The nightclub and bar business in America is certainly unique. We have the three-tiered system (for now, at least) and reams of regulations unheard of in other countries. We have politicians eager to pile on more drink taxes, along with regulators and activists looking to put interlocks in every car. But we keep growing. In fact, Technomic recently updated its forecast for 2010 bar and restaurant drink sales to an increase of 1.1 percent, up from the 2.5 percent decline predicted late last year.
Why is that? For one, Americans like to drink while socializing, preferably at a bar when their wallets allow it. While drinking at home increased during the recession, people are feeling more optimistic and are returning to their favorite watering holes and clubs for the experience they simply can’t get at home.
The real reason for growth, I’d say, is operator ingenuity. If you’re reading this, you kept your doors open during the recession — you promoted heavily, balanced quality with value and met or exceeded your customers’ expectations. That’s what’s also uniquely American — bar owners and operators getting creative and acting fast to keep patrons happy while keeping an eye on the bottom line. With our magazine, website and multiple e-newsletters, we hope we’ve helped you do that during the tough economic trend.
In this issue, we give you even more ideas and info to keep growing your business, with special focus on American whiskey and domestic beer. If you’re not tapping into these two powerhouse categories, you’re missing out on great promotional and profit opportunities.
Another huge all-American opportunity is sporting events. Americans love to drink and nosh while watching the game, so we’re launching our Hospitality Sports Marketing Conference in 2011. Stay tuned as we develop a program packed with celebrity presenters and major league tactics to help you score big sales with sports throughout the year.
We’re headed toward the all-important fourth quarter now. Let’s keep our eye on the ball and do what American bar pros have always done: serve great drinks with a smile that keep customers coming back!
See you at the bar!