The profile of bartenders is likely to go the way of celebrity chefs as the on-trade continues to diversify, Diageo director Sheyan Patel has predicted.
Discerning consumers seeking premium offerings will increadingly put their trust in the expertise and creativity of bartenders over the next decade, Patel suggested.
The Diageo Reserve customer marketing director for Europe said the biggest challenge to fulfil these customer demands was finding and training the right staff.
Patel, who began his career as a manager of All Bar One in Chiswick, said: “Premiumisaiton is well and truly on fire with spirits gaining ground on beer and wine all the time.
“The ability to have great dinging and drinking experiences has exploded. The diversification of the on trade is a massive trend.
“We’re also seeing the rise of the bartender, like we had with celebrity chefs, as the person you go and see to try their creations. I think over the next five-10 years that will continue to evolve.
“The biggest challenge for the industry is finding and training the right staff.”
Speaking at Navigating the Global Hospitality Landscape, the first in a series of panel discussions hosted by The Hakkasan Group, Patel also discussed the emergence of the “luxury nibbler” – people who cannot afford VIP experiences all the time, but like to dip their toe into luxury as and when they choose.
He also highlighted trends in cities such as Hong Kong, where people have boutique luxury celebrations in soundproof hotel suites with bartenders and DJs.
His insights were echoed by co-panellist Sue Siddall, a partner at design and innovation consultancy IDEO, who added: “Mass market companies are raising the bar in terms of luxury. With technology they’ve got to be able to get you somewhere you can’t get into.
“People are looking for experiences where they hand over control to the expert and enjoy a signature cocktail for instance.
“People want old style amazing service but they want to be relaxed and chilled out about it.”
The pair were joined by Hakkasan Group chief executive Neil Moffitt, who shared his insights and experiences running the restaurant group turned Las Vegas VIP nightclub operator.