Portion control liquor and portion control food may achieve the same purpose, profit for the restaurateur, but portion control liquor always has a bad stigma attached to it, from the customer’s point of view. The advantage for the owner is profit for every drink, but the disadvantage is that the customer looks at it as being shorted out of a decent drink. A properly measured shot of an ounce and half is maybe two sips out of the glass. At today’s prices of $5-7 for a drink, most patrons cringe at pulling out their wallets.
Many places, such as convention centers, have this type of automatic dispensing, whether it’s in the form of metered pourers on top of the liquor bottles, or an automatic dispensing machine where the bartender places the glass full with ice, under a spout, presses a button on the register that coincides with the drink the customer ordered, and the machine does it’s job dispensing the metered amount of liquor with mix, such as 7 crown and 7 up.
As mentioned above, this type of liquor control is fine for profit motivation but the customer looks at it as a waste of money. The bartender, in this scenario, is actually not a bartender but a server or cashier. He shows no flair in making a drink, as seen in the movie “cocktail,” where Tom Cruise shows his juggling expertise with the bottles while he is in the process of making a drink. Although his performance in this movie is not indicative of all bartenders today, a good bartender must have good knowledge of an ongoing variety of drinks that are invented every day. Like a good cook or chef, a bartender must have the same expertise in his craft. The chef is a creator of his menu and a bartender is a creator of his drinks. After all, a bartender is a mixologist.
“Free pouring” is the preferred way of pouring drinks in nightclubs and many bars. This method is pouring drinks directly from the bottle to the glass. One who is sitting at the bar watching this method of pouring, might think that he is not getting the proper amount of alcohol. An experienced bartender has a method of silently counting up to 6, sending an ounce and a half of alcohol to the glass or blender. Counting to 4 sends an ounce to the glass or blender. Although some bartenders may have their own pace of counting, this is still the preferred way for most bartenders to pour drinks.
Another method of pouring drinks is using a jigger. Some bartenders prefer this method because it gives the customer an honest shot, especially when the customer is watching. Some establishments allow their bartenders to give an extra splash of liquor into the glass after filling the jigger. Whatever method is used, it’s just good business to do this.
One morning, a salesman walked into my establishment, sat at the bar and pulled out a blaze orange pourer out of his case. He asked me if I knew what it was and I replied, if it is what I think it is, to put it back in his case and leave. He proceeded to explain to me that it was a metered pourer that non alcoholic online store dispenses and ounce and a half of liquor. He went on to tell me what a great profit margin I will have if I used them. Two of my customers saw and heard the salesman pitch this to me and told me that if I implemented those pourers on my bottles, they would never come back. “Did you hear what my customers said? This is a neighborhood bar,” I told the salesman, “and putting these pourers on my bottles, would be driving a nail in my coffin.” The salesman left quietly.
In conclusion, portion control liquor has its purpose but not everywhere. Convention centers, where people may visit once or twice, may be the ideal profit center for liquor dispensing machines. Put them in a local bar or tavern, your patrons will find themselves another watering hole.