In the dim and distant past before I joined SARD, I used to work in the drinks industry and, for some of that, in drinks marketing. In the brief periods when I wasn’t too hungover to appreciate it, this time gave me some fascinating insights. One has come up again recently as we discuss our approach to the SARD systems: the concept of ‘The Perfect Serve.’
When a new drink is launched to the market, even if it is in an existing genre, you have to make it both interesting and accessible. How do you persuade a bar they can sell a gin to all their customers at once, when some people like theirs with tonic, some in a Martini, some with orange, some only if it’s part of something hideous like a Long Island Iced Tea? All those choices are valid (except maybe the last one, who really likes those?) and you want everyone to buy and enjoy your product. But they are very different needs; the brief is impossibly large.
So you don’t try to market to all those people at once. You use your expertise and knowledge of the product’s strengths to develop an optimal, signature serving suggestion - you create ‘The Perfect Serve.’ The perfect serve is accessible, not too challenging and simple to present. Crucially, it’s calculated to give bartenders a shortcut to the best way to show off your new drink to customers who haven’t tried it before. This doesn’t exclude those who want to go off-piste - people who know they only like their gin with lemonade will ask for it anyway, no harm done.
Some well-known perfect serves include:
- Jamesons Whiskey with apple juice
- Hendricks Gin with tonic and a slice of cucumber
- Pimms with lemonade and fruit
- Magners Cider in a big glass full of ice.
Magners is particularly interesting because they arguably managed to reinvent the cider market with their perfect serve. When they launched in the UK, cider was something drunk in warm pints by old men and Devonshire farmers. The only young people who drank cider were chugging White Lightning from plastic bottles on a park bench. Needing to differentiate themselves, Magners came up with the idea of putting loads of ice in the glass first, which not only made their cider nice and chilled and more sophisticated-tasting, it also looked great in their adverts and made everyone thirsty. (Plus, due to the Weights and Measures acts, when Bulmers later brought out the first over-ice draught it had to be served in specially big branded glasses, which was pretty clever too, but I digress).
Soon everyone wanted ice in their cider and a whole new audience of cider drinkers were born.
Some brands make a big thing out of deliberately not having a perfect serve, but presenting as infinitely customisable. ‘What might be perfect for us, is not for you - your choices are endless.’
But we already know our choices are endless. There’s no gin police (if there were they would outlaw the Long Island Iced Tea). If you already know a bit about gin, you’ll be happy to match the botanicals with just the right mixer to make it work for you. However I would argue that it would be much more helpful to the gin novice if they said “we know our product better than anyone, and we think this is the best starting point to enjoy it”, and cut down the customer’s journey to a deliciously optimised beverage.
I won’t name the brand that I paraphrased that quote from. Partly because I can’t remember their name, as I’d not heard of it before.
But I have heard of Hendricks, and I bet you have too, and you know how to drink it so it tastes the best:
So what has that got to do with workforce software? Pop that drink down for a sec and I’ll tell you.
SARD’s software is super customisable and has the capability to do a whole lot, depending on your needs. But when presented with a baffling list of mixers, how can you be sure that you’re choosing the ones that best suit you? And, hang on, what are you paying the bartender for? We know SARD’s ingredients better than anyone and with over a decade of experience of what our customers want, we now know how to mix and present you the optimum version of SARD from the get-go.
You can still change it up - you want SARD with lemonade instead of tonic? You got it. We have a whole book of recipes. But it’s our job to make sure that we can present you with The SARD Perfect Serve to begin with so that you can get stuck in to a delicious dri…er, really excellent software system with the minimum of fuss.
To extend the metaphor to breaking point - if you show them the menu the NHS will always choose the Long Island Iced Tea because it’s got the most stuff in it, but the quality and nuance of the ingredients are swamped by each other, it costs a fortune, and doesn’t even taste very nice. What they really need is for a brilliant bartender to expertly mix them a perfectly balanced Martini - and then just ask if they want an olive or a twist.
And don’t forget to please drink responsibly.