Bartenders told Technomic that familiarity and product knowledge are key influencers in what they sell at the bar. They also believe that bartenders’ influence on customers’ drink choice far exceeds the combined influence of advertising, displays and other promotional efforts. The survey findings indicate that adult beverage suppliers have an important opportunity to leverage sales of their brands by working more closely with bartenders, providing more training and product knowledge, and shaping their brand preferences.

The survey also found that bartenders are relatively well-trained and experienced, with average job tenure of four to five years. While higher check averages may lead to better tips, bartenders acknowledge that this is not always a primary motivator. Ease of use, including fewer ingredients and convenient mixers, are also attractive features, as are drinks that keep them “on trend.”

These and other findings were presented to clients at a recent meeting of Technomic’s Adult Beverage Insights Group, a sponsored research program that includes the “Who’s Who” of on-premise beverage alcohol suppliers. The survey data was compiled from the new BarTrender online panel of nearly 800 bartenders representing all key on-premise segments, including restaurants, neighborhood bars, nightclubs, and hotels/resorts.