Here at Nebula, we believe that you don’t go to the bar that you know best, you go to the bar that knows you best.
This welcoming, positive and sincere attitude informs everything we do.
Look at the above picture. What do you see? The Mona Lisa? A painting? A lady? All?
What you don’t see is a plethora of individual brushstrokes, each one, on its own, is seemingly insignificant, unrecognisable and dull. However, they all come together to create something greater than the sum of their parts. This insight is how we approach every decision, every action we undertake. Keeping our stations and sections spotless may not seem necessary, greeting every guest immediately on entry or aligning the furniture in straight lines may not seem important actions, but together they create the most wonderful experience for our guests. If we do it correctly, our guests won’t notice the brush strokes, only the result. Remember, good work is obvious, great work is invisible.
The Guest Woo
The Guest Woo is a positive approach and attitude to all persons connected with our way of life, be it guests, suppliers, repair men, neighbours or anybody else you may come into contact with whilst working behind a bar. It is sincere, caring, helpful and fun. Smile and the whole world smiles with you!
In order to master this, here are some simple thoughts to keep in mind:
Like swans, we want to appear graceful and beautiful, elegantly gliding across the surface of the water, when in fact underneath and out of sight, our legs are working vigourously. Therefore in the bar it is important to always maintain a level of coolness, to appear at ease and smiling even when the going gets tough. We can work hard and make it look easy.
Taking a sense of ownership over our place of work means that there will often be small jobs that need doing but that should go without saying. There is a tacit agreement in place that ensures that the completion of any number of tasks goes without saying.
Sweep behind the Door
There will be occasions when perhaps you can get away with doing the bare minimum. Be aware that your guests will always tell the difference and spot the cut corners even if sometimes the management do not. Remember why you are sweeping!
Learn to Drain the Swamp
Don’t spend your time slaying alligators, and seeking praise for every dangerous or pesky alligator slain. Instead, find a way to drain the swamp and deal with the bigger issues, not pruning a dying bush to make it look pretty.
When a guest is in our venue, then our venue becomes their world. It is important to ensure that all aspects of their world is maintained, including lighting, temperature, music volume etc.
A large percentage of guests will not know what to order arriving. It is therefore important to treat the bar as a shop window and to make the entire bar as appealing and as enticing as possible. Remember, you taste with your eyes first.
Mix and match
Although holding a strong product knowledge will help you to guide a guest’s choices, should they wish to tailor any drink then we should be more than happy to oblige.
If you and I were to stand either side of a multi-coloured stripy beach ball, and I asked you what colour it was, you may tell me it was orange, red and green. But from where I am standing it is yellow, purple and white. Always remember that situations will look different depending on a person’s viewpoint.
Imagine a cake that was cut into three pieces. Each of these pieces belongs to the guest, the team and the bar respectively. There is only so much cake, so if the team wants a larger piece, then either the bar or the guest must get a smaller piece. If the guest gets a larger piece, then either the bar or the team must get a small piece and so on. The same works in relation to drinks and money exchange.
The Failure of Success
Success can only be achieved through the journey of improvement. As soon as you think ‘we’ve made it’ you will fail. If you think you are the best you can be you will fail. Only through constant improvement can we constantly succeed. Stagnant water can kill. Think about it.
The Enforcer vs the Solver
Problems arise. That’s a given. How we react, is less concrete. We have ways and means of doing things, and it can be tempting to act as the enforcer to correct the problem. This results in punishment and negativity. A solver however, seeks to fix why the problem happened in the first place. A solver is sought out when a problem arises, whereas the enforcer is to be avoided. Be the solver, not the enforcer.
- Guest Awareness
- Product Knowledge
Make eye contact as soon as the guest enters the bar, even if the bar is two or three deep. All guests should be greeted immediately. This does not necessarily entail taking their order, during busy periods eye contact and a smile will suffice. Say hello whenever possible, and if you are very busy inform the guest that you will be with them momentarily. Nothing is more important than letting the guest know that you are aware of their needs.
Try to evaluate the guest, e.g. a group of guests in suits may well be on a business lunch or meeting and may expect you to behave more professionally than a group of girls dressed up for a night out. From this early assumption you can decide how to guide your guest on their journey. The business man in the suit may appreciate being offered a finer Scotch or wine and will take their time to make an informed decision, whereas the girls are likely to be more responsive to chat and cocktails, not on the ‘quality’ of premium vodka. Use your head to make an informed assumption, but be versatile and do not risk offending the guest. Be all things to all guests.
Strong product knowledge is your most valuable asset, it allows you to offer a wide range of flavours and combinations to the guest thus enhancing the interaction and their experience. Good product knowledge allows you to create bespoke drinks on demand and make the guest feel special.
Two thirds of people will come to the bar without having decided upon their drink. Salesmanship is not about making more money for the company. Salesmanship is providing the guest good value for money and enhancing their experience. This is only achievable through good product knowledge. Don’t forget, we are not here to extract as much money as possible from our guests, but to make them enjoy themselves and come back again and again. A guest that come once a week for a year and spends £20 is more valuable than a customer that only comes once and spends £200.
The art of a good cocktail makes for good theatre. Our guests enjoy watching you creating their drink. Embrace it. Entertain your guests like a good host.
In order to truly understand presentation, try to put yourself in the guest’s shoes. Imagine what it is they can see. They come to the bar with the intention of making a decision and we want to help them make the right one. Therefore the presentation of the bar is equally as important as the presentation of the staff and the presentation of the drink. The initial greeting is where the presentation begins, continuing through the making of the drink (showmanship) and into the delivery. The garnish is very important. This does not mean that the bigger the garnish, the better, but you must ensure all garnishes are executed to spec, and drinks served in the correct glassware at all times.
Given that we pride ourselves on tailoring each cocktail to the needs of our guests, we must ensure that we have hit out target. There are many guests who would rather sit quietly over an average drink and be content with their experience, whereas we aspire to ensure that all of our guests thoroughly enjoy their time in your venue. It is therefore essential to ask every guest sat in the bar if the drink is to their liking. The information they give will enable you to guide them even more accurately on their journey.
The farewell will leave a lasting impression on the guest and ensure they leave with a smile. It is important that the farewell is personal and sincere, encouraging the guest to return again and again
68: Back in stock
75: Small Worlds
86:Out of stock
200: New Guest Needs Attention
300: Existing Guest Needs Attention
450: Stop and follow me (immediately!)
601: Bathroom (Quick)
602: Bathroom (Slow)
666: Cigarette Break
800: Call Security
900: Drinks ready
1000: WTF is this Guest’s Name?
Backs: Walking behind someone
The world’s best guest: Mr X arrives and sits a table that turns out to be reserved but nobody remembered to put a reserved sign out. But that’s OK, he says, he doesn’t mind moving and moves to another table.
The bartender/waiter is busy and doesn’t come to take his order or give him some water for a long time, but that’s fine, he doesn’t complain.
He orders his drink only to be told after a few minutes that the item he has requested is out of stock. Not to worry, he orders something else.
But the bartender is swamped and his drink takes a while to arrive. Still not a word of complaint.
Even when his food arrives and they are cold, he eats and does not complain.
When he is finished he wants to pay his bill but the waiter is on a break having a cigarette so he has to wait for them to return. Not a problem. Mr X pays and leaves without a word of complaint.
Mr X is the guest that never complains.
Mr X is the guest that never comes back.
Complaints are an opportunity to interact with our guests and gain an insight into their experience. It is important for us to know how are guests are enjoying their visits and to become aware of anything that has gone awry. Do not view complaints with contempt, but as an opportunity to improve.
As we buy in so much of our produce, and we work with third party vendors, we cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that anything is free of any particular allergen. If in doubt – don’t take the risk.
There is an allergen matrix in the Back of House area