We’ve pretty much all been there. You’re flying across the country, you need to use the restroom, the seatbelt light goes off, but then you’re stuck in place behind the drink cart.
In this sense, the drink cart gets a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be like that. The reality is, drink carts and mobile bars are a great way to bring hospitality and service directly to the customer while increasing profits for the operation. But to fully bake this concept, let’s think about it from each perspective:
Mobile Drink Carts from the Customer Perspective
As we’ve mentioned before, tableside service provides a great experience for diners. It’s engaging. It allows for a more informed selection. It’s fun!
When a drink cart or mobile bar is rolled to the tableside, it allows consumers to view the different types of spirits that are available. They can check out the garnishes or the glassware. And they can enjoy the experience of seeing a trained bartender or mixologist create a magnificent concoction right there at the table.
Perhaps the most important factor for diners, though, is the convenience a mobile beverage cart can provide. Astute bartenders who operate rolling bars can see when a table is in need of refreshing and literally be right there within a matter of seconds. Another round without having to get up? Great! Another round without having to wait for a server who then has to wait for the bar who then has to wait for the server to return! Even better!
Mobile Drink Carts from the Operator Perspective
Those benefits and conveniences for guests translate directly to profit potential for operators. There’s no better way to say it.
As everyone knows in the bar and beverage industry, time is money. When a bartender can actually roam from table to table keeping an eye on who needs a refresher, it decreases the time customers have to wait for their next beverage. This can lead to more frequent orders, which translates to profits.
Mobile bars are also a great form of advertising. What do you think newly-arrived guests will first notice about your dining room as a cart full of cocktails moves across the room from table to table? Almost certainly, they’ll be waiting for that cart to arrive to see what the offerings are.
Mobile drink carts can also help an operation expand its space. As we mentioned, the bar is often the most profitable part of an operation, but what if the physical bar is limited by space? Mobile bars can help increase output potential and better maximize reach. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant with a small bar to sell one-third of all it’s bar sales from a couple of roaming drink carts. If the bar is typically the most profitable center of an entire restaurant or foodservice operation, why not bring the bar to the customer?
Lastly, there’s the ability to bring the type of bar that’s most profitable to the guest. Instead of putting cheap wells on a roving beverage cart, operators have the ability to hand-select spirits, wines, and other offerings that are most profitable. This creates an enormous upselling opportunity, and if it's a house-made speciality cocktail, it's a marketing opportunity, as well.
Consider the Lakeside Mise En Place cart for use in beverage sales and tableside service. The versatility allows for an easy transition from front-of-house to back-of-house. Explore more ideas below.