3 Springtime Drinks That Bring Crowds

Springtime is here, and that means that your guests’ drinking tastes have changed to reflect the warmer weather. In the springtime, your customers are clamoring for lighter, fruitier drinks that they can sip while lounging on your newly opened patio. These warm-weather drinks are the kind that inspire your customers to sit for hours in small, informal gatherings and laugh at the college students who walk by in flip-flops, shorts, mini-skirts… and goose bumps. To help you select your new featured drinks for your digital wine menu, I’ve compiled a list of what springtime drinks your customers are wanting right now. Read more

10 Ways to Pack Those Bar Stools Right Now

Oh no! You’ve hit the slow season for bars! You’ve celebrated New Years, Valentine’s Day, Restaurant Week, Mardi Gras, and St. Patrick’s Day… but now you have to wait until Cinco de Mayo before another big drinking holiday happens. Here are 10 ways to get some butts in those bar stools of yours, even when it’s not a traditional drinking holiday. Read more

Mezcal and Tequila Tips for Bars and Restaurants

To a tequila novice, the strong, agave-derived liquor (sometimes maligned by the nickname “to kill ya”) may stir up connotations of summer evenings made cooler by salt-rimmed margaritas served on ice (or even images of their frozen, slushy counterpart, churned into a glass with a slice of lime). Certainly, yes, this is one good use for the distinct, flavorful liquor – at least for the less aged variety that carries a sting of flavor many can only tolerate with salt and lime. For that matter, tequila’s smokey relative, mezcal, is starting to make the rounds in cocktails these days, too, with varying degrees of success. However, the truth is that a truly good tequila or mezcal is a soothing liquor that warms the body and is perfect – when unadorned by mixers or garnishes – for sipping slowly on a cold winter’s night, in much the same way one might nurse a fine Scotch.

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Vodka to the Rescue: Back to Basics

How can you help when a patron wants to order a drink but isn’t sure what to get? Customers who like beer or wine may sometimes be in the mood for something new (or just be open for a pairing suggestion), but what about when the patron isn’t a beer or wine drinker and is just in the mood for some kind of cocktail? Face it: most liquors are very much an acquired taste – with their own, unique flavor that not everyone might appreciate. (Just ask anyone who’s ever had a bad night associated with tequila or whisky; they’ll never forget the distinct flavor). Wouldn’t it be nice if there were such a thing as a basic, unflavored alcohol that you could mix with almost anything to suit whatever mood your patron was in?

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Does Your Bar Sound Successful?

When people think about their small businesses, they usually talk about the “taste” of success, the “feel” of success, and the “look” of success, but they forget all about the sound of success. When guests come into your bar or restaurant, they decide if they like your business within 10 seconds—and that decision usually happens much faster. You already know that your guests are making snap decisions based on the décor, or the smell of the place, but one thing that also helps your customers decide whether they’ll stay or leave is the soundtrack. Here’s how to fix a few blunders your bar may be making. Read more

The Secret to a Great Martini? Good Communication

Close your eyes and picture the perfect martini. Got it? Okay. What does it look like? Is it crystal clear, awaiting that first sip from within its classic inverted triangle of an “up” glass, garnished with a twist?

No? Well, then, is it in a stout “rocks” glass packed with ice? Are there olives? If so, how many? What does it taste like? Vermouth? Gin? What kind of gin? Or does it taste like vodka? Or does it essentially just taste like the Arctic? Is it “shaken, not stirred”? Or does the mere question fill you with rage? Read more

3 Easy Bar Menu Changes to Make More Money

Last Sunday, I went to a local, neighborhood bar, the Grafton Pub in Lincoln Square with friends. It was definitely one of those, “Hmmm, I’m bored and it’s the middle of the day” decisions, and I was hungry. I would have ordered some food, but I hadn’t ever been to this bar (which was really laid back and had a great waitstaff, by the way). My friends, who are regulars at the Grafton looked at the bar menu, complained that their favorite burger had been taken off the menu, and said “Wow, they really raised the prices on this food.” Then they snapped their shared menu shut and ordered a single beer and a single cider.

After that comment, I somehow didn’t feel inspired to order any food either.

Do you ever wonder why your regulars don’t order food anymore? Have you noticed that your bar menu just keeps getting less and less popular? It might be that your bar regulars are the type of people who want a nice side of whiskey with their, er, whiskey, or it might be that your bar menu needs to be updated. Here are some ideas to get your regulars ordering food again. Grafton, listen up. Read more

Why Google Hates Your Bar

People who are looking for a cool bar to go to usually look on Google. This is why it’s so important to show up within the first few pages (preferably the first page) of a Google search.

Some bars succeed on Google, and some fail, and if you’re reading this post, I have the feeling that yours is failing. I’m here with some good news for you though, your bar doesn’t have to fail. There’s one proven trick that works every time, just so long as you deliver on it… Read more

Wine Dispensers (And Other Wine Preservation Dilemmas)

There’s a joke that generally goes something like this: “Someone told me I could make ice cubes from leftover wine. I’m confused…what’s leftover wine?” Of course, if you’re a bar or restaurant owner, you may not be laughing, as you know that having just the right amount and variety of wine for your clientele can be pretty tricky. You don’t want to run out of what patrons want, but you also don’t want to be stuck with inventory that’s not moving fast enough – especially once the bottle has been opened. You could steer away from offering wines by the glass, but will you alienate patrons who aren’t willing to order a whole bottle? As discussed previously here, a partial solution can be to offer specific pairings or wine flights to help move your inventory according to your needs.

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wine stories uncorkd

What’s the Story of Your Wine?

When your customers decide to buy a bottle of your wine, they are, in essence, gambling. They put their money on the table with the belief that the wine they’re ordering will be great. Sometimes, your customers are amazed by the wine they place their bet on, sometimes they think it’s okay, and sometimes they make the wrong choice and they flat-out hate it. When that happens, they’ll never come back to your restaurant again, no matter how good your food is.

Because wine has become such an intimidating drink, and because so many of your customers are too nervous to make such an expensive bet, you aren’t selling as much wine as you’d like. How can you fix this? You can make your wine relatable to your customers by sharing each bottle’s story. Read more