Is The Internet Destroying Hospitality?

By Samuel Tripet

It’s damn hard to make a name for yourself or your business without a social media strategy these days — which raises the question,

‘Is the internet making us lazy or does it push us to be better at what we do?’

Both are correct in my opinion. Although the internet can be used as a tool for deceit and evil, I know and respect that it has many uses in our beloved industry and is hands-down one of the most important sources of knowledge and inspiration.

Today, we are lucky enough to be able to closely watch what the best bars and bartenders in the world are achieving at all times. The many talented and passionate hearts of our industry beat in unison and innovation on one side of the world can become an industry standard in no time.

Our dedication to delivering the best to our guests continues to elevate that standard and I love to wonder where we’ll be, ten years from now— knowing how far we’ve come since I started working in bars, ten years ago.

But realistically, how do we determine who’s truly delivering a great experience and who just owns a smartphone and is fluent in fluffy cocktail lingo?

It’s more common than I’d like to admit, that the cool new cocktails being posted online can, in person, be underwhelming — or worse, they don’t exist at all.

If that’s the case, can we be sure that the same thing isn’t happening with bars themselves? Is it possible that we know so much about social media and marketing now that we can fluff up an entire business to appear better than it is?

How long could a business survive with a top-tier marketing strategy but average service, average drinks and no bar hooks before anyone notices?

Does genuine hospitality actually make a bar successful or has it merely become a factor of it?

I have faith that present day bar operators are still working incredibly hard to improve their bars, their service, their drinks and their aesthetics to create better drinking experiences for the masses, but I also wonder how reliant the they are on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to get numbers through the doors — and I wonder how many businesses won’t be able to back it up with what really matters.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences going to reputable venues and quietly wondered, “Is this really in the Top 50 Best Bars list?”. I definitely have — it’s the contrast that makes it obvious.

Now, I’m not saying they aren’t ‘good’. I just think that nothing on that list should be ‘good’ — they should be much better than ‘good’. I don’t think I’m alone when I imagine a memorable drinking experience to be more than just chummy handshakes and some online hustle.

Let’s let our service, our drinks and our ideas speak for themselves and not fall into the cycle of fluffing up who we are and what we do to make friends on the internet.

Leave that to the influencers and let’s just focus on hospitality for a little while.


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