Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How To Sabotage Your Bar’s Business

Ever see a great bar or tavern with an ideal location and a perfect floor layout that isn’t making money. How can that be? Are not good locations and great floor layouts two of the prime factors in successful bars and taverns? Could the answer be sabotage?

All businesses should have two goals: 1) generate sales and 2) maximize profits. If bar owners aren‘t working towards those two goals they may be sabotaging their businesses. Below are the four common ways bar owners sabotage their bar’s success.

Drinking on The Job. For some reason many bar and tavern owners think its okay for them and their staffs to drink while tending bar. Think Applebee’s, Hooters, Green Mill etc. allow their managers and bartenders to drink while working? Absolutely not! Do CVS and Walgreens allow its employees to take drugs when they work? Let’s hope not.

It’s refreshing when I offer to buy a bartender a drink and hear them respond “We’re not allowed to drink on our shift … however buy me a chip and I promise I will have a drink on you tonight when I get off work”. I think that’s cool. 

Keeping Lousy Employees. For some reason bar owners retain marginal and incompetent employees far longer than most other business would. I think it’s because many are relatives; neighbors and family members of friends. We all know it’s hard to find good employees; especially people who are licensed and know how to properly mix drinks. However keeping a lack luster employees is costing you money. Find a new one and train them to be a great employee?

Tolerating Obnoxious Customers. Do banks, shoe stores and auto parts stores tolerate loud, obnoxious and foul mouth customers? Not many - if any. Most politely ask an obnoxious person to leave. Yet bar and taverns owners tolerate questionable customers and shrug it off as the cost of doing business. And that’s right it is costing them business. You bar stools should only be for good customers.

Giving Away Free Drinks. Bar and tavern owners perpetuate a myth that says giving away ‘free drinks’ helps prime the pump. Oh really? What pump is that? Dentists don’t give away free cleanings? Auto Mechanics don’t give away fee oil changes” so why do bar and tavern owners think they have to give away free drinks? 

The profit margin on drinks is small and giving away a dollar here and a dollar there adds up. 20 free cocktails and a dozen free beers is the equivalent to two six packs and almost a bottle of booze. Mechanics can afford to give away an oil change after a $600 transmission job and Dentists can afford to give away a free cleaning after a $3,000 set of braces but they don’t!

Since the New Year is about to arrive now is the perfect time to implement some new business practises to increase your sales and maximize your profits.

The first one is easy; don’t tolerate drinking on the job. Employees may not like it but this is America; they have the right to walk out whenever they want.

Second, terminate your worst employee immediately. Don’t say you don’t know who they are of course you do. It’s the one who generally arrives late and calls in sick often. Or the one who rings up the lowest sales each shift or the one with highest customer complaints. You know exactly who your worst employee is – so get rid of them and find a better one.

Third upgrade your customers. Never in public – but certainly in private - talk to your obnoxious customer’s one on one. Tell them you won’t be tolerating foul language - rudeness to other customers, or obnoxious behaviors anymore. The sooner you end or get rid of obnoxious customers the sooner you’ll have bar stools available for better customers.

Finally, begin to think of your inventory {your liquor} as cash. Before you give away any beer or booze think what you are doing? You are giving away money. Money you won’t generate when you give it away. Look at it this way, if the only reason as customer comes into your bar is to get free drinks then you don’t need that customer. Start making money.

Eba G is Profit Analyst for small bars and local tavern. Join Eba G. on face book and learn more ways to improve your sales and profits.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Drafted Bartender Went A.W.O.L.

Jimmy, was a bartender from a small rural town who got drafted in the US Army during WW II. 

On his first day in the Army Jimmy was issued a comb. Later that afternoon Jimmy was sent to a barber who sheared off all his hair.

On his second in the Army Jimmy was issued a toothbrush. Right after lunch Jimmy was sent to see an Army dentist who yanked out two of his teeth.

On his third day in the Army Jimmy was issued a jock strap.  The US Army hasn't seen him since 1943. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Should Small Bars and Local Taverns Have Legends?

We live in a world based on fact - fiction and legends. Facts are things we know for sure - like gravity. Fiction we all know is not true - like Gina can throw a baseball over a mile. But Legends - aah, now these are the things that make us wonder and occasionally smile.

Ever heard the Legend of the Lone Ranger; the self-appointed law man who wore a mask and shot silver bullets? He and his Native American companion fought injustice in the old west? What about the legendary swordsman - Zorro? He single-handedly fought the Spanish government because it oppressed and over taxed the early settlers of California.

Now neither Zorro nor the Lone Ranger can be factually confirmed as there is no official documentation about them, but every school age child and all senior citizens know about their heroic exploits. So should bar and tavern owners consider having ‘Legends’? Well some do … and those are generally the bars with biggest crowds making the most money.

Whenever I walk in a new bar I love learning about the bar's history. Some bars print their histories on the back of their menus others hang a prominent plaque on the wall. I went to a bar once that claimed Al Capone stopped in once while on the run from the G-Men in Chicago. Another bar told me that when John Glenn returned from his historic space orbit he stopped in the bar to eat his first Hamburger back on earth.

Another bar proclaimed Harry Houdini, the great magician, often came in - wearing disguises to practice his new magic routines on the locals; and I even read that whenever John Wayne went back to Iowa to visit his old boyhood hometown he would always stop in this one bar and yell out loud “Boys the drinks are on me”.  Now I am not sure if any of these stories are fact but they all sounded good and each of those legends helped make those bars a ton of money.

So if your bar doesn’t have a Legend – why not create one

Imagine a bar somewhere - anywhere - called Vic’s Pump Room. Now Vic bought the bar back in the late 60’s, and then sold it to his son-in-law Walther in 1992. Walther still owns the bar but now his twin daughters, April and Agnes, operate and manage it. Vic’s sells cold beer and provides a good stiff drink in a clean, friendly atmosphere. Vic’s is in a modest neighborhood in an older section of town.  It has a gorgeous carved mahogany back bar area and 70% of the patrons are locals while 30% are strangers passing through town.

Imagine people entering and seeing this magnificent older bar. They have a few drinks, order a burger then ask ‘what’s the deal’? Well the bartender replies, Vic bought the bar in the 60’s, sold it to Walter his son in law in the 90’s and now Vic’s granddaughters - April and Agnes - run it. Boring!

What if Vic’s Pump Room had a Legend - a great legend.  Suppose it was once the site of Aldo’s Fine Jewelry Shop? Aldo, a Romanian watchmaker, immigrated to America in 1921 and quickly earned a reputation for making elegant and accurate time pieces. What if Eleanor Roosevelt heard of Aldo's and was reported to have bought two of Aldo’s watches which she gave to the Presidents of Argentina and Prime Minister of Iceland when they attended an Official White House diner?

What if Aldo’s Jewelry shop flourished until members of the notorious Simpson gang out of Wichita came to town and robbed him. As Aldo tried to defend his store he was over powered by two gang members who broke three fingers on his right hand thus ending his watch making career. Needing money to return to Romania, Aldo sold the building to the Malone brothers: Jeremiah and Jeddah - two local taxi drivers. 

As the Malone’s drove their taxis through town each day they saw a need for a conveniently located fun bar. So they converted Aldo’s old Jewelry Store into the beautiful bar you see today. They operated it successfully until Jeremiah was stabbed by Lefty Cohen for cheating during a dice game in the back room.

Fearing for their lives the Malone Brother’s fled town and Vic then bought the bar from them. Vic renamed the bar the ‘Pump Room’ because of the huge red cast iron water pump down in the basement.

Now I ask you – which sounds better? A bar with a blah-blah history? Or a bar with a fantastic legend?  When you are ready to create a legend for your bar - contact me and let's do it right.

Eba G is a bar analyst who helps bar and tavern owners increase sales and maximize profits. Isn’t it time you increase your bar or tavern’s sales and profits?  Join Eba G. on Face Book.  It’s easy just search ‘Eba Gee’ and friend me.