Bar Resolutions 2011

Commit to More Profits and a Higher Quality of Life

Sometimes big ideas come in small packages, other times they’re plastered on a billboard or tattooed on a server’s forehead. What’s it matter how or where you come by a good idea as long as it eventually lands in your laptop? To that end, here are a few New Year’s resolutions to help make 2011 a profitable year. Salud!

VodkaAvoid Stagnancy — There’s no room at the top for the complacent and uninspired. It’s all about stepping over the rut, not falling into it. So shake things up. Even subtle changes can make a difference in the feel of the place. Guests and staff will appreciate the scenery change. Along the same lines, how about changing your staff’s uniforms? Wearing the same work clothes gets old and takes a toll on staff morale, so put the bounce back in their step with some new duds.

Review Pricing — Who doesn’t want to think they are getting the most for their hard-earned money? Considering the nature of the economy and our sensitivity to prices, offering your clientele drinks with high-perceived value is an increasingly important success factor. Value from a guest’s perspective means something is worth the price paid. Marketing impeccable cocktails at reasonable prices provide guests ample reasons to return another night, and a loyal clientele is an effective hedge against a down economy.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint — Global warming is something weighing on our collective mind. A company that doesn’t make a good faith effort today to clean up its act and reduce its carbon footprint offends our collective sensibility. The upshot is that going green is good for business. Not only will it lower operating costs, but also it clearly demonstrates to staff and clientele that you’re driven by more than just profits. Food and beverage operations are prime for this type of effort. One estimate puts the amount of recyclable material per 100 pounds of restaurant garbage at roughly 70%. Reclaiming as much of that material as possible is responsible business, ecologically significant and worth marketing.

Slow Down — A bartender’s degree of professionalism is most apparent when the bar is slammed. While there is a natural tendency when behind the bar to rush to keep up with rising demand, cranking out drinks as quickly as possible isn’t the objective. What would happen if your bartenders broke with convention and slowed down a few mph? The likely result is that they’d make better drinks, waste less product, appear more professional and provide your guests with hospitable service. Even when people are standing at the bar waiting to order, a bartender need only smile, acknowledge them and say that he’ll be with them in a few moments. So what’s the rush?

Do the Unexpected — In the final analysis, success involves exceeding people’s expectations and occasionally doing the delightfully unexpected. For example, imagine applying the concept of random acts of kindness to your business. What if you periodically bought people in your establishment their bar bites? Or sent a bottle of wine to a table, compliments of the management? Or bought a party a round of drinks? There’d be a massive outbreak of goodwill. Your clientele will appreciate it more than you may realize. Why, they’d be texting their friends what you did before they got home.

Find Remote Profit Centers — On busy nights, bars often wind up leaving money on the table in the form of lost sales. Despite how quickly your bartenders work, there comes a point where their sales capacity hits maximum. One solution is a portable bar set up on a patio or lightly trafficked area in the front of the house. Long gone are the days when your only alternative was to have bartenders make drinks behind folding tables or bulky wood paneled bars. A number of companies now market sleek, attractive portable bars designed for high-volume professional bartending. They’re easy to set up and breakdown, and they offer a high return on investment. Better service and higher sales constitute a win-win.

Cross-promote Food and Beverage — It’s more fun to eat at the bar than it is to drink in the dining room. Apparently a lot of consumers agree because operators are now serving legions of guests who prefer to eat not in the formal setting of the dining room, but in the informal and lively atmosphere of the bar. The trend has prompted designers of food and beverage operations to blur the distinction between a restaurant and bar. Likewise, pairing food and beverages is a highly promotable concept loaded with operational benefits. For one thing, it generates significantly higher profit margins than when the individual items are marketed separately. Another benefit is that food moderates the impact of the alcohol on the consumer’s physiology.

Making these changes will yield a more satisfied patron and employee, not to mention a happier cash flow, all of which contribute to better mental health and lower stress for owners and managers. Here’s to more profit and a higher quality of life in 2011! NCB

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