Build a Better Bar

Rate This Insight

The best part about traveling for business is the ability to see all sorts of fun things in the name of research. The worst part about visiting an ever-changing assortment of restaurants and bars is a failed customer experience that could have been saved with slight adjustments to design.

While we won’t hand out our list of favorite bars, we are willing to share various ways that restaurants, drinking establishments, architects, and construction firms are currently applying these ideas into inspired design. There’s something here for everyone – from independents and fine dining to fast casual concepts and restaurant chains.

Here are top six tips for building a better bar:

  1. Before adding small plates to your menu to increase the average ticket, think about investing in stools with a back so your patrons will be more inclined to stay longer. It’s a small investment that pays off by encouraging patrons to linger. 
  2. Give ladies a spot for their handbags. Purse hooks concealed under a bar help to fill your bar, because women won’t use an extra seat. And, in crowded spaces or captive venues, your customers will feel safer in your establishment knowing that their belongings are near.
  3. U-shaped bars will make your bartenders life easier and make for happier guests. From a central point in the U, your staff can hold court while serving multiple customers in a smaller space. Long bars, while less costly to build, require more employees to cover a similar number of patrons.
  4. Forgo the clunky Point of Sale station and equip your staff with technology. The iPad and various other tablets can integrate with your current software. If they don’t, consider an upgrade. Digital dining helps to streamline operations, expedite service, and might save you money by eliminating licensing fees or hidden costs.  
  5. If you are going to have dim lighting as part of the atmosphere, consider printing your menu with streamlined sans serif font. And limit your use of fonts on any menu to two (which should never include Herculanum, Papyrus or Lucida Handwriting).
  6. Add power before jumping on the latest trend that’s targeting Millennials. This generation – and others with money to spend – wants to plug-in (literally). Installing power sockets is a better investment for keeping patrons coming back again. It will likely drive your social media engagement, too.