Italian bartenders represent an untapped extended sales force for drinks brands

CGA by NielsenIQ’s OPUS survey explores the influence that bartenders have on consumer choice in Italy’s venues and the consequent impact that bartender engagement can have on sales for drinks brands.

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There are many touchpoints, both digital and traditional, that influence consumer decisions in the On Premise, with 74% of Italian consumers looking at venue information online prior to visiting. Yet despite their increased use of digital menus, half of On Premise consumers don’t know what they will drink until they’re in venue, leaving a huge opportunity to influence them.


A third prefer to stick to the drinks categories or brands that they know, like and trust, with 41% who enjoy trying new/different drinks or drinks brands when they’re out. As bartenders are the final touchpoint between consumers and their purchases, these statistics underscore that bartender communication is a powerful tool in influencing consumer drinks choices.


Bartender influence is given further weight by the fact that 62% of consumers are keen to experience interaction, with 57% open to changing their mind as a result of bartender recommendations. The statistics emphasise why suppliers should be using bartenders to maximum advantage in the On Premise channel.


The research reveals specific opportunities for drinks brands to improve sales in food-led channels as consumers are most open to influence in these channels. Yet bartender recommendations have most influence in hotels and bars, demonstrating scope for driving brand relationships and advocacy in different ways across all sectors of the market.


Bartenders are primarily driven to recommend a particular product by its quality and relevance of recommendation to consumer preference. But supplier relationships, training and brand stories are also significant factors to them too which is why it’s vital that suppliers invest in these relationships. With 87% valuing supplier-led training, and 78% appreciating close relationships with brand representatives, it’s clear that drinks brands can benefit from delivering the support that bartenders are crying out for in the aftermath of unprecedented challenges over the past two years.


Graeme LoudonGraeme Loudon, managing director, EMEA said: “Bartenders play a crucial role in influencing consumer choice. And suppliers who want to tap into a ready-made extended sales force are adapting their channel strategies to maximise these opportunities.


“CGA’s OPUS research draws attention to the fact that consumer influence and bartender needs are different by outlet type. So, suppliers need to adapt their strategy to reflect and take advantage of this by tailoring content and initiatives by channel, but also must consider that bartenders’ needs differ based on a number of factors such as length of service. Food-led channels are where consumers are most open to influence, however our study suggests that more must be done by suppliers to take advantage of this. Getting bartender buy-in to sell initiatives on to consumers can put drinks brands in a great position. But bartenders need support from suppliers in order to help drive growth and brand sales and understanding what they want and how to help is key in driving successful engagement.”


CGA’s OPUS: On Premise User Survey is a nationally representative survey of 5,000 On Premise visitors, designed to help suppliers understand the ever-changing relationship between consumers, brands, categories, and channels through a single source.


OPUS research provides actionable insights into brand opportunities across the On Premise and complimented with CGA’s Bartender Study research helps suppliers develop strategies to benefit from continued brand engagement. To learn more about CGA’s research capabilities, contact Graeme Loudon at 

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