As any proprietor of a bar will tell you, running a successful one is far from easy. It’s not just about keeping customers happy by providing all the booze they want – it’s also about considering liability risks, having good catering services on speed dial, and preparing to put on exciting events to attract crowds. While running a bar is difficult, we’ve compiled eight simple steps to help you make a profit on your own business:
1. Keep Your Bar Stocked
There are numerous logistical challenges behind a bar. One of the most critical factors in maintaining your inventory between drinks to make sure you always have customers’ favourite in stock requires that bartenders know what types of alcohol and garnishes customers enjoy. Use proper inventory management practices to reduce costs and keep your bar stocked adequately.
Essential Items Every Bar Needs
Stocking your bar is a lot more complicated than just adding liquor and beer to the shelves. Here’s a list of what you should keep in your store:
Straws and stirrers
Cocktail shakers and strainers
2. Measure Your Liquor to Reduce Over Pouring
Over pouring a drink can be expensive for the bar in both time and money. There are multiple ways that you can avoid over pouring drinks and decrease waste in your bar. Here are some of the most common ones:
Use measured pourers:
Measurement pourers will help you know just the right portion and prevent spillage.
Use Jiggers when crafting cocktails:
When crafting cocktails, jiggers allow you to measure precise ratios of alcohol and other ingredients. Using them ensures that every drink tastes the same.
Choose the right glassware:
Using the proper glassware can help reduce your liquor costs. Heavy-bottom glasses have a thick bottom and require less liquid per pour, which will save you money in the long run.
These bar managing tips are essential for reducing the amount of food or drinks that wind up in the trash. A key component to a successful bar, consistency is crucial to keeping your customers happy and coming back.
3. Create Signature Cocktails
Some customers may order rum and coke or a Tom Collins, but how else are you going to set yourself apart when people can get that at any other bar? Create your own handcrafted cocktails, increasing customer expectations and allowing you to charge more than standard drinks, hence increasing profit.
Consider the tastes of your target demographic when inventing new recipes and cocktails. For example, if you are near a college campus and have a customer base in their 20s, you’ll want to design strong cocktails using liquors like rum, vodka or tequila. On the other hand, Bars catering to older customers may wish to stock higher-priced liquors like the top of line bourbons or scotch whiskies.
4. Host Happy Hour and Events
To entice customers, happy hour is an excellent idea for any bar business. Let your delicious cocktails and excellent service convince the clientele to stay a little longer in order to pay the total price for your items. A good menu for a happy hour event should feature discounts on items with a high-profit margin, group specials and snacks.
Hosting events is another way you can bring customers into your business. These events may be one-time, or they may happen on a regular basis; it doesn’t matter how often the event recurs. This is an excellent way to build up a base of regular clients that will help your bar succeed. There are different kinds of events you can hold, but some popular ones are:
Participating in a bar crawl
Arcade or game nights
Tailgating or sports parties
Open mic nights
5. Hire the Right Bartenders
With the high turnover rate in bars, it’s easy to overlook one of the best ways to improve your business: hiring new employees. Developing stringent standards when hiring and performing a rigorous training regimen will reduce the number of people you let go of later in the process.
One way to retain good employees at a bar is by incentivizing them, such as with bonuses or raises. But not all incentives have to be material-based. It can also be rewarding for employees who are motivated by the opportunity for promotions and learning new skills. Incentives could include any of the following: A monetary bonus, favourable shifts.
A successful bar needs to make sure that its employees are happy. Ensuring that everyone is comfortable with the staff, share their ideas, and feel like they can express concerns without being ignored makes your hospitality business thrive. You can also connect with your team and learn more about how you can keep them happy and productive.
6. Train Your Bartenders and Wait for Staff to Upsell
One way to make a profit is to train your staff about upselling. Upselling involves recommending that customers get an item of greater value or order it with their food/drink. Upselling helps your business with bigger checks and tips.
Bar upselling is best framed as a personal suggestion instead of an alternative order. For example, if the customer orders a margarita, have your bartender point out that their favourite drink is a scotch on the rocks and recommend it first. The suggestion will make your customers more likely to try the more expensive option.
To increase your bar’s sales, keep your food menu visible to patrons looking for a quick bite. Patrons might come into the bar just wanting a drink, but after a few rounds, the appetizing items on your food menu may start to look tempting, and you can boost game sales with pairings based on typical flavours or contrasts.
7. Take Liability Seriously
Running a bar is risky – when you manage a business, you should train your employees to handle alcohol-related safety issues for customers and avoid penalties and costs, ensuring the safety of both your employees and customers.
If you serve alcohol to a visibly drunk customer or a minor, you will face a criminal fine and risk lawsuits for damages caused by an intoxicated customer who leaves your bar. Skipping insurance to save money or not knowing your coverage options can lead to severe mistakes.
Restaurants should make training available to bartenders, servers, hosts, bussers, valets and bouncers. The National Restaurant Association offers Servsafe Alcohol training that teaches staff how to recognize signs of intoxication and detect fake IDs.
The bar industry is extremely competitive, especially with the low-profit margins. Earning a living while running a bar requires commitment and understanding what your business needs to succeed.