On-Premise Insights from ‘Bar Rescue’ Mixologist Lisamarie Joyce 11/2/2018
At this year’s On-Premise Adult Beverage EPPS we had the privilege of having bar expert Lisamarie Joyce from LMJ Consulting – many of you know her from her role as one of the mixologists in the TV series Bar Rescue – present some tips on how to provide great service from behind the bar. (A quick thanks to our friends at Bar Business magazine for bringing her in!).
In her consulting role, Joyce does one-on-one engagement consulting for brands on how to be successful in the bar industry. She’s been bartending since she was 15 and works with all types of clients from chains with hundreds of locations to mom-and-pop operations, dive bars, and everything in between.
One of the things she’s most passionate about is focusing on the newer, level one bartenders. “A lot of times in our industry people forget their level one bartenders,” she says. “We’re not all high-end mixologists; most of us are level one bartenders, and to teach those bartenders there has to be a ‘why’ for everything they do.”
Consistency -- both with the bar’s cocktails and with customer engagement -- is one of the most important drivers of return guests, according to Joyce. This includes not only consistency from one bartender to another, but also from one location to another. To ensure this consistency, she says it’s more important to focus on the procedure behind the bar and what you do while making the cocktail, than just focusing on the recipe. She also notes that if done right, a bartender's performance can be just as engaging as drinking the cocktail itself. “It shouldn't matter who the bartender is,” she says. “The guests should know what to expect when they walk in the door.”
Fresh is one of the top trends Joyce sees among on-premise guests. “People want really fresh cocktails,” she says. “They are getting away from the prepackaged things and syrupy things, and want to know what they're putting in their bodies,” she says. “They want to drink but they want to feel a little healthy about it, so using fresh fruits and vegetables and really guiding your cocktails to fresh or more health-focused, people are going to drink more.
“However, the industry also wants things to be easy, so we're seeing a lot of cold-pressed juices, a lot of fresh syrups coming out, and most importantly the cocktails are getting more simple, which I think is better because they get to the guests quicker. Because of this, operators are kind of inching away from the 18-step cocktail to a three- or four-step cocktail that's just as delicious.”
When Joyce is looking for new products to include in menus she is developing, there are a two key criteria these products must meet. First, and most importantly, the supplier’s products must be delicious and relevant to the demographic she is looking to target, as well as the concept she is working on. Second, the supplier must be easy to work with, easy to reach, and accessible to provide items like testing products.
“I want to make have a close relationship so you can grow with the brand as well, so the relationship with the suppliers is important,” says Joyce. “A lot of times you get in with someone's product and either they can't fulfill your order or they can't get the product to your locations or it doesn't stay fresh long enough. The more you can give us, the more we're going to sell.”
ECRM Q&A with Lisamarie Joyce
Overall, the most important thing for the on-premise industry is the hospitality you provide; how you make your guests feel, says Joyce. “Being passionate about a product and really describing it with feeling, it gets you sold almost every time."
Editor's note: On-premise operators can reach Lisamarie Joyce at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisamarie Joyce on the importance of "the shake"
Maintaining eye contact while prepping cocktails