Jerry Thomas Project after lockdown
We asked Federico Tomasselli, General Manager, Simone Onorati, Head Lab, and Gregory Camillò, Head Bartender, of The Jerry Thomas Project in Rome, what changes they saw in their own bar and the local bar industry beyond lockdown. The following four points resonated the most.
360° all day service
"The bar likely to be less in trouble will be those able to offer a 360° service, form breakfast to nightlife. A future route to take for bars will also be turning local, contributing to the development of their own economy, including local products and producers."
Bars that are able to offer different products for different times of the day are more likely to success" such bars are termed chameleon bars, with different table settings, menus, lighting, music and even staff uniforms for morning, lunch, afternoon, evening and late night service. Fedrico told us, "Our concept doesn't fit to this style of bars, we are a members' club only and we do just drinks. We will try to keep doing what we do the best and stand up stronger than before. We have advanced our opening time by one hour, for the Roman early sippers, or aperitivo lovers. For them our bag of focaccia will always be available.
"Turning local is nothing rather than supporting your local terroir. From the land to the customer, helping the local community to grow. For example, for our house honey mix, we have cooperated with a company very close to us, the product is beautiful and flavourful, but most important, is local."
Help from liquor companies
"Liquor companies seem to be on the bar operators side, offering different solutions to help manage invoices and expenses."
Fedrico expended on this, telling us that many of his suppliers "have been very helpful in many different ways" but he particularly singled out a reduction in the minimum spend for placing orders; free stock; spreading instalments and encouraging bars to buy from local suppliers as being particularly helpful.
Giving more for less
"We don't really believe our role in the society as bartenders will change that much in the future. That said, business and incomes will decrease a lot. Less customers will give us more time to do what we are supposed to do, hospitality. The guest will be the center of everything again."
I asked about the economics of giving better service to less customers and whether he thought customers would be prepared to pay more to make this financially viable. To the contrary, he said, "We don't really think customers should pay more to have the same product as before. We didn't increase prices, instead added an extra price range of drinks, slightly lower than our average price. It's going to be very easy, less spending power from the people, more selection and attention to the quality and better service."
The magical buzz of a busy bar
"What we really miss is the bar magic. A perfect mix of emotions, laughs, music and friendship. That's what we are all looking for."
"Bars are made of People. We are a very cosy bar, but still quite busy, so the vibe is pretty much quite lively all the time. Our bar is a kind of living room, people feel at home, so they show the best side of themselves, and sometime even their worst. I wish it was a buzz, it's actually a real live show! Customers and bartenders together sharing the best moments, having fun, inebriated by few sips of their favourite house drinks and soundtracks. How do we remind people? Simply providing the best experience as possible, on the other side, bar is that magical place able to bring you in a different dimension, helping escape from reality and everyday troubles."
If you are a bar owner and would like to contribute to Bar Entrepreneur Frontline please email me at Simon@DiffordsGuide.com. Thanks to support from Havana Club all published contributions will be paid for, with a matching amount donated to The Drinks Trust charity (formerly The Benevolent), or a local hospitality charity of your choice.