Here are two statements you probably can’t argue with:
- Bars should be organized and efficient
- Sitting at a bar should be pleasant
Not delivering on both of these can affect your bar’s profitability. Your bar equipment layout plays a huge part in optimal bar management. Done well it makes working the bar intuitive and visiting the bar delightful.
Bar Equipment Layout Tip 1: Err on the Side of Too Much Glass Storage
A study done by Cornell cites lack of adequate glass storage as the most common bar equipment layout problem. Bars either underestimate the amount of glassware storage they’ll need or overestimate the ability of their staff to clean bar glasses during busy shifts.
This may stem from your bar’s physical layout and dimensions. Maybe there is simply not enough space to store the volume of glassware you need for a busy night. Here are two ways around it:
- Use small, adjustable shelving on your back bar. This allows you to adapt your storage capacity by shift. Your liquor storage will be much more manageable.
- Stack up clean glass racks on a dolly and keep it in a safe spot under the bar. Alternately, you can stash this dolly in a sectioned off part of your bar that houses the other unattractive stuff. Think things like DJ equipment, buckets, mops, and miscellaneous things bars accumulate.
Bar Equipment Layout Tip 2: Move Noisy Equipment Away from the Action
A lot of bars place noisy equipment in the center of the bar because it’s easy for the bartender to access. This is a great example of focusing on utility over aesthetics. Let’s take a look at two opportunities: ice machines and glass washers.
Ice machines are typically air-cooled and work optimally away from crowded and cluttered spaces. They shouldn't be a part of your under bar equipment layout. And glass washers generate a lot of heat and moisture and ideally aren't a part of your bar counter equipment layout. Both also have the potential to provide noisy disruptions.
Avoid placing noisy equipment in crowded or cluttered places like under the bar. The best place for ice machines and glass washers is in an enclosed service station at the side of the bar.
Another advantage of moving these away from the activity is that they won’t get dirty as often. And their backside electrical components won’t need cleaning (with restaurant cleaning supplies) as often.
Bar Equipment Layout Tip 3: Make the Server Station Convenient
A server station is where servers pick up drinks (including cocktail drinks) for their tables. Server stations get so crowded and hectic that servers sometimes avoid them by selling less drinks.
Let’s look at three ways to make it a nicer place. Those are dispensing non-alcohol drinks, keeping guests away from it, and having space to put trays down.
1. Let Servers Dispense Non-Alcoholic Drinks Themselves
If at all possible, you must put a soda gun, ice, and glassware at the server station. Make good use of your servers’ time by having them put together the non-alcoholic drinks for their drink orders. Keep your bartender free to spend their valuable time increasing bar profitability by making more profitable drinks than Cokes.
2. Keep the Crowds Away
Make it obvious to guests that the server station is separate from the public area. That may mean subtle hints like making it a different color than the bar or giving it a different floor.
You can also cordon it off entirely or angle it so it makes it very obvious for bar staff and wait staff only. The more you can do to make the server station less crowded and easier to work in, the better.
3. Provide Space to Put Trays Down
Servers rush over to the server station tray in hand. They will sometimes need both hands to assemble to entire drink order on their tray. Especially if they’re adding any cocktail ingredients or making non-alcoholic drinks.
With some modest shelving on or near the server station, you’ll give them the ability to work cleaner and more organized. Purchase some shelves to match your bar's wood furniture.
Bar Equipment Layout Tip 4: Create a Layout That’s Easy to Clean and Maintain
Bars are wet and dirty places. They need to be cleaned darn near constantly. A good bar equipment layout considers this.
Make sure you have plenty of Bar Keepers Friend in your bar supplies. Here are three layout tips that make your bar easier to clean.
- Make sure the back of refrigerating equipment is easy to get to. They have compressor housings and air panels that need to be cleaned every so often. If they get too dusty, airflow decreases and they can fail.
- Don’t use giant bar mats. Use many small ones that can all be cleaned individually. Ideally, they’re small enough to run through the dishwasher you have.
- Have a designated place for bar and restaurant cleaning supplies you'll be using (constantly).
More Like Bar Equipment Payout
The more thoughtful your bar equipment layout is, the more money you’ll make and the better your bar profit margin will be. Bartenders will work effortlessly. Customer service will improve. Guests will enjoy being there. It will all come together. Pair this with some knowledge on how to open a bar and you're on your way to profits for your bar business.
Once your bar’s equipment layout is settled, you can focus on other things. Like making sure its shelves and easily accessible refrigerators are stocked (stocking a bar takes some work) with exactly the right amount of your most profitable bar liquor and wine. And BinWise Pro can help you do that.
BinWise Pro’s bar inventory system speeds up manual counting with lightning-fast scanning. Managing bar inventory is considerably easier with it. Then, it uses that bar inventory data to help ease the burden of bar manager responsibilities and help owners and bar management personnel make the most profitable ordering and sales decisions.