I need advice on how to manage a new bar for guys. There is a turn out. I really love my town and need to make the people here happy. Samwell
How about making a drink of the week. Try new cocktails at good prices. There are some neat drink like Oreo Cookie, creamsicle that people never try but if it is the drink of the week. Also make sure bar is clean nothing worse than going into a gross bar.
Try to get the local newspaper to do an article about you, also try to get your local TV and radio stations to interview you.
Check out "Duct Tape Marketing" on the web for lots of ideas about how to promote your small business - Also Guerilla Marketing is a great book
It's marketing, marketing, markting & most ideas just require ingenuity and energy. Good luck.
When I think "GUYS", I think SPORTS (& guys also want gals around). So I'd make sure you have at least 3 or 4 HUGE big-screen plasma or projection TV's for watching the game. Then I'd always have fairly-good free hors d'oeuvres during dinnertime for happy hour for the guys that are starving after work (real food, like baby franks in sauce or mini meatballs & some kind of potatoes etc)... Also, if you can hand out free chips of some kind then of course that makes people thirsty & also helps bring in customers. (We all like Mexican restaurant bars because of the free chips & salsa!) I think the free food (from 5 - 7PM) on weekdays & the free chips along with at least one or more large plasma screen TV's will easily pay for itself. Then, all you'll need to do is bring in the Ladies so the men will stay happy!
Will your state allow for a "Ladies Night"? If so, then that's another idea! You could also have a Ladies Margarita night, most ladies like Margaritas especially if they're discounted or half price!
Another thing to think about: If you have a big enough parking lot, Bikers tend to be VERY loyal to their bars. I remember when I went with a biker for over 3 years, back in the 90's, & as you most likely already know, bikers these days are not like the old days. They're not like Hells Angles or Banditos or bike-club bikers! ...To afford a Harley these days is NOT cheap! These guys may look like "Bikers" but their day job is most likely a Doctor, Lawyer, Judge, or Airline Pilot, because that's the sort of money it takes to afford to buy a Harley!
I remember many a time when we'd ride down to Seattle & the guy who owned the club we were going to (who was parked in the front) would move his car, just so the bikers would park in front. He did this for several reasons: One was that we as a group always spent quite a lot of money, but the other reason was that everyone likes to ogle & look at a nice Harley, just as you'll like to look at a classic car. You could have your bar be a stopping place for a bike-run... This would introduce your bar to bikers (& don't think with prejudices! Just because people dress in leather & grow a beard, does not mean they are bad or nasty people!)
* There's a bar in Seattle that has a free Taco Bar every Thursday in the late spring & summer & this brings in Bikers from as far as 90 miles away. Every Thursday ("Taco-Thursday") The whole street is full of every type of Harley imaginable & I'm not talking about 50 to 60 bikes, I'm talking about 300 PLUS! & they are all going to this one bar for free tacos! And, let me tell you, it's a blast!
Karaoke Night is also a great idea!
Seriously consider a NO PERSONAL CHECKS policy! We have had to start declining checks due to bad check processing fees. People will need a lot of signs to be aware of this one rule but it will pay off for you in the long run. (Permanent lettering on the door) The key to a good bar is a good bartender/waitress! Someone personable, and friendly, with a trustworthy background! Stealing from the bar, for staff, is too easy! Remember, one attribute DOES NOT make up for the lack of another! Find someone who will help make your bar a profit just by being there.
Also, train your people, and be a good boss. They need to know of their responsibility to the law to protect themselves and the bar.
Have a "BARRED" list, where it takes two strikes and your out, for people who cause trouble. We do a 30 day suspension for the first fight/offense, and barred for life on the second fight/offense. Keeps Johnny Law happy and other customers too!
We also use larger glasses for mixed drinks and do a shot and a half pour, charging mid-price prices. That is all about appearance, and giving the customer a good deal, and keeping your bartender busy but not too busy to attend other customers.
Have a recipe book on hand and see to it that the bartender knows a few of the popular recipes. They will be asked to suggest something good, and should have something memorized. If they ask what the customer usually has and they say, Harvey Wallbanger, a good bartender will know what's in it and can suggest other drinks based on ingredients.
Another thing I can't stress enough is cleanliness! CLEAN IT! The type of customer that doesn't mind the nasty bathroom, is NOT the type that will help promote your business. Good Luck!
P.S. I am taking with me the advice to offer new bands a chance to play for free entertainment, but will need to hear a recorded sample first! Bad bands will ruin the atmosphere and drive even your most devout customers out the door!
It's a lot of basic stuff now but it should get more and more detailed as the year goes on
Why is it only for guys?
I own a bar on long island if you'd like email me at the2ndwiseman AT yahoo.com and compare ideas I'm trying to bring in a new customer base after 25 years.
I have bartended for 13 years in small pubs on the Gulf Coast in Florida. With the constant pouring-in of tourists, locals night is big around here. Happy hour drink prices all night and bucket beer specials. $10 for a bucket of 5 domestic long necks. Also, talk to managers of local hotels. S.I.N. (service industry night) is usually for other bartenders/wait staff in town, but you can include ppl that work for the hotels and they will be happy to promote your bar. Also, have a 'second drink is free' promo for people who have a receipt from the local hotels.
Funny movie night is great for Thursdays here. Thurs is dart league night so half of our bar is taken up for darts, but you can put a tv on the other side and show a movie... beats watching the CNN ticker when there's not a game on. Poker night, beer pong, open mic... all of these are fun and bring in different crowds.
Sundays are good for $2 plate day, cook some easy foods, have regulars bring in pot luck stuff and BBQ. Have a special food price for people on bikes. Our Harley group rides every Sunday and the boys love to have some kind of special for them. I wouldn't do a drink special for bikers, you don't want to promote drinking and riding, but food is always a plus to someone on an all day ride. Hope this was of some help, Good Luck!
I run a large bar in Spain and my hardest task was increasing daytime revenue. For the past year we have offered a $2 deal from 10am till 6pm which includes a coffee and free brandy. We get a very cheap brandy but tastes good and this goes down a storm, the profit might not be great but customers come back at night time when drinks are full price, good promoting by your staff in the day can increase revenue at night, we also offer a loyalty card, we give customers a small card (Branded) and we stamp it every time they buy a drink, collect 9 stamps and they get a free drink to the value of $6. they collect stamps day or night sometimes they fill it in a day and other times over a week... but they come back that's for sure! Have a look at our website for more ideas. www.leonardostenerife.com
I guess you could go with the standards:
Is it just a bar or a bar and grille? Then I would suggest a Kids Eat Free Night, 1/2 price appetizers Night, Dart Tournaments, T.V.'s, or Sports Nights.
In the bars I've visited due to friends who have a band, I noticed the bars filling up quickly with patrons. There are a lot of young unknown bands out there. Post an ad in the paper, or if you have a sign outside, post it there. There could be free nights for any band that wants to entertain. No cost to owner. Those bands want recognition, so they are willing to perform for that, in the hope of getting hired. Also, you can post an ad for paying bands, but, they have to give you a demo, so you can judge to see if the band is good. One bar I went to, had different bands for different groups. One band played oldies for older folks, another night, they had slow dance type of music. Some nights, they had sing along bands. There are endless possibilities. Entertainment is always a plus. My friends get invited to different bars to do their gigs. They invite me all the time and it is a big difference from bars that don't have that quality. Good Luck. (01/19/2006)
By Esther from NJ
These are all good tips and ideas. One that wasn't mentions was a happy hour. It gets people in the bar. Because they are new owners, it might be good to put a sign saying it has new ownership. If the old ownership had a bad reputation, it could be keeping people away. Good friendly service is very important. People like to feel like it is their bar.
This is one area where newspaper advertising is useful. It costs a lot but advertising for a month with an ad in the same place in the paper would probably be useful. Mention in the ad to "Mention this Ad" for 10% off or something like that. Then they know how many people are actually seeing the ad for their information on whether or not the ad is bringing in new customers.
A friend of mine with a restaurant would give out coupons to his employees. They were to only be used by their friends or family and only a one time deal. So much off on an order or a free entree. It gets new people in and family and friends of the staff can be new customers. He would use business cards and write on the back of them so he knew the offer was his. This only costs the discount on what is sold there.
Susan from ThriftyFun (01/20/2006)
If it's a smaller town like the ones around us, then offer a free ride home to people who've had too much to drink. A local bar does this and not only does it let the customer know the bar cares about them, but it also keeps someone from driving a car that had drank too much. I'm not sure how often they actually drive someone home, but it is still a nice gesture to the patrons. (01/20/2006)
I don't drink but love to dance and wish more places would make their dance floor and entertainment areas more friendly to those who don't drink. Aside from this you could recreate some shows from Tv like american idol or RockstarINXS. This would take alot of planning and effort but would probably definitly be worth it. Get local radio stations involved and sponsors for the event. Talk to your vendors see what promotional items they can give you for free. I don't know what your local laws about Sunday's are but you could open the business up to teen night (of course no alcohol). I'm not sure who your targeted customers are and what the vision was when opening the bar. (01/21/2006)
By Angelique Farmer
I've been a bartender for many years, and even though I have not owned my own bar yet I have managed a few! What you need is a few very simple things. It may cost a little extra but it's so so worth it in the end! Trust my words. Get some friends, family, staff in fact to get out there and hand out very simple cheap flyers with your bar's details. Name some things your bar offers such as live bands is must if your keen in that kind of thing. Other stuff is ladies night! That's a huge one! it will get your patrons in quick smart. Be gentle on ladies drinks on ladies night if budget permits! It will blow your quiet night sky high! Hope all goes well. Good luck! (09/05/2006)
By Big T
I have been managing a small pub for some time. It has always been quiet, putting a happy hour on really helped but what really got customers in was buy one get one free happy hour. You don't really make money in that hour but you've got people in there and they will stay.
You need to meditate, evaluate and define your market first. Once you've done that, mentalize and think about your Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats on this subject (promoting and public relations), I recommend you to hire PR staff, one general PR manager that knows people and understands your bar, and 5 more that you will pay with discounts, young people are ideal for this job.
Once you get this, now you can start thinking about promotions, opening more days, happy hour, cocktail night, girls night, nyc night, promoters night, get a supplier to give you free stuff, promote events for companies around your area, etc.
By VAkUS BAR GUADALAJARA
Unlike what some of the responses have suggested above, do NOT promote themes or events targeted at people not of legal drinking age. Younger people cannot purchase alcohol. If you compare your potential sales of soda and juice at full capacity, to that of an average night of alcohol sales, they will probably not even be close. Younger people love to party too, which means that they will often show up already intoxicated and will not provide any benefit to your business. Younger people love to fight and start fights, thus you will need to hire and staff additional security to keep everything going smoothly. I have worked in a bar which occasionally would book 18+ events and it was always a horrible night for profits and for everyone who was there. Hope this helps. (07/29/2007)
I own two bars, one a honky tonk bar in Brooklyn the other a regular martini bar. One of our busiest nights can be the Mondays which typically you need to work hard on drawing people out. Do a pub quiz, people who drink or not love it. It can be a lot of work but it can be rewarding also, keep the questions fun and pop culture minded, remember your target audience. Another one we are trying and its actually working is a white elephant sale on the Wednesdays, its like e-bay live, people bring there stuff and you have an auctioneer with gabble and all hawk there goods, good to keep it fun. Hope these suggestions might help good luck in your venture. (09/04/2007)
I'm just about to manage a bar for the first time. The one thing my boss has always said is the lighting and music creates the atmosphere, so keep lighting low and the music not too loud but loud enough so people can dance if they want and also other people can still hear each other talk.
Hope this helps, good luck. (09/22/2007)
I own/run a bar in a small yet seasonal tourist area in the pacific. I have found live entertainment is always a winner. Trying this on a week night also helps. Similar around the world Fridays and Saturdays are always a night out for punters so to get them in on the odd nights (Mon-Wed) will certainly help the cashflow. If able to get good bands this will create a regular night for your bar outside the busy fri/sat. Pub quiz is also a winner appealling to all age brackets, lots of work but worth the effort. Being a mexican bar i also sell $2 taco's on Tuesday, they are smaller meals with small margin but it gets them in the door, and am yet to see someone just eat 1. In previous pubs we also ran a live mic session, either with bands/singers or comedy nights. Theres plenty of young talent out there waiting for their 15min of fame. You never know you could give the next big star their break. (10/29/2007)
We have a box of random hats for Hat night, a box of tie's for tie night, we have great success with bands, look they are out there! The bar I work at only holds 80 people and its a small community but we have a blast! 80's night is coming up and another one is "oldies" night, all oldies all night. Its almost like a sing along. I am also brewing up an "Air Band" competition. (06/07/2008)