Operations consultant and Nightclub & Bar contributor is hosting a free webinar on December 18, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. EST entitled “How to Book More Corporate Functions at Your Bar. Register free here!
With 2019 speedily approaching, it’s a good time to recharge, refresh and re-energize your bar, nightclub or restaurant.
The following is a short list of tasks any operator can take advantage of to guide their business into the New Year with a fresh outlook and new approach to making money.
1. Relaunch Food and Beverage Menu
The only thing that should be constant in your business is change. McDonald’s is constantly innovating, changing, and trying new things. But even big-time titans make mistakes. Not everything they try works, and every failure costs them money. Yet they keep trying new things.
Big brands know that after several years of business, staying on top requires constant change. In the same spirit, you should be consistently evaluating and changing your menu every 6 months. Keep the items that are selling, rotate out the losers, and find kitchen and bar talent willing to take risks to keep things fresh. This will keep your guest experience fresh in the eyes of your guests, which is vital for maintaining long-term interest.
2. Shut Down, Renovate and Rebrand
There is a limited shelf life to the concept and name of every business. At some point it will be necessary to make big investments in modernizing the look and changing the entire identity of a restaurant to bring the business back to life. Although this requires enduring the temporary pain of financing and supervising construction, it will completely reinvigorate the business.
Rebuilding a bar brings with it a fresh injection of excitement which rubs off on all the staff and guests. It also allows the operator to re-enter the “honeymoon” phase of opening a bar, where being new itself attracts many guests who want to see the new, bright, shiny thing on the block.
Read this: The Perfect Concept: 5 Key Design Steps
Rebranding allows older operators to begin anew with a fresh identity, wiping out much of the poor reputation the business may have gathered throughout the years. There are some situations that can only be repaired with a complete teardown. If you’re in a boat that has too many leaks, you might want to sink it and rebuild from scratch.
3. Replace All Your Staff
Uncooperative, disengaged, disinterested staff are a cancer that eats a business alive from within. Getting rid of unhelpful employees is the easiest, fastest way to higher income with the least number of steps. There are some operators who suffer great losses simply because their staff members won’t follow procedures and execute tasks correctly. This occurs because many owners are:
- unclear in their instructions to their staff;
- weak about enforcing policy.
Expanding on point A, before you fire people, you must be sure they’re not meeting your expectations. Your expectations must be on paper and written on a checklist that allows someone’s work ethic to be evaluated objectively. Too many operators go on their gut feelings about certain employees when evaluating their value to the company. Winners, on the other hand, use objective criteria based on specific task completion to test their employees.
Ask yourself: Do I have a task list of all the responsibilities every position in my business has?
If not, you have no system in place to train and develop people. The biggest restaurant and bar operations have task lists for each of their positions, allowing people to develop quickly into effective workers. Whatever your required tasks are, keep a specific list and use that list to judge the effectiveness of your staff. This will allow you to give specific feedback in certain areas to allow for maximum growth. But if you’ve given them every opportunity to correct those mistakes—and they’re still making—then by all means show them the door.
Expanding on point B, many operators are weak on enforcing policies. They set rules but never ensure they’re being followed. Attitudes and values tend to trickle down from the owner to their staff, and when the owner has a poor attitude towards policies and task completion, so will everyone they manage. When this happens, replacing all the staff has little to no effect because the person who should have been replaced was the owner.
4. Leave Town and Attend a Seminar
Once you get into a work routine, things can become stale. Travelling to a seminar is just what the doctor ordered. Out-of-town seminars represent the best type of learning because it takes you into a completely different physical location, and it involves sacrifice on your part to go. Being in a different place helps you gain perspective on things back home. Spending your own money to participate in the educational experience makes more likely to pay attention and seek solutions because you want to receive the maximum value for your time and money.
At out-of-town seminars, pay attention, take great notes, and stay focused on the educational opportunities. During the breaks, socialize with other participants, make friends, and ask other owners, operators and managers what they’re doing in their businesses. It only takes one great idea to be applied for a seminar to be worth it. Commit, plan, and sacrifice every year to invest in your education and your business will improve.
Kevin is an operations consultant with over a decade of experience working directly with bar, restaurant and nightclub owners on all points of the spectrum: from family-owned single bar operations to large companies with locations on an international scale. Kevin works with them all and understands the unique challenges each kind of company faces.
He is the author of a book entitled Night Club Marketing Systems – How to Get Customers for Your Bar. He is also a regular writer for Nightclub & Bar, providing information high-level operators seek to get the extra edge in their marketing, sales and operations.
He continues to write today, providing specialized information directly to nightclub, bar and restaurant owners from his workshops, newsletters and magazine articles. He is also active in the field, operating an inventory auditing practice with Sculpture Hospitality.