Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

SEP 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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56 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2018 functional by design we're doing on the craft side." He adds that underbar, slide-top coolers traditionally used to store chilled glasses or bottles are particu- larly inefficient. "That's one of the first things I eliminate in any project I go into where those are in use," Adam says. "They waste space. You can't put anything on top of them." Finishing drinks as well as point- of-sale transactions play an important role in design planning. And it's one Weisblatt says is often not considered until late in the game. "A lot of times, people spend so much time and money designing beautiful backbars and at the last minute they realize they have to plunk down two cash drawers and com- puter screens in front of them, facing guests," he says. "So now, not only do your bartenders have to turn away from guests to complete transactions, but that beautiful, strategically lit backbar is obstructed by computers." If an operation anticipates high bar volume, Weisblatt prefers machines incorporated into the front bar, one shared between each two bartender sta- tions. If transaction speed isn't as critical, one solution he likes is to construct the backbar counter such that the cash draw or drawers sink into it with the computer monitor residing in a slide-out cabinet. Ice, Ice Baby With classic and increasingly creative craft cocktails grabbing the spotlight, ice represents another critical consid- eration. Of course, drinks need ice. But ice is no longer simply ice. In many operations it serves as a differentiator, with various shapes, sizes, styles and flavors of ice being carefully matched to enhance specific drinks. While intriguing to guests and ostensibly upping beverage quality, of- fering different types of ice for different types of drinks requires extra freezer space at the bar and, depending on volume, extra machines. "Some bars go a little crazy with it," says Navarrette of the artisanal ice trend. "I've had four machines at one time in one location. But that was their program, and it worked because we'd planned for it ahead of time. The way the bar industry is headed, especially in urban markets, you can no longer get away with having a mediocre cocktail program; you have to bring something unique to the table. Bar design needs to keep up with and accommodate what's happening, and that means paying at- tention to things like ice." To that end, Navarrette prefers freez- ers for custom ice and ice machines in general to fit into the underbar, making them easily accessible. And in figur- ing initial space planning, he suggests positioning the bar adjacent to a shared resource area, where bar staff can easily access additional ice machines as well as backup supplies and ingredients. Adams agrees that building in more sophisticated ice capability matters now more than ever. "Ice is a huge component of the cocktail culture right now," he says. "Having great, clear ice, having different shapes of ice, etcetera, means you need freezers behind the bar to handle it. I was on a site visit the other day, and the poor kid tending bar had to go to a freezer in the back of the house every time someone ordered a cocktail that called for specialty ice. He probably missed out on $1,000 worth of drinks he could have been mak- ing were he not spending time running back to get ice." FE&S EXTRA SHOTS: ADVICE FROM THE PROS Forget symmetry. "Codes determine things to some extent, but too often bars are needlessly built on symmetry with a three-compartment sink in the middle and wells off to the sides. That sink is big, it makes you absolutely no money, and rather than having your strongest bartender in the middle making drinks and engaging with guests, you have a barback washing stuff. It's also often redundant because there's usually an underbar glass washer." — Adam Weisblatt, Last Word Hospitality Avoid custom. "When you start trying to put weird angles and rounded edges in, you're basically looking at all custom. The price to build out your bar shoots way up versus being able to just grab and install the equipment you need. It's always easier and more affordable to do straight runs, getting off-the-shelf equipment in place first and designing around that." — Chris Adams, Ellis Adams Group Rethink islands. "Designers think island bars look great, but they make employees uncomfortable. Bartenders are never sure who's behind them or who's potentially running into them with a $20 cocktail that just took them five minutes to make. In traditional bars, with a backbar and front bar, employees can see everything in their peripheral vision, and there's much less franticness." — Eddie Navarrette, FE Design & Consulting

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