5 Tips for Operating a Successful Bar

Running a successful bar requires a lot more than a neon sign and some drinks on tap. To be competitive in this business, customers must be drawn in by an attractive concept, delicious menu items, and leave with memories of a fun experience. Owners must be financially responsible, starting with appropriate bar and tavern insurance. Here are some additional tips for running a prosperous bar.

Create a Concept

In the bar business, a unique concept is needed to stand out. The first step is to define the brand, including company culture and the type of food and drinks. Consider a smaller menu for the following reasons:

  • Tables turn over faster, as customers make decisions more quickly with a small menu
  • Fewer items are easier to focus on and perfect
  • Servers can more easily become experts about items on a smaller menu
  • The bar and kitchen operate with greater efficiency with a smaller variety of offerings

Create Signature Drinks

A signature menu can further define the brand and attract customers. Stay on top of drink fads and wow customers with trendy new offerings. Consider target market demographics when creating new cocktails and recipes. The following are some examples:

  • A college crowd will respond to strong cocktails with vodka, rum, or tequila.
  • Millennials would love a curated collection of craft beer.
  • Older customers might like top-shelf bourbon or whiskey in their drinks.

Calculate Prices

To be successful, an effective pricing and cost strategy is critical. Calculate food and beverage costs, figure in operating expenses, determine the break-even point, select a profit margin, and price items appropriately. Ensure competitiveness by investigating market prices and other area businesses.

Control Portions

When drinks are poured inconsistently, inventory gets out of whack and money is lost. Here are some suggestions on how to control portions and achieve consistency in the quality of drink offerings:

  • Use jiggers to craft cocktails.
  • Use measured pours.
  • Choose appropriate glassware.

Offer Happy Hours and Events

An enticing happy hour is how to attract customers to a bar. Happy hours should include group specials, snacks, and deals on drinks with high profit margins. Another great marketing tool is hosting events, such as these:

  • Game or arcade nights
  • Karaoke
  • Open mic nights
  • Speed dating
  • Tailgating or watching sporting events
  • Trivia night

Hire Great People

Hiring good people is challenging everywhere these days, but the bar industry has always had notoriously high turnover. Focus on hiring quality people and implementing a retention plan with incentives such as raises, premium shifts, bonuses, and promotions to reward hard-working and loyal employees. A supportive atmosphere with an open-door policy to hear employees’ concerns is also beneficial.

While it is challenging to run a successful bar in today’s competitive market, it can also be extremely fun. Acquiring bar and tavern insurance and taking an active role in the business will set bar owners up for a profitable and rewarding experience.

About Mavon Insurance

At Mavon Insurance, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to insurance. We focus on integrity, communication, professionalism, respect and gratitude to help our clients succeed and place business in specialized markets. For more information about our products, or to become an agent, contact us today at (855) 248-1480.