For all the changes the food service world has seen including takeout and delivery and the impending arrival of robotics, beverages are often overlooked. Beverage dispenser based in California Backbar believes that the profitability of the drink needs to be re-looked at carefully.
With that mission in mind, the company is revolutionizing the way drinks are designed and served in high-end and casual bars and restaurants. There have been many innovations around food menus, how customers order, and front of house operations over the past few years. However, in many locations these changes are not found in beverage operations.
This is where Backbar comes in, giving clients a way to change their drink menus without having to worry about hiring and training specialist staff or storing hundreds of ingredients in the back of the bar. bar.
“At its core, the Backbar machine is a modern soda fountain,” said Rishabh Kewalramani, Backbar’s co-founder. Essentially, the machine is a four-by-six-foot soda fountain that sits behind the bar, under the counter, or at the beverage station. Instead of making drinks from concentrate, Backbar holds two shelf-stable and refrigerated items that are already brought to restaurants to get from such ingredients as coffees, cocktails, cocktails, juices, and sodas.
Their goal is to simplify the selection of the drink menu for dining patrons and restaurant staff. “We’re seeing more customers looking for healthier, fresher drink options, and that includes sparkling water and cold brew coffee,” continued Kewalramani. The backbar reduces labor and time so restaurants can focus on serving unique, on-demand drinks.
“Our aim is to serve the best in class in every beverage category,” explains Kewalramani. “We have customers serving Earl Gray old-fashioned, shaken iced espressos with brown sugar, and watermelon ginger superfood juice, all through this one machine.” They do this by increasing efficiency in three areas: work, speed, and menu. Having a machine that can make specialty coffees, cocktails, and juices at the push of a button eliminates the need for specialized beverage staff.
With Backbar, an operator can now serve cocktails at lunch without the expense of a bartender or specialty coffee at dinner without having to hire a barista. The average time it takes a machine to make a drink is 10 seconds, compared to 30 seconds for the same drink a barista or bartender would take. Because of this, bars and restaurants can now offer a full specialty coffee, juice, and cocktail menu in a four-foot space.
“If you can expand your menu and move some of the water and soda orders to higher margin categories, and do it with baseline efficiency, you can quickly make your money back on the machine,” he said. Kewalramani.
Backbar’s resetting of the industry on how to provide food and beverage service has proven to be a huge success across the country. They began beta testing in 2021 and have grown rapidly over the past two years; in 2022 they started selling the food service business, and currently have 40 units in place-and they are expected to grow 100% every quarter in the coming year.
Backbar has also been invaluable to its operational partners as units are able to gather and share sales and inventory data. That big picture data helps its customers with an important understanding of how much time it takes to make the drinks, the amount of ingredients poured into each drink, and what days it needs to be filled some ingredients.
Backbar offers their machines for 1 year lease, which includes quarterly servicing as a minimum. If something breaks down, they can send someone to service the machine in person within 24 hours for most US locations. But in the end, even if they offer a state-of-the-art product, anyone should learn to use the machine with a little training.
“There are no robotic arms or anything like that. We have a higher level of automation, but if you can use a freestyle machine, you can use it. Basically, we just want to make a better soda fountain,” concluded Kewalramani.