If you’re managing a bar and are lost in a sea of disorganization and piles of tasks you don’t know where to start on, then you might want to keep reading to learn the insider tips for running a bar.
1. Believe in what you do
The number one rule to anything really is believing in what you do and having a passion for it. Being a bar manager isn’t easy—it takes a lot of elbow grease and a fire in your belly to stay motivated even when things go south. If you’re in this profession because you think it’s glamorous, then you’re in the wrong field. If you’re in it because you truly believe it’s where you’re meant to be and you love what you do, then let everything you do exude just that. Have a positive attitude, and lead by example so your staff can see exactly how it should be done.
2. Deliver more than just drinks and food
Running a bar isn’t just about serving up beer, wine and mixed drinks or offering up delicious bar food—it's about creating a total experience for your guests. Figure out what your guests really enjoy—is it trivia? Live music? Contests? Watch parties? Once you know what they enjoy make sure you give it to them. Schedule a weekly trivia night that offers prizes or watch parties for different sporting events that bring the community together. Whatever the opportunity is that’s a good fit, make sure you deliver incentives that will make guests want to come back for more. Remember, people want to have a good time and shake off the troubles of the day or week, so make your environment enjoyable and it’ll contribute to your overall success.
3. Create a signature drink
One of the best ways to stand out in the crowd is to create a signature drink that will be both memorable and tasty. But you won’t want to arbitrarily create a drink without considering a few factors first. Determine what demographic you serve—college kids? 30-somethings? Couples out on date night? This will play a big part in what kind of drink (or drinks) you create and advertise.
If a signature drink seems like a bit much to tackle, stay on top of current drink trends and being familiar with what’s popular with crowds now will make a difference, too. Offering customers new things to try like spicy tequila infusions or fruity vodka infusions will make it seem special. Create unique garnishes like fresh sliced fruit, herbs and even flowers to turn the ho-hum drinks into intricate and profitable ones.
4. Hire the best staff
Exceptional staff will help you achieve long-term success in your bar. It’s the difference between a total flop and a customer favorite. Think about when you visit a bar or restaurant—if you had poor service from awkward, unattentive or just not nice wait staff or bartenders, would you return? Probably not. Guests visit a bar for the experience and the people working there—so hiring personable, outgoing, organized, and professional staff will go a long way. Remember, these folks are essentially entertainers and need to know how to engage guests so bartending skills should fall secondary to this.
5. Advertise appropriately
Advertising will get guests in the door so try to come up with some kind of marketing strategy. Even the most basic of strategies is better than no strategy at all. Use social media to your advantage, try blogging or even advertising in local papers and around the community. Building awareness if you are a new bar will be important, but advertising is still critical if you’re an established place, too. And make sure you’re advertising while you have patrons in your bar using custom digital signage to alert guests of specials and any upcoming events.
6. Keep regulars coming back for more
All bars have regulars but for some bars, this is the bulk of their overall revenue. But how do you keep the regulars...well...regular? Treat them with a little extra care and deliver specials to just your loyal customers. Maybe it’s a birthday meal or drink on their special day, or a mug club or bottle of alcohol behind the bar with their name on it. It’s the little things that will keep them coming back and spreading the word about how great your bar is.
7. Play the right music
Playing the right music for the right people at the right time will also create loyal guests. Believe it or not, music plays a large part in repeat customers and the overall experience of your bar. Using playlists that are custom and curated by music-obsessed people will enhance your bar’s atmosphere and by using content that’s pre-selected and that you can set and schedule, it’ll make your job easier with one less thing to handle.
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