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How to Create the Best UX by Thinking Like a Bartender

by | Mar 19, 2018

By the 2010s, the craft cocktail movement blossomed across the country. It brought a new sense of designing and executing beverage menus and experiences. Researched menus, tuned atmospheres and curated playlists set the foundation for an underground subculture. This defined the standard for beverage programs across the country.

So, what does this have to do with UX in marketing? Surprisingly, a lot. Here are 8 important lessons I learned from bartending that also apply to UX design in marketing.

1. Know Your Audience

Many bar managers order obscure booze or create labor-intensive drink menus. Obscure booze sits dusty on a shelf because no one orders it. And guests get impatient waiting for drinks that take a long time to make.

Marketers can take these lessons to heart. Get to know your audience. Then, tailor messaging and marketing communications to their needs and preferences. All while creating a good experience that will leave the customer satisfied and wanting more.

2. Anticipate Customer Needs

A mark of good service is attentiveness. Provide something before people realize they need it. When you have an amazing dining experience, it feels like the staff can read your mind.

This philosophy applies to all forms of marketing. Understand the needs of your target audience. Use those insights to inform your decision-making and communicate with customers how, where and when they need it most.

3. Adapt Your Language and Style to the Customer

Pay attention to distinctions. Recognize communication gaps. Marketers can apply this tactic to search engine optimization (SEO). Keyword research shows what type of language customers use. This helps create content that’s understandable to your audience. Eventually, you’ll talk with everyone – in their comfort zone, on their own terms.

4. Translate Technical Terminology

Food service often uses “fancy” terms for ingredients and techniques. A diner may shy away from haricots verts and pommes puree, not realizing they’re simply green beans and mashed potatoes.

Some people ask for clarification when they come across an unfamiliar term. Yet, many people tend to avoid or skip those items. Technical terms affect usability for the customer. Marketers should use language that’s familiar. Don’t make people work too hard to understand the value of your product or service.

5. Take Care of Frequent Customers

In food and beverage, regulars are the front line of your customer base. The same goes for any business. Marketers should recognize repeat customers and get to know them. It’s more cost-effective to invest time and energy into maintaining current customers rather than gain new ones. Express interest – this upholds the authenticity of your brand and compels customers to remain loyal. Not to mention, drives future sales.

6. Onboard New Customers with User Testing

When customers feel valued, they reciprocate through a sale, a tip or a review. Customers like to try a product or service before they invest in it. Marketers should adapt as they learn about customer needs and preferences. Tailor your recommendations to what you learn about each one. Offering a sample or trial of your product or service can lead to a return on investment.

7. Build Trust Through Honesty

Professionals see many of the same people again. Negative reputations come from bad recommendations. In today’s era of fake news, people are skeptical to certain types of information. Be honest about the value your product or service provides. People will remember and trust your opinion when decision time comes.

8. Test Products and Services Regularly

Understanding what it feels like to order, receive and consume menu items during regular service hours puts you in the customer’s shoes. It’s important to consider the entire experience – from the initial appearance to final sip.

Testing is beneficial. Remember this when you create your marketing strategy. An agile approach leaves room for improvements. These are determined by which metrics drive the best results. Your main goal is to create the best product or service. All while creating a positive user experience that leads customers down the sales funnel. Marketers should target their audience with the right messaging at the right time.

When designing a good UX, you’re expected to:
• Simplify complex processes
• Be attentive to audience needs while being accessible and invisible
• Expect requests and provide solutions
• Gather information and offer recommendations based on input and research
• Interpret and respond to a spectrum of internal and external feedback


User experience is transferable across all industries. Everything comes down to how you create the best UX to build customer loyalty and ensure a return on investment. Within any industry, there’s many insights that you can generate about customer behavior. The UX development process guides marketing strategy. As a result, you create an experience that leads to a customer’s investment in your brand.

Tom Madrilejos

Tom Madrilejos, UX/UI Designer

Tom’s vast knowledge of creative, immersive technology and UX/UI guides his creative thinking. His knowledge-hungry attitude drives him to apply the most advanced ideas and solutions to creative strategies.

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