So you run a bar and you’re staring down the barrel of stagnant sales or even a decline in customer numbers. Either scenario is far from ideal, so you’ll need to take action to revive your business and increase your earnings.
You can’t do this without a plan, so here are some strategies that could help to improve the fortunes of your bar and make it viable in the long term.
Offer crowlers and growlers to go
To sell more beer, you don’t necessarily need more customers; you just have to find a way to boost sales to your existing clientele.
This is where selling beer on a takeaway basis is an impactful tactic. It means that even if you are closing up, you can give punters a beverage or two to take home with them. Likewise if loyal customers are planning a party at home, you can provide the drinks in crowlers and growlers, so that they don’t spend their money on beverages from a local store instead.
When you look at a crowlers and growlers comparison, they aren’t the same in terms of capacity, so this is something to get to grips with. You’ll also have to consider how such receptacles are funded, and what returns policy you’ll need to implement, as well as whether local licensing laws will affect your ability to sell beer in this way.
Lastly, don’t opt for over the top upselling, but be subtle in how you market this opportunity to customers.
Host a quiz or implement other themed evenings
Having a pub or bar quiz available to play on a regular basis is a brilliant option for enhancing footfall and also upping the amount of loyal customers you have.
It’s also a cost-effective option, and means you’ll see your bar take boosted significantly on at least one night of the week.
Scheduling a quiz, or any other themed event you choose to host, on a day when sales are usually slow is sensible; that’s why lots of these typically take place mid-week.
Revamp your food options
Plenty of bars make more money from the food they sell than the drinks they stock, and even if you’ve already got a menu in place, sometimes the simple step of switching up the dishes you have available is enough to bring more people in through the door.
Obviously it’s better to choose new menu items which are both affordable and easy to prepare, as well as those which can be served swiftly and be easily consumed by customers; you don’t want to go too far with dishes that are overly complex or high-end, as this could cost you more in the long run.
Provide a wider selection of low and non-alcoholic drinks
There’s a growing trend for people preferring to pick beverages that have little or no alcohol in them, and it’s no longer enough to just expect non-drinkers to sit and sip a coke while their pals pound brews around them.
For bar owners, this means expanding the amount of choice that’s provided to customers who might be steering clear of booze for whatever reason.
Mocktails are a great example of this, particularly if you already have full-blown cocktails on the menu. They also offer great margins, so they are a good money-maker as well as being amenable to non-drinkers.
You could also explore the world of low alcohol beers, with a multitude of craft and mainstream breweries now selling this type of product to meet the expectations of modern consumers.
Master your social media presence
Social media is the digital town square for the modern age, and so it’s a good idea to get a buzz going about your business as much as possible using popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
You might not have a lot of time to dedicate to social media marketing, in which case it could make sense to outsource this to an agency or a freelancer who has the skills to help your bar gain traction in all the right ways.
Most importantly, if any strategies you try out don’t deliver on your expectations, be willing to mix things up again and try fresh approaches to boost your bar’s revenues.