What’s the key to great customer experience? Lessons from one of the world’s leading bar tenders

Engaging customers and helping them have an outstanding experience is crucial to any successful business.

Few know this better than Tony Conigliaro, legendary bartender and Founder/Creative Director of the Drink Factory.

Tony has opened several globally-renowned bars. Most recently, Bar Termini in London’s Soho was awarded 9th spot at the World’s 50 Best Bars Awards 2017.

What can your business learn from Tony’s approach? Here are a few nuggets of inspiration that audiences have taken away from his recent talks…


At their essence, bars are about bringing people together. They are a stage set where people can create and share memorable experiences.

What, at its very essence, does your business offer customers?


Therefore, every element of the experience has to be carefully choreographed to facilitate that goal: the service – from initial greeting to goodbye – music, lighting, layout, design… the drink is only one element of that whole.

How can you design every element of your customers’ experience so they work together to fulfil your business’ offering?

Each drink is designed to trigger an experience or memory in the customer. This could be the recipe itself – “Snow” is designed to recreate the experience of catching a snowflake on your tongue; “Sicily” evokes a blistering Italian summer. Or it could be an element of the design that creates a little bit of theatre – for example the “Lipstick Rose”, with its mark on the glass.

Do your organisation’s products fully align with its core offering? How can you be creative with your products to reinforce your business’ purpose?

Simplicity and removing your ego are key – it’s not about showing off flashy techniques or cramming as many ingredients as you can into a recipe. It’s about creating a space where customers feel looked-after, safe, inspired and free to be themselves.

Which parts of your customers’ experience can you simplify? Where can you remove your ego and make the organisation more about the customer than about you?