Round Table 2

The Markers of Quality Service and Hospitality.
How Do You Measure A Feeling?

Words by The Pinnacle Guide founders

Hospitality's official definition is "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers."

Its liberal use as a catch-all phrase is, without doubt, one of the greatest things about the global bar industry. The pursuit of passing that friendly and generous reception on is one of the things that unites us all. Rewarding that passion is one of the greatest privileges of The Pinnacle Guide.

But - where does one start, when one is trying to create a transparent rating system that encompasses both tangible touchpoints that we know equate to "being hospitable" and the warm fuzzy feeling that being in a great bar, with great people, great staff and great drinks evokes? We're going to give it a go.

During our recent Round Table discussion on The Markers of Quality Service and Hospitality - what became evident immediately is that the 'feeling' of hospitality can not be overlooked. It was unanimously agreed among the panelists that you should leave a bar feeling great, looked after, even "cherished". Lubrication helps with that of course, but front of house staff should be ensuring that patrons leave wanting to come back. And so how do you rate a feeling? Following feedback from our attendees - it seems a list of adjectives to choose from looks to be the fairest option, though the idea that reviewers could confirm that they recommend that venue to a friend scored pretty highly too.

Ensuring reviewers visit multiple times, across multiple shifts is intrinsic in ensuring that the emotive element of our rating system is democratic and not just subjective. Something that must be avoided at all costs if The Pinnacle Guide is to offer something new to our industry.

When it comes to the touchpoints of the customer journey, it's still a minefield, but perhaps a more manageable one. The time it takes to be greeted on arrival was a hotly discussed topic and whether that be a verbal greeting or a lifted eyebrow - any acknowledgement is seemingly appreciated. A complimentary glass of water is seen as 'basic' hospitality across the board and additional points could be added for those venues that go over and above. The time it takes to order a drink - critical - but the time it takes for the drink to arrive - less so. We're certainly not here to stifle creativity so a quickly made High Ball can't be one of the measures of 'excellence'.

The number of times a member of the floor staff check in with your table or the time it takes to receive the check are all more metrics that should be monitored by reviewers with a baseline that becomes 'industry standard' and PINNED venues going over and above these stats.

John Gakuru spoke brilliantly of his time as a TGI Friday's bartender where timelines and touchpoints are everything. TGI's quite famously used to codify the entire guest experience, from the front doors on arrival right the way through to guest departure. For example, both sets of double doors opened on guest approach with a cheery welcome by a member of the door staff. Menus delivered within 30 seconds and drinks orders taken and made within 3 minutes, with a check back after the first couple of sips. You've got to hand it to a big chain like this - there's merit in consistency. But The Pinnacle Guide should be rewarding much more than just that. And we plan to.

The purpose of this Consultancy Phase is to ask the questions and take all and every answer on board - so as always - if you have an opinion on HOW you measure hospitality, being mindful that this should be across all markets and all sizes and styles of bar - we'd love to hear.

You can get in touch with the founders directly via or book in a one-on-one zoom call via the Be Part Of The Process page at

Creating this matrix is going to take time. But that's ok - because we have time.
After all - the industry has waited this long for a Michelin-style guide to bars and we can definitely make sure we get it right.

Panelists in this session

John Gakuru

Founder and owner of Coruscent Co. A newly founded company with a vision and mission to leave the people, places and products in better shape than they found them. He's worked in the industry for 20 plus years, starting out at LAB bar back in the day. More recently, he's worked at Think Spirits in Australia and Sweet & Chilli, USA.

Anna Sebastian

Has spent the last 12 years working in hotels, including time heading up teams at The Savoy and Artesian Bar at The Langham. She's now a freelance hospitality F&B consultant and works with venues all over the world.

Moe Aljaff

One of the owners of Two Schmucks in Barcelona - the original five-star dive bar which has now expanded out to two more venues: Fat Schmuck and Lucky Schmuck.

Maura Milia

The bar manager at The Connaught Bar - currently placed at number one (for the last two years) in the World's 50 Best Bars. Maura joined the team eight years ago and has worked her way up to the role she has now.

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