Generating a Powerful Bar Brand

Running a restaurant or a bar can be a tough business – failure rates are high and competition is fierce. Neither late nights nor hard work guarantees success, yet some concepts are wildly successful. What they are doing isn’t a secret, it’s a formula.

While it’s not easy, it is possible for your bar to be successful, profitable and thrive over time with the right plan of action.

Gerry O’Brion, founder of What Big Brands Know and past Nightclub & Bar Show speaker states that there’s only “one thing that matters to your business whether you’re a bar or restaurant and if you do it and do it effectively people will choose your business and if you don’t, you will eventually fail.” 

You need to ask yourself what is that one thing that will allow you to build a powerful bar brand? You need to be different from your competition in a way your costumers value.

In order to find your brand you need to be able to answer the following four questions:

1.      Who are your people?

2.      What are they looking for?

3.      What’s your big idea?

a.       The more specific you can get the more powerful you are.

4.      What’s your because?

a.       Why should your customers believe you?

b.      What is believable and repeatable?

c.       Is your because going to feed your big idea?

The reason why bars don’t get enough word of mouth is because you haven’t made it easy enough for your customers to know what to say about you. What are those words that you want your customers to say? Really look at your brand and concept in order to create the message you want your guests to spread about your bar to their family, friends and followers. Next, decide on your because.

The power of because has actually been proven scientifically. During a study conducted at Harvard University, students were instructed to attempt to cut in line at a Xerox machine. An excuse that used no because worked only 60% of the time while one that used the word because worked 93% of the time. But what if the because only worked because it was followed by a really good reason? An excuse with the word because paired with a nonsensical reason worked 92% of the time. A 92% success rate with a reason that made zero sense – that’s power. Ask yourself the following question: What’s my because?

Another great example of the power of because is Papa John’s.  They introduced the slogan “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.” Better pizza is the promise; it’s what the customer is going to get. Better ingredients is the ‘because’ and feeds the ‘big idea’ of better pizza. It’s believable because they use freshly sliced ingredients and filtered water among other ‘better ingredients’ to make their pizza seem superior to their competitors.

If you already know your ‘because’ how do you give them the words or the tools to say it to others? There are many factors that play into giving customers the right words including environment, food/drink, service, experience, price and location.

A great example of a venue that pulls together the elements needed to successfully give your customers the right words to promote your brand is Beatrice & Woodsley in Denver, CO. They created the brand around a clear story. This story offers the opportunity to create a very unique environment for customers. That environment lends itself to inquisitive questions from the guest providing the opportunity for the server or bartender to give the customer the right words to share their ‘because’ with others. 

If you’re clear on what you stand for you can make the experience more unique and enjoyable for customers and more easily encourage them to talk positively about your specific ‘because’. In today’s market you’re going to save your business by investing in that one ‘because’ that makes you special. 

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