How to Create a Signature Drink Your Bar is Known For
Building a successful and profitable bar is all about creating a brand story that customers’ buy into. The better your story, the easier it will be to attract new guests and the more likely it will be that existing guests stay loyal to your bar.
There are many ways to build your bar’s brand story, but one of the most effective ways is through your menu. The creation of a signature drink can help your bar stand out from its local competitors.
A signature drink isn’t just a random cocktail that you’ve thrown together to use up old inventory. It’s a drink that when someone brings up in conversation, everyone automatically thinks of your bar.
The creation of a signature drink should be strategic. To do this, you need to use data from your inventory management system to understand what’s driving your bar’s profits, what items are selling and what items you can use to create a drink with a high-profit margin
To help you do just that, Sculpture Hospitality has created this four-step guide to creating the perfect signature cocktail your guests will love.
Step 1: Analyze the spirits that are popular with your guests
While a signature drink can drive new guests through the door, its real aim is to ensure your existing guests remain loyal to your brand. You want to associate your signature drink with your bar, meaning whenever your guests want that drink they come straight through your doors.
To do that, you need to look at past sales data to see what your customers’ most popular spirits are. This will give you a good idea of what your customers’ typically like to drink. For example, if whisky is your best selling spirit, it’s probably not the best idea to make your signature cocktail a mojito.
If your bar is already known for its food, then create a signature drink that pairs well with that. For example, if you're known for your all-day breakfast, then a bloody mary would be a hit and solidify your brand even further.
Step 2: Choose the brand of spirit wisely
Now you’ve chosen what spirit would work best for your cocktail, you need to choose which brand of that spirit you are going to use. You need to think about this one carefully to maximize your profit margins. Your bar inventory management data is crucial here.
We would recommend using a spirit that doesn’t sell well, so you can maximize your profits on your sitting inventory items. There’s no point using spirits that are selling well since you’re already making money off of those. It’s also a good idea to try and use a brand that has a low-profit margin. By changing the makeup of the drink and charging more for the cocktail, you should be able to increase the profit margins you make off each bottle.
Step 3: Create a drink that defines your brand
Now you have your spirit, it’s time to finish creating your cocktail. Choose something that defines your entire brand story. If your bar has Italian heritage then maybe you’ll want to create something along the lines of sangria, while a bar with American roots might want to use bourbon to create a whiskey sour spin-off. Whatever your final cocktail is, it should tie in perfectly to your brand’s story.
Signature cocktails should be simple. Not only does this mean you’ll need few inventory products to create your cocktail, but it also saves huge amounts of time for your bartenders. It’s fine spending time on that one-off cocktail for a customer, but you have to keep in mind that your signature cocktail should hopefully be selling frequently - and your bartenders just don’t have time to keep up with that demand.
Step 4: Give your signature cocktail a name
Last but not least, it’s time to name your cocktail. This is all part of the fun. You will want to give your cocktail a name that stands out, so your customers know that it’s not just “another drink option.” This is just another way that you can use your signature cocktail to play into your bar’s theme and brand story.
Source: Krista Dinsmore, Sculpture Hospitality