Cocktails Paired With A Story

Here at Coterie, we’re all about educating hospitality professionals about how to apply the latest marketing trends and techniques into their businesses. If you’ve been following us for a while, by now you will have learned various important theories. However, to go from theory to applying it to your company, it helps to be inspired. That’s why we’re always sourcing great examples for you! 

Some of the key elements you may know about by now include:

  • To share stories to make customers feel connected to your brand
  • To use video content for higher reach and engagementCustomer
  • Customer like to be educated about things they’re interested inCustomers want to be entertained
  • Customers want to be entertained

Foodable TV interviewed Jake Valianes, owner and bar manager at Linwood Essentials in Toronto and it is a great example of how to combine all 4 elements. The stories behind the cocktails give the viewer the idea that they are getting to know Jake and his bar. They make great use of video and by showing how to cocktails are made, the viewers get both educated and entertained.

Read the full article & watch the video for inspiration!

“The idea for a lot of the cocktails I freestyle comes down to a simple ratio: equal parts strong, sweet, sour, herbacious,” says Jake Valianes, owner and bar manager at Linwood Essentials in Toronto.

Like many people in the industry, Valianes started from the bottom at a young age — washing dishes, then bussing tables — and worked his way up — to serving, then bar management — before opening a place of his own. Though, his experience behind the bar actually came out of error. “My first ever night managing on a Saturday night, super busy, it started raining, and that usually means we’re super slow, so I cut 90 percent of the staff that night,” he says. “And then we got slammed. So I had to hop on the bar out of necessity, and that’s how I got started.”

The idea of opening Linwood Essentials stemmed from two things: travel and the realization that Toronto doesn’t have many great cocktail bars. “Before I opened, I did a whole bunch of traveling all around the world,” says Valianes. “I went to as many great cocktail bars as I possibly could. I learned as much as I could from every single one of those bars. I just wanted to take everything I learned and open my own bar here with all that knowledge. Toronto doesn’t have very many cocktail bars, so I wanted to bring as much great knowledge of cocktails to this bar as I possibly could.”

In this “Across the Bar” episode, host and Foodable founder Paul Barron imbibes three of Valianes best cocktail creations and gets the background on each.

Cocktail No. 1: Dr. V’s Magical Quick Fixer Elixer

“I wanted to do a cocktail with snake oil, much like an Old West traveling salesman, but that’s not a real thing, so I kind of improvised from there,” Valianes says. The drink comes in a medicine-like bottle, enveloped in a box to match. Comprised of Amaro Montenegro, Becherovka (an herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic), Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and sparkling wine, Barron describes the drink as “refreshing” and “balanced.”

Cocktail No. 2: The Bitter Ballad of Timothy Grapefruit

The name itself may make your lips pucker with assumptions of sourness. This cocktail has “an interesting silkiness to it,” notes Barron. Valianes says there’s two ingredients that contribute to this: an IPA caramel (“It’s a caramel that we make out of American IPA… definitely going to add a nice thick texture to it”) and Aperol-infused Aperol. “We take a whole bottle of Aperol, throw it in the dehydrator until it turns to crystals — pure crystals, no liquid. Take those crystals, add it to a normal bottle of hydrated Aperol, and combine it until it’s Aperol-infused Aperol.” This adds a lot of sweetness and bitterness to the drink, which comes with a story pinned to the glass. Aside from the Aperol-infused Aperol and IPA caramel, this cocktail is also made up of Linwood Grapefruit liqueur and Cocchi Americano.

Cocktail No. 3: One Wild Night in the East Village

Outfitted in a tiki mug, Valianes admits this is a more elaborate drink ingredient-wise, but for good reason. “Every single ingredient in this drink corresponds to a different bar in the East Village,” one of his favorite cocktail destinations in the world. The mace-infused Bols Genever represents the cocktail bar Mace, Cazadores Reposado tequila represents Mayahuel, Linwood Amargo blend for Amor y Amargo, PX Sherry and Yellow Chartreuse for Pouring Ribbons, Yuzu for Angel’s Share, lime juice for balance, and Flander’s Red Ale to represent Proletariat. The cocktail, topped with a mini hotdog-looking gummy, represents PDT (a bar hidden inside a hotdog joint), and the tiki mug to represent the tiki bar Mother of Pearl.

“We want people to experience a different style of drinking here,” says Valianes. “Cocktails should be fun. People are definitely looking for more spirit-forward cocktails.”

“I think people just get bored of the same old, normal stuff and they want to advance their palates, they want to taste new things, they want to better themselves for the industry, they want to just make a better product, and they want to be better than they were before, and that’s a major driver in the industry,” he says.

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3 Tips to Lower Your Promotion Costs- Partnering With Your Food & Beverage Suppliers

 “Partnering has proven itself one of the most powerful business tools for dealing with fast changing markets, technologies and customers.
As the global economy speeds up, partnering is becoming the weapon of choice for today’s successful competitors.”

Curtis E. Sahakian

Creating Strategic Partnerships isn’t just for the purpose of working with other businesses to add to your Prospect and Customer List, it is also about gaining a competitive advantage through adding value to your new and existing customers by offering exclusive access to product and service offers, but sharing the value delivery with your new partners.
Having worked in and around the hospitality industry for 15 years, 8 years working in the liquor industry combined with Diageo and Premium Wine Brands, I’d like to take this time to encourage you to look at your supplier relationships as partnership opportunities rather than just a transactional sales process.
 With the Coterie program, we have adopted this new approach for the mere fact that there are just so many untapped opportunities right under the noses in hospitality – where we can start pulling together – creating activities that deliver higher impact within hospitality businesses – customers spending more money – and both hospitality businesses and suppliers driving more sales equally.
So why don’t we operate like this?  Perhaps it is a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know”?  There is a bit of laziness from suppliers working in the On-Premise, from time to time – I’ve seen it for years – but it doesn’t have to be like that.  Suppliers need to get on board and work with you as a business advisor, not a sales person.  And hospitality businesses, it is absolutely advantageous to start to acquire the business knowledge of development and negotiation, and run your program planning regularly and 3-6 months in advance.
Three KEY areas for partnering with your suppliers:


1. Promotion Calendar

In order to run an efficient business you must be planning your customer activity calendar 3-6 months in advance.  Once you map out your ‘game plan’ this allows you to streamline ‘who does what’, set reminders plus start to communicate with your customers in advance.

And the great advantage when you plan in advance, you can start to go and talk to your suppliers ‘in advance’ negotiating better pricing, advertising and promotion support, and give both teams an opportunity to integrate each others calendars for optimal results.  You start to eradicate the supplier ‘one size fits all’ offers, no room to move but you need something so you take what you can get – confound – and start to set some goals ‘together’ which makes both parties accountable to ‘get the results’.

By mapping out your calendars, it not only gives you and your team a vision of where you are wanting to go, but it puts you in a position of power.  What do suppliers ultimately need?  Stock bought and stock sold.  When you have key activities that support their KPI’s, you will be surprised how many companies will want to come on board.  But have a little shop around.  You need to ensure (just like any partnership) that you are partnering with suppliers that have ‘your’ objectives in ‘their’ picture and they are genuinely there to walk the journey with you and support you.
  1. Identify your key brands – there’s no point partnering with a supplier who has brands your customers are not interested in
  2. Identify your suppliers that work with you, not ‘sell’ to you
  3. Have meetings with your suppliers and show them your calendar – let the suppliers start to bid for your business.  You’ll learn soon enough who is there to help.
         KEY NOTE This is a partnership strategy so be sure not to go in and dictate and drive aggressive requests either

2. Events

Events are a great way to get volume sales and wider audience customer awareness and engagement.  One thing that I loathed when working in the liquor industry, venue’s putting in requests:

 “Will you sponsor our event with X amount of stock?  We’ll put your logo on the flyer”  …………………….
Heard that before?  Said that before?  What is absolutely imperative is you start to learn – understand – and negotiate from an angle of how both parties will sell the most product and make the most profit.  Yes, BOTH of you!  When you can start to break these down, your support offering (I can ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE) will become greater.  If suppliers can see that you are going to drive them sales, not just put logo up on a flyer, they will spend and invest.
  1. Offer suppliers exclusive brand representation
    1. Logo’s
    2. Editorial write up
  2. Open up other channels for product promotion during the advertising period for the event – this is only going to drive more sales for your business too
    1. For example – Feature wine
      1. Back bar displays
      2. Social Media Adverstising – price point, product story, website and Facebook banner images
      3. Table/Menu talkers
  3. Run a feature campaign on your social media “In Partnership with X brand, we are running a promotion for the month of July for the launch of our X event”.By advertising you have a ‘partnership’ you not only leverage off another brand, it gives your business credibility and communicates that you are a serious business working to create exciting activity for your customers.
  4. Discuss with your suppliers how they too could advertise your event back into their community promoting your event and their business activity.
3. Campaigns
SP blog-cheers and beersImage cred: Coterie Australia
 When I was working for Scoopon Advertising – Online Daily Deals – I adopted this way of doing business.  Again, this is a great opportunity to negotiate with your suppliers because it drives a better test and measure approach.
Back in the day of my Key Account Management at Premium Wine Brands, setting up Wine Of The Month in On-Premise, it was all about ‘get a promotion slot and then you have to give stock up front’.  Unfortunately, at times, it was only the stock up front that was sold, this resulting in no profit for the suppliers.  Suppliers are going to become very disillusioned and stop putting their hands in their pocket if it’s not working for them.
No matter what, advertising costs money and you must keep your suppliers understanding this when they are doing their numbers with you.  But when you can package up your campaigns that show that they will receive sales on the front end – goodbye ‘shot in the dark’ offer.
Let’s take a look at a campaign example:
Meal Experience for TWO
x2 Appetizers
x2 Main Meals
x2 desserts
x1 bottle of X wine
PLUS a $5 return voucher for your next (X bottle) of wine
$69 valued at $135 
Key Notes
  • Suppliers get exclusive product advertising and product sales
  • There is a return voucher – specifically for the brand used in your campaign – so you know that you will be driving more sales for your suppliers once the campaign has finished
  • Promote the wine across other channels
  • By educating your customers on knowing ‘what they are drinking’ is key to build ongoing sales and brand loyalty – YOUR TEAM is an extra educational sales arm to a suppliers brand and business.
  • Redeeming campaign vouchers allows you to record exactly how many bottles were sold – this gives you an effective test and measure strategy for future promotions
By adopting this methodology – measurement scheme – your business is in a position to quantify, forecast, and negotiate either stock up front or advertising dollars for your campaigns.  However; it is much more cost effective for suppliers to utilise stock for advertising support and therefore leverage this to absorb costs and turn them into Return On Investments for both of you.
Strategic Partnerships is the money maker in business.  It not only reduces your outgoing costs, gives you access to a wider market with more interesting value offerings …………….. it really does make business more interesting and fun!
Trying to find other businesses can take a while to build the rapport, but as I always like to say …………….. “Go for the low hanging fruit first!”
Your suppliers are already there, so start to work together because they too have Key Performance Indicators to achieve.  Think of it this way ….. “How can I make my Sales Representative look good?”, and from there start building together.
But SHOP AROUND!!! No supplier deserves your business if they are not going to be there to help you ‘grow’ yours.
SP-2Image cred: blogasiainfo



Get in Touch

with the team at Coterie

Would you love more FREE Business and Marketing TIPS, we’d love you to join our Hospitality Marketing Community: {CLICK HERE}

We’d love for you to share your thoughts and opinions…

Education – Entertainment- Engagement

3 key ingredients to creating your very own DIY snackable, highly shareable videos for your hospitality business.


FIRSTLY, my FAAAAAAV cocktail – Espresso Martinis! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, nightcap …… any hour is a good hour for me!! And BOY OH BOY do we have some of the BEST made in Melbourne, Australia.



You too can create video content like this in your hospitality business ….


If you had a process to follow, steps to create your content, support to do your own editing and a road map on where to distribute on your customer communication channels …..


Would you step up and start incorporating video into your marketing strategy?


There has never been a better time to start using video in your messaging, promotions, profit plan …..
  • Filming equipment resources right under your nose, in your hand, attached to your ear
  • Actor talent right inside your business
  • Cost effective design resources
  • Videography capabilities literally in all of us …….
Do you want to explore the 3 ‘E’s’ ???
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Engagement
If I showed you how you ABSOLUTELY can do all of this, yourself …….


Are you interested for me to show you – easy steps, easy process, super cost effective …..


Or do you just HATE the thought of customer loyalty, repeat business, high online exposure/traffic to your business, and lots of food and drink sales ……….


Your thoughts? Share them with me ….


Would you love more FREE Business and Marketing TIPS, we’d love you to join our Hospitality Marketing Community



Tip for Hospitality Tips

Are you receiving monetary tips in your job/business? Good chance you and your team are doing something to impress your customers whether it be at large scale or simply doing what is expected, but really well …….


This is a point in the customer sales journey of breeding loyalty, return business and referring their friends and family ….. Cash-flow /PROFIT


We must ALWAYS be looking for opportunities to get your community onto your system, being your ‘customer list’.
Why, you may ask? So you have a way to get back in touch with them any time YOU want!!


If you have people that already LOVE what you do, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY your bread and butter people who you should be spending your marketing time and money on.


Have a basic membership signup that you can offer tipping customers to join your VIP Membership to receive:
  • Exclusive offers
  • First dibs event tickets
  • Access to other offers with businesses in your local community that you will partner with …… yes, I can teach you how to partner with other business for ROCKSTAR business growth
  • Helping them relax – have fun – outside of their own hustle and bustle
Make sure you recognise, capitalise and nurture the customers that are publicly indicating they are happy with the product and service your venue provides …….BUILD that connection and GET THEM BACK IN YOUR HOSPITALITY VENUE <insert inspired tone>


Starting with tipping customers.


Do you want to learn how to build out an exciting membership to bring:
  • More customer;
  • Have them spending more money
  • Customers that refer their friends and family
Would you love more FREE Business and Marketing TIPS, we’d love you to join our Hospitality Marketing Community: {CLICK HERE}

HOT TIP: Adding the extra 1%

HOT TIP: Adding the extra 1% 


When I was in London for business I had the pleasure of staying with the Sofitel St James. A true treat to stay with the team and what a visual stunner central London is ….


Have you ever been?


Sadly my trip came to an end. On the last evening (having returned from my first experience at the Shangri-La Hotel – WHAT A VIEW! I returned to my room with a hand written letter from the Director Of Guest Experience at the Sofitel London and a London Bus Souvenir.


THAT’S what it’s all about. The extra ‘unexpected’ 1%. There are subtle, small (big if you choose) inclusions that you can add in your service and product offering to ‘stand out’ and ‘connect’ beyond making money.


I am all about educating how to Create Customers For Life. Sofitel London are about maximizing the Customer Experience – like-mindedness is FABULOUS……


However; this is a tip for your business to stand out, build your brand, build your community, get people talking about your business.


Do you have anything currently in place that over exceeds your customers expectations …. the extra 1%
1% can go a LONG way …..


Would you love more FREE Business and Marketing TIPS, we’d love you to join our Hospitality Marketing Community: {CLICK HERE}

Social Media Gold Nugget Strategy Session – Facebook & Instagram

Welcome to our first Coterie TV strategy session – Facebook & Instagram
So often we can feel frustrated that we aren’t getting the results we want with our social media and feel that it is OUR business that has the problem, or it is our fault.  Carrie and Mark are here to show you what you might be doing wrong and LOADS of tips to BOOST your social media right in the direction you want ………….. more customers, more engagement, more PROFIT!!
This is a recording for you and your team to watch at your leisure: stop-start note taking.

Take lots of notes!!!!

We will get back in touch with you shortly to see how you are going.  If you have any questions drop us a line – details at the end of the session.


Carrie, Mark and The Team at Coterie

HOT TIPS: Building Your Customer List That Makes Your Marketing Easier and Grows Your Bank Account

With a continued – for lack of a better word – epidemic – in business, the lack of focus on building and/or nurturing a Customer List, I wanted to touch base with you on the importance of a Customer List for your hospitality business, and offer you some tips to get you started. Getting started is the first major step to the process, and building the right strategies to use it will begin once the foundation is laid – much the same as building a house, you need the concrete platform before the structure takes place.

Here are some philosophies that we use with our hospitality clients at Coterie:

‘PROFIT’ comes from existing customers, but if you don’t know where you have been, you will not know where you are going.

Please ask yourself these questions ……
  • “Do I want to get a new customer once and turn them into a customer forever?”
  • “Do I want to set up a marketing strategy once that brings profitable customers back my hospitality venue forever?”
  • “Do I want to build a strong platform in my business that creates a passive income – a business that makes money without me in it – on tasks – brings more customers to my venue, they spend more money, and they bring their family and friends?”

If you have answered all questions ‘YES’ then allow your business to achieve the results it deserves by organizing and systematizing the business for an easy flow operation.

If it’s not on a database, it didn’t happen!

A good database should be treated as your bank account. “Why?” you might ask ………

It is because the most important part of your business in relation to making profit is your customer lists. If your venue has customers that love you, you must have the ability to get in contact with them, talk to them and create a ‘need’ for them to come back, otherwise your business has to wait for the customers to find you. A good database will assist you to talk to customers that are already spending money in your venue, and make it one trillion, yes that’s right, ONE TRILLION times easier to increase your cash flow.

Your hospitality business must have the customers that you want! So if you are attracting the wrong customers, it is important to identify this, and send them to your competitors. No one’s hospitality business can survive on customers that are always looking for a discount, haggling down on price, or attracting minimum spend.

Two Databases_Client Image.1


Basic information tips to start building your customer list – database:

  1.  Name – first and last
  2. Mailing address
  3. Post code
  4. Mobile phone number
  5. Email address

Advanced customer information that will help you create targeted marketing/promotions specifically designed around their interests:

  1.  Family – partner, spouse, children
  2. Pets
  3. Favourite sporting team
  4. Favourite music
  5. Hobbies

Suggested tools to help you start to build your customer list and database marketing:

  • Coterie Australia Database Management spreadsheet template
    • Formulated Excel spreadsheet that allows you to record customer information and their monthly purchases
    • Database Management spreadsheet ‘how to use’ guide
    • Coterie Member price $49 plus GST – Valued at $250
      • Not a member?  Sign up for a Free Membership and access your $49 voucher  – need to get the opt in sorted for this

The two listed above are the marketing tools commonly recommended for small businesses.  Some hospitality businesses cannot plug-in to their Point Of Sale System so be sure to chat with your provider.

First things first, it is IMPERATIVE that you ask your Point Of Sale provider where your database system is, what it does, and how you can do your marketing through their system.

Google search bar– ”Free email marketing software” – if you’re wanting to look at more options, simply type into the search bar and have a look around.

Just start to build your customer list, even if you don’t know what you are going to do with it yet.

Free business tools are great to get you started, but please view it much the same as protecting your hotel cash flow.  Running free email software is like putting your money in a safe in your hotel. Paying bank fees for a safe bank account, and working with a bank manager on suitable interest rates and strategies to grow your money …………………………….. this is the same philosophy on working with business experts when it comes to your marketing, to grow your profit.

Have fun growing your list of customers, finding out more about them, which leads into loads more fun in designing your marketing …………

Business is meant to be, and should be fun. And of course, business is fun when you’re making PROFIT!!

If you’d like to design and set up long-term marketing specifically designed for your hospitality business, please get in touch with us at Coterie – There has never been a better time than now to work in the hospitality industry – love flying the hospitality flag – and be part of a hospitality business that you want!!!

  • Increase customers
  • Have your customers spending more money in your business
  • Free up your time

I look forward to chatting with you soon, learning how your customer lists are coming along 🙂



 Feature image cred:


Get in Touch with the team at Coterie

Would you love more FREE Business and Marketing TIPS, we’d love you to join our Hospitality Marketing Community: {CLICK HERE}

We’d love for you to share your thoughts and opinions…

Your Hospitality Marketing Academy Membership

What you will receive in your Hospitality Marketing Academy Membership




Monthly newsletters

  • Company updates
  • Industry updates
  • Industry insights – short interviews with market experts
  • A bit of fun humour and interaction

Monthly detailed hints and tips on better business

  • We understand that good business has a greater reach than marketing solutions, and therefore through our partners, we will provide extended insights on additional business sectors that will benefit your hospitality business

Weekly interesting business facts from around the world, back-dating in time

Access to our Soap Box blogs

  • Coterie TV – our media channel bringing to you cool, real time hospitality footage, interviews, Coterie on the streets
  • Company and guest blogs
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Advertising – an opportunity to chat with us and pitch advertising your business to our community database. That’s right, we will consider partnering with you and giving you access to our database. If the product or service is right, we can assist you in designing a promotional campaign.

Special deals – we are always looking to give extra value to our clients by sourcing new ideas to grow your business.  Like you, we too are looking for better technology, better systems, creative tools and with all of our research – ongoing education – we will pass on all that we know to you and your team.


DON’T MISS OUT!!! Your Hospitality business could be the winner of Facebook and/or Instagram advertising!!





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If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t miss out, LOADS of value and goodies waiting for your hospitality business!!

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Keen to check out what Key Leaders – globally recognised as some of the most successful Start-Up Entrepreneurs in the world – say about the impact Education has had on their success?  Check out the blog for some light reading.


We look forward to catching you tomorrow!!!


Carrie, Mark and Doyle – Team Coterie


Mark        Carrie         Doyle