Management Tools: Bar Bible
The bar bible should exist behind every bar in the world, and in those where it does it is the manager’s silent partner, keeping everything and everyone in check. As a tool for the bartenders it is an indispensable quick reference guide for everything to do with your bar, your drinks, and more. For management the bar bible provides the peace of mind that the drink being passed over their bar that afternoon is the same as the one made last night by an entirely different bartender. In order to maximize its usefulness, maintain order, cleanliness and to keep consistent cocktail standard your bar bible should contain the following things.
Craft Cocktail Recipes
Yes your bartenders should know these by heart but no one is perfect and there maybe a cocktail or two that is rarely ordered where an ingredient or quantity slips the bartender’s mind. With the recipes in your bar bible there is really no excuse for drinks to be made incorrectly. Also, if it is exceptionally busy one day and someone needs to jump back there to help the bartender then the bar bible becomes an essential tool to ensure that their drinks are the same as those being made every day by your bartenders.
If you’re not making your own bloody mary mixes then you should be, made-in- house is all the rage at the moment. Recipes for this, barrel aged cocktails, syrups, cold brew coffee, or anything else you might make behind your bar should be kept in your bar bible so they’re easily accessible and everyone always knows where they are when they need them.
Standard Cocktail Recipes
What’re the ratios you use for your martinis and manhattans? How do you make your cosmopolitans? And are all of your bartenders making them the same way? Having a list of standard recipes for classic cocktails means that someone who loved your cosmopolitain one night can come back and get exactly the same drink except from a different bartender.
Many bars now also have an extensive list of cocktails in their bar bible as a reference guide for when a customer asks for an obscure cocktail for which the bartender might not know all the ingredients or ratios. Having such recipes in there will stop your bartender from pulling out their smart phone behind the bar and researching it on the internet. It looks so much better when they’re looking in a book and not at their phone.
To ensure your bar stays in tip top condition it has to be cleaned every night and deep cleaned regularly. To make sure that no one misses anything, and that the deep cleaning is getting done, you can create opening and closing lists, as well as a weekly deep cleaning list, and have your employees sign off after completing each task. These sheets are a de facto way of monitoring your bar employees without having to be permanently looking over their shoulder. It has been studied and the results say that if people are held accountable when they’re asked to complete a task they are much more likely to do it and do it well.
We discussed the employee handbook in last week’s article and it is always excellent to have a copy on hand for you and your employees to refer to. The bar bible is an easily accessible item which everyone in your location has access to and, therefore, is an ideal location in which to store a communal copy of your employee handbook.
Incident Report Forms
Accidents are bound to happen and when they do you need to record all the necessary details, no matter how small the incident was. Having incident report forms in your bar bible means everyone knows where they are, and anyone can use them. Obviously you want a manager to be the one who records the details of accidents and incidents but in a pinch you may have to have one of your trusted employees take down the person details and write a description of the incident for you. Having these forms ensures that they’re not going to miss any of the crucial details.
The usefulness of a communal storage of information in your location cannot be understated. The bar bible, as well as being an essential tool for your bartenders can be just that. It is best that your bar bible is some form of binder, easy to flick through and super easy to pull out any unwanted information and add in new items; like new craft cocktail recipes. You can fill this management tool with as little or as much information as you want, for instance, if you’re a specialist whiskey bar you could have a section in there that covers all different types of whiskey so that, when it is really slow, your bartenders can better educate themselves on what they’re serving. Thus providing an even more exceptional guest expereince.