Surviving the Lockdown
May 03, 2021 by Rebecca Todd
New Skills on the Horizon for Hospitality?
Most of us did nothing outwardly productive during the lockdown period, but even if you were mostly in your pyjamas, eating takeaway and watching true crime, the way you spent your time will be useful to you when you get back to working with guests. Even if it’s as simple as incorporating to rest or spending more time on hobbies.
This year will have changed us and how we approach our job roles when the world opens up a little more. But how? Let’s take a look at some of the skills that might be applicable when we get back to work in cocktail bars and events.
Reengaging in studying as an adult is so different from being at school. You can learn at your own pace, develop an understanding of a particular area of interest and even work towards a promotion. Independent bodies such as the WSET offer industry lead learning in pretty niche areas like wine or spirits, perfect for professional bartenders. Those that offered classes online saw a huge uptick in new students enrolling. That can’t be a bad thing as we go back into the cocktail trade. More knowledgable staff makes for a better guest experience. Perhaps bar managers or multiple operators will factor more staff training into their workforce?
During the last year, people have been turning to social media for information, entertainment, news and advice. Video has really taken off with the likes of TikTok, Reels and YouTube. Facebook reported double the amount of lives and FaceTime chats in 2020 and a 40% increase in usage across the board. Joining gaming parties, contributing to forums and engagement in group chats has also exploded as social interaction became a primary drive for most users. But instead of just consuming content, many hospitality workers have used the various platforms to practice their talents. They have picked up beneficial skills to extend their own reach like planning content, creating cocktail recipes, presenting, video editing, and learning the algorithm geekery. They could apply that knowledge to developing a digital brand for their workplace too.
Clearly, there’s nothing like a shed full of tools to get some of you going. From woodwork to gardening to picking up an instrument, many out-of-work bartenders have fine tuned their practical skills to find work, make items to sell or do DIY around the house. These talents shouldn’t go unnoticed now there’s bar work available. Fixing, mending, designing and creating are talents any team would be grateful for.
For those that weren’t put on furlough, there has been plenty of batch making, packing, labelling and sending cocktails into the world. Whether that’s via a bar or a brand, many bartenders will now be au fait with digital selling techniques. There’s plenty of room for these skills either from a packing and distribution perspective or an inbound web marketing slant as we open up our bricks and motor cocktail bars again.
Self-Care and Wellness
Yes, it’s a trend that’s been over thought and underwhelming, but self-care is important. Hospitality workers are the most sleep deprived in the country. Add in stimulants like alcohol and caffeine, poor staff meals, back to back shifts and a blasé take on HR law from some managers, and you’ve got a health crisis waiting to happen. Beyond the bubble baths and insta-quotes, many people have found time to take real care of themselves this year. Making food from scratch, regular exercise routines, better sleep patterns, reduced stress and living a life structured around wellness rather than work will be a game changer for this industry.
There have been a lot of people in real need this year, and many compassionate charities set up to help. Managing finances at home and at work has been an enormous mountain to climb for business owners and staff alike. Being more experienced with budgets was a steep learning curve we wont forget in a hurry.
We asked people what skills they had learned and how they would apply to the reopening of cocktail bars, and by far, the most popular response was about the guests. If they want it, let them have it. If they’re having fun, so are we. People really want to make the live experience better than the home. The sound, look, feel, and ambience will all be at the forefront of hospitality workers hearts and minds as they can finally serve customers again.
Another popular response was people simply saying they wouldn’t take their jobs for granted again. Cocktail bartenders have missed their profession, missed their customers and missed their teams as well as their paycheque. The truth is many people work in this sector because they’re good with people. They like the interactions. They like to see the magic and theatre delight their customers.
That’s why the Flavour Blaster has become such a favourite bar tool amongst professional bartenders. It’s a piece of bar equipment that charms guests because it’s efficient, easy to use and achieves that dazzling effect on the customer. Just one cocktail with smoke or a smoke-filled bubble, and you’ve got an instant hit on the menu.
We wish you all the best as you head back to work, and if you want a smoking gun in your back pocket when you get there, take a look at our professional bartender cocktail kit. For inspiration on how the Flavour Blaster can be used in cocktails, follow us on Instagram.