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Bar Layout and Efficiency

You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and there are two important aspects that help new bars build a good reputation – a quality menu and a well-planned layout that reflects the bar’s character.
Timo Janse, Owner at Flying Dutchman Cocktails, one of Time Out’s top ten bars in Amsterdam, shares his top tips to help bar owners manage their layout and create an atmosphere that will have guests returning.

Space Considerations

Enthusiastic mixologists preparing to open a bar often dive straight into creating their signature menu, however, few consider the impact of poor bar layout planning.

Creating a space that compliments the menu is important, as the layout of your establishment is the physical representation of the atmosphere you are trying to create.

“Anything visible to your guests needs to be aesthetically pleasing, it’s all about showcasing what you can sell and what your bar represents.” Timo Janse, Owner at Flying Dutchman Cocktails and Hoshizaki ambassador.

The layout behind the bar needs to be highly organized to maximize all the space available, as Timo says “every mm counts” and behind the bar at The Flying Dutchman Cocktails “every item on the menu is available within one step.”

Timo lists how each section behind his bar serves a functional purpose. The Flying Dutchman Cocktails back bar consists of “two large stations, a large insulated ice chest, two dividers, a rail of standardized baskets for garnishes and made to measure stainless steel buckets to maximize space and avoid pests.”

Timo continues explaining the pragmatic layout for the Flying Dutchman Cocktails features a “split washup station, one with a sieve to separate liquids from solids, and one for rinsing. A dedicated hot tap for cleaning and dissolving old ice and split tap with a cleaning cross for jiggers and shakers.”

All eyes on the bar

Effectively managing the floor space is critical for the flow of your bar. Timo continues describing The Flying Dutchman Cocktails saying “the entire bar is on a stage to give bartenders an elevated view of guests and everything is at an optimal height (86cm) and distance (50cm). The bar is a stage for entertaining and engaging with guests. Everything off-stage needs to be efficient and readily available. To maximise efficiency, bar owners need to define what is on stage and what is off stage and use those defined boundaries to shape the layout of their bar.”

Short ways for ice

Timo says “ice is the lifeline of a bar. You can survive without electricity, plumbing or heating for a night, but no ice for a night and service pretty much stops”.

Timo highlights “bar owners need to consider the size of their bar and the maximum amount of drinks they can serve in a two hour period – this number will tell them what size ice machine they will need.”

Timo continues saying “bar owners need to position their ice machine somewhere with easy access so service is not delayed.”

Other considerations Timo suggests bar owners incorporate into their decision-making process include, “the noise of the ice machine, will guests be able to hear it from its position? Will the ice machine have enough ventilation? The availability of power outlets and if there is access to a filtered water tap?”

Once you’ve considered all these factors you can search for an ice machine that meets all your criteria.

Every bar needs a reliable ice machine and identifying what requirements you’ll need will help create efficiency behind the bar.

Practical tools every bar should have

Keeping the customer in mind, bar owners need to consider the complimentary services and comforts customers have grown accustomed to, such as strategically placed USB charging points. Small details that put the customer experience at the forefront will ultimately help the bar succeed.

Managing a bar can be challenging if you are not equipped with the right tools. In addition to having a reliable ice machine that won’t breakdown mid-service, there are other technologies, tools and gadgets that can help keep service running smoothly and help maximise space.

A compact pedal bin is ideal for smaller spaces and great for hygiene as they don’t require hands to be opened.

Vacuum bottle stoppers are also a handy gadget as they create airtight seals on open bottles that allow them to be stacked horizontally saving space.

Automatic beer dispensers that can pour drinks to specific measurements are becoming more popular as they allow bartenders to focus on customer service, interacting with guests and making drinks that require attention to details and multiple ingredients.

These automatic beer dispensers are compact and remove the need to have multiple beer taps along the bar creating more space.

To find the perfect ice machine or dispenser for your bar, visit the contact us page to connect with a regional consultant and learn more about Hoshizaki’s range of ice machines and time-saving technologies.