Bar clientele is constantly growing. The latest Istat data/Aidepi data indicates that from 2002 to 2015 in Italy, bar visits numbered 4.5 billion a year, accounting for 45% of all commercial restaurants. Next year, growth of 1% is expected. The top performing bars are multispecialized; e.g., their offers are suited to most occasions of consumption, and they are growing at higher rates than traditional bars.
What motivates a customer to become a regular at a bar? Is it the bar around the corner or just outside the office, the one that serves the best coffee or has good-looking servers? Many factors contribute to a bar’s success, but to make your own attractive, the key is to keep up with sector trends and always be competitive.
What are the 2017 bar trends?
To increase business at a bar today, first you need to expand your food menu with products related to wellness. Consumers are increasingly attentive to food and the sources of raw materials at every meal from breakfast to dinner. It is important to also offer organic breakfasts, lunches and snacks, to satisfy even the most demanding clients and reposition yourself in a market characterized by high competition. What is meant by health products? The most popular ingredients range from gluten-free products to those made from yogurt, from low-fat and light ones to those made from soy milk or rice milk. Then there is the spread of “juice bars” specialized in water, centrifuges and extracts from vegetables and fruits with antioxidant properties, or vegan cafes or those created around a single ingredient (for example, the recent opening of the Avocado bar in Rome). Genuineness, quality, and craftsmanship (using local ingredients), sustainability and authenticity are the drivers. All this is accompanied by a hint of storytelling, because it is also interesting for the bar customer to discover the history of a dish or a cocktail.
Cocktail time is a key moment for the bar and for the indispensable customer experience before, or, in some cases, instead of dinner. How can you ensure a high-quality multisensory experience? Combining colors, flavors and the right glasses. The perfect 2017 cocktails are exotic, with Mezcal and Tequila, but this is also the year of Italian Vermouth, bitters and neutral spirits. As is typical among bartenders, experimentation and customization are always at the center of each preparation: even in cocktails herbs, organic and natural ingredients make their appearance; tequila may be served with chili peppers or a non-alcoholic grapefruit drink with a hint of fennel. And how are these cocktails served? Have you ever thought about a light bulb? The current fashion is, in fact, the light bulb; that is, a bulb-shaped glass! The cocktail must always be accompanied by some delicacies: today’s trend is tapas, versatile and prepared with a variety of ingredients, preferring local products and enticing combinations.
FOOD DELIVERY AND STREET FOOD
This is the main trend in restaurants; why not adopt it in a bar? Maybe with the delivery of coffee, pastries, sweets or real home-delivered lunch and snacks. The primary benefit that comes with it is to expand the market of potential customers who do not live or work near the bar, providing a useful service that adapts to increasingly busy people. The advice is to enrich the offer of your bar with fast dishes and takeout or home delivered but also simple yet gourmet sandwiches and toast, but with quality products and combinations of ingredients. Food trucks are very popular, especially in big cities such as Milan and Rome; these street trucks are equipped to provide breakfasts, lunches and snacks at any time of day.