During this August it was reported by a national newspaper that 18 pubs a week were closing in the UK. In the US the climate is the opposite; the number of drinking establishments is steadily on the rise. In the wake of both increasing and decreasing bar culture, what might be done to maximise profitability of a bar?
In 2015 it was stated that in the US total revenues for drinking establishments were greater than $24 billion. Subdivided, 27% came from food sales: the rest was alcohol sales. In the UK, the greatest profit comes from the sale of hot food, with raw food costs being low and dining costs being high – the factor is large. With a large majority of establishments being owned by breweries of pub companies who sell alcohol to pubs at an inflated price, food sales are even more attractive as parent companies are not able to take a cut of profits.
Offering themed nights
Themed nights for worldwide events can draw in new crowds, as well as satisfy regular customers. Munich’s Oktoberfest is regularly celebrated by US and UK drinking establishments, with publicans stocking up on steiner glasses and German beer – you might even consider putting your staff in Lederhosen! Other events might include St George’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Halloween, World Cup Matches, Labour Day and Independence Day. Aside from existing celebrations, bars or pubs might consider inventing their own nights such as a ladies themed night with pink drinks or a spanish night where red wine is drunk, spanish tapas is served, and a flamenco dancer entertains.
Employ people with personality and find a good manager!
People will return to a pub not for its decor, or its beer, but for the people who serve the drinks. It is essential that staff are well trained, professional, as well as fun and sociable with customers. The bar manager will be the ring leader for the staff you employ, and it is important that he or she is an inspirational and charismatic boss. With a good reputation, people will return to drink at the same bar or pub or club, maintaining profitability long term.
Appeal to your customers
Whether a bar or pub is situated in a small village or in the centre of a bustling city, always make sure it is appealing to the local clientele. A city bar might expect to sell fancy cocktails whereas an English country pub will have a stronger focus on good quality ale. Speak to customers to find out what they want! When customers feel that their needs are being listened to, they will have a greater loyalty to an establishment and will spend more time there.
Customers should be encouraged to rate establishments on websites such as Tripadvisor and Google. As ratings go up bars and pubs gain more traction from local visitors. Facebook pages and Instagram are effective ways of showing an establishment to be unique and fun. A pub or bar should be branded appropriately to the surrounding clientele, including everything from name, to interior decor, to color scheme.
Games have always been incredibly popular in pubs and bars, especially when drinking is involved! There is a long history of pub games in the UK, with pub quizzes being particularly popular. Other games include darts, skittles and indoor golf. Bars will often integrate games with themed nights, such as karaoke or a pop quiz about a certain culture.
Investing in smart technology can increase profitability by cutting staff costs, and increasing the popularity of the establishment, due to new innovation and experiential satisfaction. Apps range from ordering drinks to your table to the increasingly popular market of trivia games. Combining trivia games with advertising as with TriviaMatic’s, pubs and bars are likely to increase their alcohol revenue as beverages are advertised throughout games. TriviaMatic also combines trivia nights with social media, allowing pubs and bars to know who their clients are, leading to a greater focus on customer satisfaction. Drinking establishments can advertise directly to the users of TriviaMatic, ensuring returning customers. What is more, these apps are incredibly easy to set up as their systems are automated, meaning that the initial cost is quickly recouped after a few events.