The cocktail offering at pubs and bars operated by TCG is being shaken up with a new training manual for bar staff alongside a new summer menu.
The manual covers not just how to make different drinks but also the history of alcohol, the origins of the most popular cocktails and a glossary of bar equipment. It also provides tips on interacting with customers while preparing the drinks.
It follows trials of the manual at two TCG sites earlier this year which saw a combined sales uplift on cocktails worth £80,000 a year. It has now been rolled out to all TCG bars and pubs that serve cocktails.
TCG has added a number of new cocktails for summer, including a Rhubarb Martini, a frozen Strawberry Margarita, and a Fruit Explosion combining strawberry and Piña Colada ingredients with rum and vodka.
The manual is used during training sessions delivered by team members who are “cocktail champions” at each site. Bar staff also receive a key fob containing details of the most popular cocktails for quick reference while working behind the bar.
They are assessed on their knowledge regularly and, when they master the ingredients and method for 30, 50 and then 100 cocktails, they receive a certificate and items to build their own cocktail kit.
Ben Levick, TCG director of operations, said: “As an on-trade-only drink, cocktails have been an area of focus for us and we have invested heavily in developing our range of drinks and innovative serves, such as jam jars and milk bottles.
“Now we’re focusing on staff training with the aim of turning our team members into the best bartenders in their area, with technical proficiency, encyclopaedic knowledge and outstanding customer interaction.
“We believe this is the most detailed cocktail training guide any mainstream pub and bar operator has developed, and it’s a game-changer in terms of the bottom line.
“The two trial sites for the manual and training, Sailors in Newquay and the Greenhouse in Bristol, generated incremental cocktail sales worth £80,000 a year.”
The manual was developed by Ben with Dave Ruddick, general manager at Sailors in Newquay, Cornwall. Dave said: “Since we started training with the manual, staff have become much more knowledgeable and confident, which means they can interact better with customers while they’re making cocktails. It’s been a great success and we can’t roll it out quickly enough to the rest of the team.”
Josh Priest, supervisor at Sailors, was given the role of cocktail champion after impressing Ruddick with his technical skills and customer rapport. He said: “Staff love the training and it’s been great to see them start to engage more with customers.
“Now, a team member will relate an interesting fact about a cocktail while making it, and the customer goes back to their group of friends and tells them. That’s what gives Sailors the edge and encourages customers to come back to us for their cocktails.”
Pictured: Josh Priest and Faith Wren making cocktails at Sailors in Newquay