The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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20  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2016 BUSINESS SOLUTIONS F inding the right consultant that understands your vision and scope of the project is crucial for the success of your business. I recently spent some time with (and asked a few questions of) one of the top bever- age consulting teams in the country, Proprietors LLC, during their Las Vegas consulting project for Chef Alain Ducasse's Skyfall Lounge at The Delano. Established in 2007 by Alex Day and David Kaplan—with Devon Tarby also joining as a partner— Proprietors focuses on three core areas: building beverage programs for clients; consult- ing on flavors, formulations, strategy, marketing and branding for beverage companies; and managing Proprietors LLC partner-owned bars. Francesco Lafranconi: Why should a food and beverage company hire you? David Kaplan: I think our insight as owner-operators of multiple venues, multiple concepts in two different major cities really sets us apart. Devon Tarby: So much of opening a bar has to do with trial and error—at this point, with over two dozen openings under our belts, we've worked through a lot of those kinks and are able to guide the process from a much more efficient starting place. Alex Day: We don't make the work about us—our goal is to heighten and articulate the client's passion. Devon, as a former full time bartender/mixologist, what would you wish your employer would have implemented in the work place for you and the rest of the staff? DT: Executing great cocktails is one thing, but creating recipes is something else entirely. Holding structured development workshops where staff can practice recipe development can be hugely beneficial to creative minds behind the bar. David, what is the minimum time necessary to bring some basic changes in a restaurant bar environment? DK: When we do go in to an existing establishment, we work diligently to ensure the ownership and manage- ment is truly invested to bring about change. Typically, it's at least three months for real change to occur and six or more for things to really take off in a different direction. Alex, due to the evolving drinking dynamics and trends, what are the new gadgets and work station modules that operators should have these days included in their budgets? AD: There are some basic require- ments we have for any workable station, most of which have very little to do with specific equipment as they do with how we anticipate the bartender will navigate a space. A bar station should be a cockpit—you need to be able to reach everything with ease. We aim at building pivot-point bars wherein the bartender doesn't have to move more than one step to get everything they need. That said, sous vide technology has become indispensable to our prep—we use it for almost all of our syrups and a lot of our low-temp infusions. Team, when you create your recipes, do you have a roof for pour costs? If so, what is it? We always work with our clients to ensure we're on target for their projections—typically around 18%, but we don't shy away from lower. There are great spirits out there at a range of prices, each that can work with a differ- ent type of beverage program. Working Smarter, Not Harder PROPRIETORS LLC WANTS TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE, ONE BAR AND SPIRITS COMPANY AT A TIME by Francesco Lafranconi Proprietors LLC's team: David Kaplan, Devon Tarby and Alex Day. PHOTO: MICHAEL GASKELL

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