5 trends every bar manager needs to look out for

Being a bar manager can be tough. Stay vigilant

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019
3 min read

From the traditional pub to the modern bar, things are always changing when it comes to going out. And whilst tastes and fashions will always change, one thing we can say for sure is that the bar industry will never die.

For those in the industry, the threat of getting left behind is always present. Venues cannot rest on current success as changing tastes could mean today's trendy bar could soon be yesterday's news.

With that in mind, we decided to look at five trends those working in the bar industry need to consider, both in front of and behind the bar.

1. Is it last call for the boozer?

We’ve all seen the headlines that the traditional boozer is dying out and the stats are there to back it up. According to figures, ‘drink-led’ local pubs and bar premises have seen a 19% decline since September 2011 and rural pubs have seen a decrease of 11.6%. But is it all doom and gloom when it comes to the pub?

When you look at the wider industry figures ‘branded food pub’ premises have increased by 45.7% since 2011, cafes and wine bars by 19.1% and restaurants by 18.9%. And many pubs are seeing success by moving to a ‘food-led’ offering. So is the pub dying? No, it looks like it’s evolving.

2. Bar and crafts

Craft beer has been a big trend over the last few years and this looks set to continue at pace. But this trend has also made operators look at other craft and premium products to broaden their offerings away from the big brands. In a recent business leaders’ survey, ‘craft’ or ‘artisanal’ products featured heavily in the trends to look out for. 41% see artisan coffee as a future trend, 39% see micro-distillery spirits as a growth area, 29% think premium mixers are on the rise and craft cider and juice also feature on the list. And it doesn't stop at the drinks themselves, even ‘premium’ hand cut ice has started to make waves in the bar industry.

So is your bar ready for the craft revolution?

3. Skinny drinks and healthy softs

You only have to look around to see the current success of the health and fitness industry. Activewear as a fashion trend, healthy eating cookbooks, 15 minute workouts via social media, and healthy eating establishments popping up all the time. But has the bar industry taken notice? It’s certainly starting to, and it’s something that could help bars stand out.

Outside of alcoholic drinks, 32% of industry leaders thought healthy soft drinks would be key for the bar industry in the year ahead, and 24% saw skinny cocktails as a trend. So as you can see, many bar owners are starting to look wider at their offerings, and healthier alternatives should certainly be on the radar.

4. The end of the bar queue as we know it?

For a customer, there's nothing more frustrating than queuing at a busy bar. But is technology about to bring an end to the tedious wait? Pub chain Wetherspoons certainly thinks so, and has recently launched an app that has been described as ‘the end of the bar queue’. Their ‘order and pay’ app means customers no longer have to queue to get food and drinks. Orders can be placed via the app, and food and drinks are brought over to the table.

Whether it catches on or not, we’ll have to wait and see. But this could signal the start of a customer experience revolution, as bar owners look at new ways to improve the customer experience and many will be looking to technology do just that.

5. Sorting your shifts out

When it comes to managing a bar one of the biggest issues has to be people management, especially rota and shift planning. There’s the hassle of communicating the rota with your staff, the shift swapping requests and of course the potential for human error. It all takes up valuable time and even when you do finally get it all sorted your staff are never happy.

With BrightHR’s people management software creating and sharing the staff rota is easy. Build rotas in a matter of seconds, share with staff automatically, amends are quick to make, staff are instantly notified of changes and everyone has the same view, so everyone knows who’s in and who’s not.

Find out how BrightHR’s rota and shift planning features can help your bar today.

Share this article