbon includes liquid from barrels that are 17 years old and date to 2003, the year Morris was named Master Distiller.

The Bock Hog

Woodford Reserve Very Fine Rare Bourbon

woodfordreserve.com

Featured

PRODUCT

harpoonbrewery.com

RON ABUELO INTRODUCES ITS NEWEST ADVENTURE IN RUM TO THE U.S. MARKET Ron Abuelo Two Oaks

Ron Abuelo announces that Ron Abuelo XII Años Two Oaks, Selección Especial, its newest aged rum from Panama, is now available in the U.S. market. This unique selection is crafted from a blend of aged (between eight and 40+ years old) rums averaging just over eleven years old. The benchmark rum was first matured in white oak bourbon barrels before being finished for an additional nine months in first fill extra-charred American oak barrels for exceptional smoothness, depth, and nuance. The resulting rum is dark mahogany with a bouquet of light smoke and toasted oak supported by vanilla and nuts. Lightly smoky and velvety in the mouth, Two Oaks has an intense taste of spice, caramel, and roasted coffee beans with hints of coconut that lead to a long and lingering finish. ronabuelopanama.com

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Q&A

with HELLA COCKTAIL CO.

1

Tell us more about Hella Cocktail.

Hella’s all about discovery and sharing experimentation. We’re the kind of people who don’t take ourselves too seriously but take the quality of our products very seriously. We’re all about demystifying how to make a craft cocktail or a non-alc cocktail to your pleasure because it’s all about your own journey, your own experience. Everything we make has a connection to some root whether that’s a bitter root, or the root of our own story and how we came to make these drinks. Sharing is the ethos of our brand.

2

How can your new Bitters & Soda product be used on-premise?

For the on-premise, the best way to utilize it is as a substitute for tonic. We don’t want to go explicitly to war with tonic, but it’s definitely a tastier version of that. Tonic is bitter, it has quinine, but it’s not something you drink alone ever. You usually put it in a highball of some sort. The same thing goes for Bitters & Soda, but you can drink it alone if you want as well, and it’s more tastier and complex. JOMAREE PINKARD, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO

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omaree Pinkard, a native New Yorker, is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce and also earned his MBA from The Wharton School of Business. His career journey has taken him from helping to develop and implement The Salvation Army’s September 11 World Trade Center Recovery Program to consulting for the NFL. In 2011, he became the Co-Founder and CEO of a minority-owned craft cocktail company, Hella Cocktail Co. In almost a decade, Pinkard has helped transform the company into a nationwide tale of success with products now sold all over the country in retailers, bars, restaurants, hotels, and Delta Airlines.

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3

Any recent trends you’ve observed?

One of them is definitely the sober curious/non-alc/mocktail movement. But I don’t think it’s because people just don’t want to drink. I think it’s also because there are other occasions that are happening that are taking up space—like smoking and edibles. I think weed is a big occasion mover and puts you in a certain space. We only really had two occasion-based drinking times—one was breakfast, coffee, orange juice, tea, and then celebrations, cocktails, happy hours. All these products are coming out to solve for these other occasions now that THC has created a new moment. Everyone is trying to vie for their moment, and I think occasion-based imbibing is what’s taking place.

4

poising ourselves for that moment next year, and we jumped forward about a year to optimize all of the platforms from Amazon to our own website to different partnerships.

5

What are you planning for 2021?

2021 for us is all about the nonalcoholic, sparkling aperitif moment and redefining what that looks like with small plates of food and really tying that into aperitif.

6

Advice for bar owners in these turbulent times?

What I’ve seen the best companies do is shrink their offerings into what they’re known for. They really have to get down to brass tacks about their value proposition—especially when there are five bars on a block in New York, or LA, or any big city. What are they known for—really hone into that idea and what their consumer expects out of them.

7

Advice for other minority F&B business owners?

I think a lot of times because our networks are not the traditional network of how you get from A to B in building a brand that people then don’t value their own experience. Valuing our own experience is what makes us unique and powerful in our journey. We don’t tap into it because we don’t think that other people value it. So number one, understanding that your experience to get to the moment you’re in is super valuable, and you should leverage that. My theme for 2021 is normalizing the narrative. My advice is to continue to normalize our narrative so it becomes regular, so it becomes palatable to people that are different than us and therefore becomes mainstream.

How has COVID-19 affected Hella?

It put us in a space where we had to figure out what we were going to do next. What we decided to do was dig in further and use this year as a research and accentuation year. One of the things we were already doing was preparing for the online consumer behavior shift….We were barbizmag.com


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