How to Stay on Top of the Latest Bar Trends

To be successful in bar or, really, any business, you need to take care of your business today, tomorrow, and years from now. One of the best ways to do this is by staying up on trends in the bar and restaurant businesses.

By watching food and beverage trends across all food service outlets, you can

  • Find great additions to your food and drink menu. Watch what bartenders and mixologists in larger markets are doing for inspiration to create a new cocktail, for example. Read the trade magazines (including Bartender magazine), trade papers, and Internet sites dedicated to cocktails and drink ideas, such as Bartender.com.

  • Consider new categories of food service. If you serve traditional pub grub, maybe you want to try serving some small plates, or tapas, that still match your core menu ideas.

  • Meld your core concept with what’s hot in the industry. You can keep your concept fresh while still keeping your core identity. Look for different fruits that seem popular with patrons (currently yuzu and fruit ciders top the list) and incorporate them into your signature cocktail, for example.

    Tea and vegetable ingredients, such as hot peppers and beet juice, are also really popular at the moment. Consider adding these flavors to new menu offerings that work within your bar’s parameters.

  • Stay ahead of the pack. Get ideas from promotions and marketing ideas that work in other markets, and be the first to bring them to your town.

Ultimately, you’re competing directly with all the other bars in your area. You’re also competing indirectly with local restaurant bars and even carryout liquor stores nearby. So keeping an eye on what’s going on closer to home is essential. You don’t want to copy them and adopt a me-too approach to innovation, but you want to know what they’re up to.

Your liquor sales reps can be a great source of information for you in many respects. They also call on restaurants, so they can help keep you in the know about all the goings-on around town.

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