Friday, January 11, 2013

The Main Ingredient For a Profitable Bar

In every community across American {except where the sale of liquor is prohibited by a municipal law or County ordinance} three types of bars and taverns are generally found. First, the trendy upscale nightclubs and supper clubs; places where big spenders tend to frequent.  Places where anniversaries are celebrated, business deals are consummated, promotion parties are held, retirements are commemorated and where we take Grandma on her birthday.  Next there are the local bars and corner taverns where friends and neighbors gather on any given day to relax, shoot the breeze and eat some good bar food.  Finally, there are the wilder and {sometimes} seedier places.  Places where individuals go to get a little wild, blow off steam and perhaps do some power drinking.  These bars tend to attract a more youthful crowd and questionable characters.  Often times they are well known by local law enforcement officials who have had to come out and provide some needed assistance.  

Why is it that some bars and taverns attract a subdued quiet crowd while others become magnets for the overzealous Jaeger Bomb and Jell-O shot crowd?  What causes this difference?  It’s not the location of the bar.  It’s not the physical layout of the building. It has nothing to do with the bar’s name and it is certainly not because of the traffic pattern in the town.  Nope; the only factor that determines a bar or tavern’s category is the management of the bar or tavern.  The way a bar is managed decides not only its customer make up but its profitability level.

Profitable bar and tavern owners know how to manage; they create an environment that’s best for them.  Unprofitable bar and tavern owners don’t know how to manage and therefore they accept an atmosphere or revenue stream that is thrust upon them. Owners and managers of profitable bars always do things that lousy bar owners and managers - don’t know how to do - - don’t’ want to do - - - don’t’ think of doing. 

Profitable bar and tavern owners leave nothing to chance.  They set standards for their businesses and develop stringent internal staff polices and operating procedures which they strictly enforce. They have expectations for every employee and every customer and they deal with any problems head on.  Finally they are constantly searching for ways to re-invent their bars and re-invest in their bars. 

Profitable bar owners tend to be dominant leaders; they are never satisfied with a static, decaying or dying business.  They want a vibrant bar and a growing business.  They don’t wait for lightening to strike they actively seek out new opportunities to turn a profit and they always think five to ten years down the road. They have a clear vision of where they want to take their bar or tavern.  They are willing to try new and different approaches in the hopes it will take their bar or tavern to the next level.  They play the what if game – what if I try this?   

It doesn’t always seem fair but the burden of creating a bar’s atmosphere and its profits does not rest with the staff, the vendors, the distributors or even the bar’s customers.  The burden of generating a profit and creating an atmosphere falls squarely on the shoulders of the owners and managers of bars and taverns. 

If you own a bar and isn’t in the category you want? Change it! If you aren’t satisfied with your current customer - base change it! If you want to increase your profits – do something!  Remember this simple concept:  If you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.

How does one go about changing their bar’s image and increasing profits?  It’s easy! Start by creating a new vision for your bar. Then communicate that new vision with all your staff so they know which direction you are going – get them to work with you - not against you.  Implement internal policies and procedures that support your vision.  Keep everyone in your business – staff, customers, vendors etc. moving in the right direction by constantly enforcing your policies and procedures.  Create measurable objectives and occasionally stop to check them to see if you are on the right road.  Good bar management will eventually get you’re your bar in the category you want and the profit levels you desire.

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