It’s spring and across the nation pubs and bars are starting to clean and prepare their beer gardens and outdoor areas ahead of the returning summer climate. Whilst performing this annual task, now is a great time to take stock of your barware and essential equipment before the summer season begins. Here, at Alliance Online we aim to highlight the various areas you may want to upgrade and what options are available to you as a pub or bar owner.
They are one of the most overlooked of all the large bar equipment, but there is a good chance your bar fridge hasn’t been replaced or serviced in a while. And in fairness it’s very easy to overlook. Machines like mixers, stick blenders, taps and pumps are all actively used by staff so regular cleaning and maintenance is systematically performed, or so it should be. But as bar fridges are often viewed as background appliances which simply exist without much conscious thought they can go neglected, especially undercounter options which are not in customers eyelines.
The first thing we’d recommend is ensuring your bar fridges are cleaned regularly, at least weekly. Regarding your Spring stock take, the first area you want to inspect closely is the seal
s surrounding the doors. Broken seals can cause heat to escape from the main cavity in your refrigerator meaning your fridge then needs to use more electricity to maintain its internal temperature. With rising electricity costs, it is within businesses best interest to check the state of bar fridges as they could end up costing you more.
You may consider complete replacements in favour of newer, more efficient models. If so, we’d recommend models from Sterling or Blizzard. Both are well known within the catering industry, specifically for their range of refrigerators.
Mixers and Stick Blenders
Following on from fridges we are staying with bar equipment of an electronic nature. Mixers and stick blenders are ubiquitous tools in bars, especially cocktail bars. But with summer predictions being hot you may be considering adding more cocktails to your menu and if that’s the case you may need to check your mixer and stick blender.
The first aspect you will want to review is the blades themselves. Are they robust and sharpened as any fault in the blades could cause problems mid-shift which could present problems at a less than favourable time. It is also worth checking the motors which spin the blades ensuring they are free of debris and free from any blockages. Always instil in your staff after use practices like cleaning and washing of the device to prolong the service life of the equipment.
Now is a perfect time to take stock of your pub and bar glassware. Firstly, go through and check if you need to replenish any of your glasses. Despite commercial glassware’s durability breakages still occur and whilst we are still not quite in the Spring to Summer socialising period it’s good to place orders for any replacements you may require.
Whilst doing this process you can also review your current glassware and decide whether you want to replace any ranges you have with more modern or themed glasses in line with more recent trends. With rum and rum based cocktails beginning to boom tiki glasses are great for serving such drinks due to their more fun and outlandish style. Equally, decorative crystal cut hiball tumblers are always a favourite for serving cocktail drinks as they highlight the vibrant colours.
Staying with cocktails, the design of your glass can accentuate the drinking experience. So, why not review your more specialised ranges of stemware to opt for a more unique style? Martini, margarita, gin goblets, hurricane and coupe glasses all have iconic shapes but can all benefit from a touch of individuality. One such range we’d recommend to create stunning showstopping drinks is the Hayworth range from Utopia.
There are certain bar utensils which can be categorised as a necessity, especially for bar staff who are making and serving drinks all night long. Equipment such as cocktail making instruments, drink preparation tools and cleaning products should all be assessed throughout the year for defective items which should in turn be replaced. Key items to keep an eye on include:
- Bar Openers – Most bars do employ fixed bar openers which work brilliantly and do not require much by way of maintenance. But should you prefer staff to use and have on their persons a bottle opener / bar blade then ensure your bar has plenty to hand. Bar blades are notorious for going missing so take stock every six months just to check how many you have.
- Muddlers – This mainly relates to wooden muddlers as continued nightly use can cause the wood to begin to ware and splinter. Much like how wooden spoons ware over time, so too do wooden muddlers so make sure you don’t keep them once their edges begin to fray.
- Cocktail Strainers – Keep an eye on the springs of your cocktail strainers, they can become compromised and lose shape the older they get. If the strainer spring becomes misshapen or is starting to not mix the cocktail ingredients as well, it’s time to replace it.
- Bar Mats – Overtime bar mats can begin to smell, even if they are cleaned regularly. The continual spilling of alcoholic (typically beer and other yeast-based drinks) takes its toll. So, if you or your staff begin to notice a rather unpleasant aroma emanating from them consider replacing them.
- Cleaning – Naturally, there are multiple items we could discuss here but we mainly want to concentrate on bar related items. Having access to a range of cloths is a must when working behind the bar. We would recommend employing a multi-coloured system for cloths whereby a set colour is assigned a particular cleaning task. So red could be solely used for mopping up the bar itself, green could be used for wiping glasses, blue for wiping other areas like the taps and pumps. This brings a sense of order for your staff and also prevents cross-contamination.
Straws and Stirrers
Finally, we finish with two items which have seen the biggest change over the last few years: straws and stirrers. Following the single use plastics ban bars are no longer allowed to buy, stock or serve drinks with single use plastic straws or stirrers. As such this brought about a variety of alternatives that were new to the market in an attempt to fill the void the ban had produced.
Paper straws are the most common straw, which is now served in drinks across the nation. By now pubs have more than acclimatised to ordering paper straws but it is still good practice to regularly check how many you have at any one time. What can be stressful is ordering festive straws during the two months build up to Christmas so why not buy some mid-year when prices will be lower, so you save money in the long term.
If you offer a more refined aesthetic to your cocktails by way of metal straws, then these definitely need to be stock managed well. As all pub landlords know, barware and glassware have a tendency to walk out of the front door from time to time, and metal straws are equally prone to disappearing. One way to help try and keep track of your metal straws is by having a system in place whereby metal straws are always used with certain glasses. This way your staff will get used to particular glasses always having a metal straw too so it will be more visually apparent when they collect glasses if one is missing. This doesn’t necessarily prevent straws being taken but will help your staff monitor if any have been taken and amend your stock levels. We would suggest the same for metal stirrers.
A great alternative for metal cocktail stirrers is wooden ones as these are less expensive and can be simply disposed of via domestic compost heaps due to being made of wood.
Ultimately, stock checks should be run all year round, but spring gives pubs and bars a period where they can change up their look and feel ahead of the summer period. With warmer months and lighter nights comes more social drinking so bars want to be ready for the busy part of the year. So, whether you opt to spend money on equipment to benefit your staff like new bar fridges or stylish new glassware to serve scintillating new cocktails do so now, so your bar or pub is ready for summer.
Alliance Online provide a wide range of pub and bar essentials for the industry. Our offering has been assembled over our 23 years of supplying the hospitality industry and public sector. For more information regarding pub and bar essentials or how one of our local reps could help you, please contact us on 0844 844 4300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org