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Fine Dining is dead!? What about the "fine bar"? What are the bar trends?

I have heard it not the first time - fine dining is dead.
Well - Ferran Adrià closed El Bulli some time ago - not because it was not successful [we might consider, that El Bulli was the most successful fine dining restaurant, which was not in a metropolitan area]. I guess Ferran had still 20 to 50 people on the waiting list, for any diner he was accommodating. But he is also a person, who is strangely connected to trends [yes he is also a culinary trend setter, but to be a trend setter, you have to have a feeling for the overall crowd psychology].

In the current economical climate a fine dining establishment has a hard time: the US is not completely out of the crisis - still struggling - but Europe is even worse, with their Euro crisis - and Asia doesn't see the growth rate as previous years. A lot of people just don't want to expend that much for a single dining experience, when the times are unsafe - others don't want to show off, that they still have it and "are also baking small bread rolls" [German saying].

To say, that fine dining is dead, is widely exaggerated; however other than last years, rather smaller and cheaper ventures like food trucks and other "gourme'ed up comfort food" is growing.

This development, has also its good sides: it democratize gourmet for lower income groups, as well as super-charges the diversity.

But what's about the bar?
Salvatore Calabrese just got into the Guinness Book of World Records with the most expensive drink - and the bar seems like always limbing after the other "culinary arts".

Anyway - for the moment try to promote following points to stay on top:

  • Be selective:
    • Super premium is out - however you still should use outstanding quality products. They don't always need to be very expensive. Try and select the "best" [value for money] products to use in drinks - standard doesn't cut it, but super-premium will also limb your sales.
    • Promote home made: be creative and do a lot of home made stuff. Homemade syrup, soda, liqueurs [etc.] are almost always at least as good as your artisan commercial product, but much cheaper. Use again good quality [value for money] products to start with...
    • Don't be pretentious: Pretensions are no more state of art - people are despite this approach. Don't worry - there is still here and there some place for bling - however overall try to be not pretentious - and don't try to be, what you aren't! A lot of bartenders presenting recipes, which try to show off - however they just make a fool out of themselves.
    • Good mix: Offer a wide price span of your drinks. Try to partly compete with the prices of your less expensive competitors: have drinks for to match the overall drink prices of them - however on the other side, have also really expensive drinks on the menu. Only because a lot of people don't want to spend much, doesn't mean that nobody wants to spend. And you don't want to miss the opportunity to make a lot of money on one drink - and by the way, satisfy the person, who is happy to shell out some serious money for a good drink...
    • Keep the prices fair: you can't take the same margin for a cocktail with a premium spirit as for a drink with a standard spirit. Stay real, and the guests are appreciating more expensive drinks [which are less in cost percentage - however higher in overall profit].
    • Promote local / sustainable products and small brands - not necessary big brands.
    • Try to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and use it in your marketing.

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