Manchester, England knows a thing or two about drinkers. The northern English city, known for its rowdy football supporters (think ManU and ManCity), continues to be the scene of many a good “piss-up,” as the Brits like to say.
By Jane Auster
But, as everybody knows, a good piss-up can lead to crime, as Manchester was finding. Enter Best Bar None. The original Best Bar None Awards program was the brainchild of the Manchester City Centre Safe project as part of its mandate to battle alcohol-related crime. Research in that city showed that a high proportion of crime was directly or indirectly attached to licensed premises with poor management standards.
Other countries took note when the English program helped clean up the poor habits of a number of establishments and reduce alcohol-related crime.
Best Bar None is now available in parts of Canada, where it is an industry-led, international accreditation and awards program recognizing liquor sales licensees who maintain the highest operating standards in the sale and service of alcohol.
One of the biggest markets for Best Bar None, Ontario launched the program in Toronto’s Entertainment District in 2012/13, expanded throughout the downtown core and into Ottawa’s Byward Market in 2013. In Edmonton and Calgary, BBN has been awarding best bars and lounges for a few years, and is seeing robust expansion of the program.
There are no fees or payments associated with submitting an application to become a BBN accredited establishment or winning an award. And the benefits of sporting the BBN logo and using the associated marketing materials can help you raise your profile with prospective as well as existing patrons.
According to Barry MacLeod, the operations manager-guest care specialist-event coordinator for Crocodile Rock in the Toronto’s Entertainment District, “Best Bar None aims to raise the bar for operational standards in the hospitality industry, improve safety for our guests and enhance their experience by having better standards and practices in place. The program will help operators improve their policies and processes, making it easier to improve the environment for patrons and staff alike. The program … has been well received by operators, stakeholders and the public at large.”
Oliver Geddes, owner/president of Toronto’s The Fifth Inc. (The Fifth Grill & Terrace, The Fifth Social Club, Cabin Five, The Fifth Pub House & Café), agrees. “We were very receptive to be part of the BBN program as it very much falls in line with our philosophies and business practices at The Fifth. As the program evolves and becomes an industry standard, it’s my belief that there will be two very positive results: a more harmonious relationship with the police, AGCO and residential associations, and with better operating standards, the customer experience will be improved, resulting in repeat business.”
And that’s something everyone can drink to!
Top 7 benefits of participation in Best Bar None
- Positive public image
- Potential for increased patronage and profits
- Reduced alcohol-related incidents
- Improved employee morale
- Increased opportunity for free marketing
- Participating in an elite group
- Increased customer safety
Highlights of BBN Ontario’s 1st year pilot
- 83% of patrons claimed they would be likely to attend a BBN establishment
- 71% of patrons see a need for BBN
- 86% of accredited establishments were satisfied with the assessment process
For more information on joining BBN: