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The Future of Bar Design is Now

By: Kyle Forman – Vice President: Krowne Metal Corp

The Past           

Bar design has come a long way in the past two decades. What began as napkin sketches and drafts on graph paper has quickly transformed to adapt to the modern digital era. Following graph paper, the next bar design “innovation” was magnets on a board, then

2D AutoCAD®, then things stagnated for a while. However, in the past few years market leaders have separated themselves by offering innovative digital design solutions that elevate the bar design experience.

Design Solutions The first catalyst for change following AutoCAD® was Revit® with 3D isometric design solutions. Despite the advancement, Revit® hasn’t overtaken AutoCAD® in popularity in the foodservice world due to the expenses and extensive training required to adapt. Krowne has proactively addressed this with free digital solutions like BarFlex3D which allow users without AutoCAD® or Revit® access and training to configure their perfect bar instantly on the web.

This tool provides a massive advantage by giving the user fully rotational 3D renderings as they design so they can precisely comprehend and manipulate their layout as needed. It also provides instant Revit® and AutoCAD® drawings directly to the user’s inbox upon submission without any interaction in either of those software packages. This is essential for dealers and consultants that want to efficiently design bars for their clients in an intuitive, simple app without having to redouble their efforts re-creating them in Revit® or AutoCAD®.

Welcome to the Digital World But this is not the end of the road for bar design. As Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality become more accessible to the public, the demand for these services increases. Instead of purchasing your equipment based on 2D drawings, what better way to to test your bar environment then to physically walk through your bar layout in a virtual world. Well, with modern technology this is now possible. Krowne has paved the way by offering free virtual reality bar demos configured to your layout for any project. This has been enormously successful because it allows clients to clearly comprehend their layout and identify

potential bottlenecks or areas for improvement prior to signing off on a design. Krowne also recruited a former video game programmer to make the environment interactive to replicate the bartending experience. This creates a fully immersive bartending simulation that allows the user to interact with equipment, pick up bottles and glasses, and open cabinets in a digital world. This level of interaction takes virtual reality to the next level by allowing the team at Krowne to conduct efficiency studies based on the user’s movements during the creation of cocktails in the virtual demo. These studies are used to proactively address design changes tailored to each bar to maximize productivity in the real world.

Zero-Step Design

The focus on efficiency behind the bar has exploded in demand over the last decade. Previously, the bar was often ignored by restaurant owners in favor of the kitchen layout. As bar programs continue their expansion in complexity, the bar layout has become a central focus for many proprietors. It is vital that every single step in the bartender’s workflow has been methodically measured to ensure that no time is wasted behind the bar. Krowne’s “Zero-Step Design Approach” thoroughly addresses this by ensuring that any cocktail can be created without taking a single step behind the bar. It is widely known that the bar is the most profitable part of a restaurant’s operations. This is critical to understand during the design phase because every footstep eliminated results in additional profits from extra drinks sold. The “Zero-Step Design Approach” follows a rigid set of rules created by Krowne’s expert design team and a group of world-class bartenders. First, the specific bar program is used to understand the unique needs of that bar. This information is utilized to tailor the equipment and accessories needed to house every ingredient in a single workstation. The layout of the equipment is then created based on achieving a design that eliminates all footsteps while making any drink on the menu. The final test is making a virtual drink in our VR environment. If every drink can be efficiently prepared without taking a single step, then an optimal layout has been achieved for that bar.

Rules of the Game Specialty underbar equipment designed for craft cocktail environments has grown dramatically. More complex drinks require more complex bar setups to house the tools and ingredients required. For example, a craft cocktail bar typically uses muddlers, peelers, shakers, jiggers, mixing glasses, bar spoons, strainers, and a dipper well with an integrated faucet built into the bar station is perfect to house and rinse most of these tools. For items like jiggers and mixing glasses, a push-activation speed rinser is essential for quick rinsing to eliminate contaminants when switching between ingredients and liquors. Cutting boards built into bar stations are another great way to save time by allowing quick garnish and ingredient prep in the zero-step zone. Integrating garnish stations into the back of ice bins are an excellent solution to store important ingredients within immediate proximity by utilizing dead space to keep garnishes chilled, fresh and accessible. Adjustable stainless dividers within the ice bin create an organized ice storage solution for different types of ice often required in creative bar programs. Dedicated “cheater” bottle storage areas are crucial in workstations as most bartenders depend on these for a wide variety of cocktails. “Cheaters” are generally unlabeled clear glass bottles containing bitters, syrups, juices and liquor used for quick pouring. Liquor storage is the last key component and the approach to it has changed drastically in the past decade. Grabbing liquor from the backbar is simply inefficient and no longer seen in bar design. It adds footsteps, requires the bartender to turn away from customers, and can lead to repetitive stress injuries (RSI’s) resulting from leaning over the backbar to find different liquor bottles. Space maximizing solutions like 5-step liquor displays and speed rails are critical to allow bartenders to maximize liquor storage directly in front of them. In summary, the goal is to eliminate every footstep from the drink making process while allowing bartenders to fluidly interact with customers throughout the entire process. There are many moving pieces, but the good news is Krowne’s expert team of professional designers is here to do the work for you.

The future of bar design is full of changes and right now it has never looked better!

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