Background & Experience
With over 25 years combined in the Food & Beverage industry, Jeff & Matt have worked in all positions in restaurants of all sizes: from dishwasher to line cook, busser to server, bar back to bar manager. We have a thorough understanding of the inner workings of large franchise restaurants to the more intimate, family-run establishments. Our portfolio includes helping launch internationally-known and award-winning restaurants across Canada, competing in international bartending competitions such as Bacardi Legacy Global Finals and Diageo World Class Canada Finals in 2013 & 2017; training by master blenders and owners of various distilleries around the world, including: Bacardi in Puerto Rico, Appleton Estate in Jamaica, Bols in Amsterdam, Patron in Mexico, Mount Gay Estate in Barbados, Havana Club in Cuba, Grand Marnier in France, and Los Siete Misterious in Mexico. We have keen knowledge of industry trends and a comprehensive knowledge of how to create a successful beverage program. Whether you are starting a new business, looking to rebrand, creating a new beverage program, tweaking your current cocktail list or motivating your staff, The Clever Barkeep is here to provide the hospitality solution that you desire.
Services We Provide
1. Product Training
Having a solid understanding the products you serve is integral to increasing beverage sales and enhancing guest experience. It is nearly impossible to sell products that your staff are not familiar with. The more product knowledge your team acquires, the more successful they will be selling luxury spirits, up selling wine and suggesting food-pairings, which all create memorable guest experiences. If your staff members are not educating your guests, you are missing out on opportunities to increase sales over the long term. Our training team will educate your staff on product history, relevant production details and its uses in order to expand their knowledge base. Servers will feel confident suggesting a product they know, bartenders will be able to create an in-cocktail that is truly unique, and guests will in turn trust the recommendations from your front of house staff. Product Training translates to building a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with your guests.
2. Staff Training & Management Coaching
Staff inadequacies can disguise themselves in many different forms. Sometimes your staff needs to be managed more effectively, or be trained to have the skills for success. Our training team will identify where your inadequacies are, address them and provide solutions for your establishment. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of our staff training and coaching options:
We will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your employees and identify their strengths and weaknesses; build a training program for them which will address these inadequacies and build on their strengths. This includes subjective knowledge such as: cleanliness, guest experience, product knowledge; furthermore statistics which address: par times for cocktail creation, pour accuracy and memory capacity.
Speed & Efficiency Training
Improving efficiency and speed will directly increase nightly sales. We will train your bartenders on speed, organization, accuracy and efficiency in order to increase output and profitability while decreasing errors and losses. We will give your staff the tools and confidence to increase sales, become more productive and emphasize teamwork, by creating a culture of professionals and in turn, unforgettable hospitality. The Clever Barkeep has proven methods which provide your staff with the tools needed to increase outputs. Bartending is a highly technical trade and the quality of your beverages should never suffer when you are faced with a busy bar.
Empowerment is the cornerstone to retaining your valued employees. We work with your management team to create a unique model of industry-leading organizational behaviour through our Management Coaching. We believe in investing in your employees and that they invest in themselves as well as their health. Our training goes beyond the restaurant doors and makes your staff feel welcome, valued, dedicated, healthy and empowered. We offer strategies that reflect your business model and develop a philosophy which encompasses your core values.
3. Bar Design & Efficient Under Bar & Layout Logistics
“Never sit at a table when you can stand at the bar.” - Ernest Hemingway
The design of a bar is a direct reflection of the inner-workings of your business. The food and beverage industry is all about the small details and observing the bar is the quickest way to assess how much attention to detail has been placed on creating the most memorable guest experience. Upon entry, guests are immediately judging the cleanliness, organization, efficiency, beauty and overall vibe. The atmosphere you create is a product of form and function. Balancing the size and demands of your business for your staff is crucial to quality service and efficient hospitality. Assessing specific goals of the bar or restaurant and applying this to your design will translate to the overall atmosphere of the space.
The design behind a bar can be a limiting factor of drink productivity. Operational design considerations need not limit your production, but foster an environment of efficiency. We will help create a cost-effective bar design which promotes speed, accuracy, efficiency and ergonomics, while representing the aesthetics of your design. A well designed bar allows your bartenders to serve beverages at an efficient pace, which will increase profits. An ergonomically-driven design will also allow your bartenders to enjoy a comfortable workspace, which will reduce fatigue. We take the time to consider the duties and tasks of your staff before designing your bar. It is of the utmost importance to create a design which allows for a high degree of functionality.
4. Menu Creation & Beverage Programs
When guests enter your establishment and order a drink, it should be the exact same, every time, to their liking. If your drinks are inconsistent, metrics become inconsistent, yields and margins go off and more importantly, guests lose trust in your business! Cocktails are one of the most profitable beverages you can serve, but not only will they increase your margins, they are also very marketable. They are one of the fastest growing trends on social media; platforms such as instagram provide your guests the opportunity to create consumer-based marketing, which is free and allows information to quickly spread to untapped networks.
We work with your team to create a menu which you can be proud of, one which best represents your establishment. Our training team has a keen sense of culinary and mixology trends, which keeps your beverage menu fresh and unique. The Clever Barkeep has award-winning cocktail recipes published in publications such as: Difford’s Guide and Imbibe Magazine, A Field Guide to Canadian Cocktails and numerous local periodicals. We pride ourselves on low waste and our menus are inspired by seasonal, fresh ingredients. These menus are always easily replicable, as we train your staff and leaders to easily continue this training in the future.
5. Liquor Cost, Inventory & Ordering Systems
Successful bars and restaurants are created by having a strict control on the margins. Costing and tracking your inventories can also be one of your most daunting tasks. We will implement precise systems to cost, track, order and understand your margins. A thorough competitive analysis of your market will allow us to accurately price your products and figure out exactly where you will make more money. Incremental changes at a per-drink level can translate into thousands of dollars of revenues by year end. How much money is your company losing by having an inefficient inventory, costing and ordering system? We will identify where these losses are occurring and canvass suppliers to negotiate the deal that you deserve.
6. Glassware, Bar Tools and Equipment Procurement
Our vast experience in the industry gives us the ability to smartly recommend and help purchase the perfect equipment to compliment your establishment. This is a process which is constantly undervalued by restaurant owners, especially those with a cocktail-focus. Picking the perfect bar tools which are durable and create a beautiful aesthetic is a sales technique on its own! Once this is paired with the perfect glassware, you have your cocktail aesthetic bases covered. We work closely with glassware manufacturing companies and have been able to secure purchasing deals with some of the industry leaders in glassware creation. We also have personal relationships with companies such as BYOB (Toronto), Cocktail Kingdom (NYC) and Alambika (Montreal) to help expedite the process on providing the highest quality bar tools for your establishment. Don’t undervalue the process of accurate glassware, bar tool and equipment procurement.
Whether you want to rebrand, increase margins, improve efficiency or enhance your staff’s skills through training, we are your comprehensive bar consultation service. We inspire management teams to build an organizational culture which focuses on top-notch hospitality and service. We will help propel your sales by creating a service model which best reflects the goals of your business.