“Heeeeeeey, Chief!…If you could get me a beer and hold the flair, I’d appreciate it!”
We’ve all met this customer. They’re obnoxious and ungrateful, not only for the hard work and entertainment provided by flair bartenders, but generally they give the same attitude to anyone in the service industry. They’re usually poor tippers and extremely demanding, requiring their needs to be put ahead of anyone else in line.
After witnessing some of these “fine” folks, we wanted to post a blog about the facts behind flair vs. the common perception, or myths flair bartending sometimes receives from this type of customer.
Fact: Flair Bartenders Generate More Sales
Let’s imagine a normal, average bartender, heck we can even say he or she has been serving customers for 10 years…a career bartender. Let’s also imagine a flair bartender, someone who’s been competing or at least honing their skills for the past five years. Now, put each of these bartenders side-by-side in a bar on the busiest night of the week. The majority of those nights the flair bartender will have high sales.
Flair bartenders entertain while they’re working, unlike an average bartender who is concentrating closely on volume and getting the next order. Because of this, a flair bartender will likely up-sell each customer with their “tricks” and “entertainment” value, thus creating a higher average ticket per customer.
Myth: Flair Bartenders Take Longer to Serve Drinks
It may seem like the guy behind the bar is wasting time by flipping a bottle into a pour, or juggling three different objects. However, because flair bartenders multi-task more than your average bartender, they’re able to do the same amount of work in a fraction of the time. Therefore, drinks are actually served faster.
It’s just as easy for a flair bartender to pour one shot as it is for him to pour 10 because they utilize techniques like a waterfall pour, for example. This is a trick where multiple tins are stacked inside each other, each with the proper shot, and poured into aligned glasses all at once. This gives flair bartenders an advantage in the amount of product they can sell without the extra physical effort.
Fact: Flair Bartenders Make More Tips
There’s a significant difference in the total amount of tips pulled when a flair bartender is working. When a flair bartender gets a crowd going with his/her show and talents, money tends to flow more readily. Most customers are appreciative of the added entertainment and this is why flair bartending generally elicits higher tips. This is especially beneficial for those bars/restaurants that tip share, or pool tips. Employees will notice when a flair bartender is working and when one isn’t.
Myth: Flair Drives Impatient Customers Away
Even with the small number of complainers, flair bartending does just the opposite: Flair creates customer loyalty. You’re always going to have customers who complain or are rude to the staff. You’re not always going to have a competitive advantage against other bars in your area. How is your bar different from theirs? You both serve alcohol and you both might serve food. What makes a customer come to your bar and not spend their money at the place down the street? You must find a unique offering that gives customers a reason to come back.
This is where flair comes in. Because flair bartending is so interactive and performance-driven, customers tend to bond with flair bartenders quickly. They want to come back and see what new moves or performance they’re going to receive. The overall energy in the bar is also at a much higher level. This again, encourages sales, but it also draws crowds. In addition, flair bartenders can curb the impatience level in a busy bar by giving customers something to watch while they wait. This results in happier, more agreeable customers for all.
Fact: Flair Bartenders Are More Accurate
Because flair bartenders constantly practice pouring techniques, test for accuracy and hone their skills at competitions, they naturally go above and beyond your average bartender. Flair bartenders make sure that what is being served is what’s actually being collected in sales. Our post on pouring goes into great detail of how much money is at stake if your bartenders aren’t accurate.
Hopefully this sheds more light on the benefits behind flair bartending. If not, drop us a line, we’re interested in hearing your thoughts and perceptions about flair…good, bad or indifferent.
We’ll end this week’s post with the 2009 Flair Club Trailer. Special thanks to the International Bartender Center for providing the footage.
Filed under: About Flair Bartending, Bar Owners & Managers Tagged: | Efficient Bartenders, flair bartending, flair bartending facts, flair bartending myths, Flair Club, International Bartender Center, waterfall pour