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Re: Above the Bar – Revenue Streams 101
July 8, 2013

Revenue streams are key components to any business. Many times these are overlooked, or in some cases many viable revenue generation sources completely ignored. Revenue steams may require additional staffing or re-training of existing staff to capture and increase revenues. In most cases simple training of existing staff can be the answer alone, but thinking outside the box to maximize these revenue sources is a task for the operator to implement.

Operator complacency is the single most damaging vice to any service based business. The fact that venues will look at a possible revenue stream only to reply, “But we have been doing it this way forever!” I get so frustrated when I hear this, just because you do it this way, does not mean that this is the only or correct way.

Things that you will need to do to manipulate these revenue streams to work for your venue may be as reorganizing paperwork, permits, training staff or even enforcing or implementing policy changes. Once in place they will pay dividends for the long haul. Setting up and dialing in these revenue streams to work with your particular business model will take some thought, planning, and even a little trail and error.


Bottle Sales- Wine/Liquor, “Single Night Use” or “Return Use” this is great to try in your venue as an anchoring and return trend tactic. When your customers come in and buy bottles you will hold the bottles in a highly visibility bottle display case. The customer is then given a card that represents the bottle and the level of spirit left in the bottle along with a code number for that bottle. The bottle is then labeled with the customers name and code number for that bottle. The additional revenue sources from this include charging for additional mixers and service charge to the customer on every return.
Drink Vessels- Beer mugs (pickle jars) shot glasses, boots, creative branded drink ware, specials.
Shot-Beer Combos, buckets of Beer, 2 for 1′s.
Package Sales- for off premise sales (some Licenses apply)

Liquor/Beer/Wine/Energy Drink Vendors Sponsorship/Partnership

You should be able to hedge the volume of sales your business does in a particular category to entice revenue out of liquor, beer and energy drink companies.

Selling you back bar real estate is huge leverage with buying power and guarantee volume to get buy back dollars up front or over time. Beer companies have installed entire tap systems for no cost and I have personally received large cash incentives from one vendor, for one venue. Liquor laws vary State by State.


Upselling to a Premium or Super Premium spirit. Updating drink menus that promote your spirit partners/sponsors and promotional products.

Cover Charge

This can include: Online ticket sales, entry charge, VIP room charge.

One of my favorite tactics is, a sliding cover charge. My management is constantly assessing every client, the time, the talent and the time of year in shades of Grey and Green never Black and White! From making allowances for great customers and big parties to judging liabilities with unsavory clientele. Sometimes turning away a customer willing to pay $20 will save you $1000 in upset customers who’s experience is tainted by your inability to identify problem patrons.

VIP Table Sales

VIP Rooms/Areas/Tables

Maximize revenue with real estate ie. VIP Areas, Champagne Room, Booths, Tables.

ATM Machines

Transaction charges $2 to $5 or more per transaction to a flat percentage of the total, I always recommend that the venue owns their own ATM machine.

Valet Parking

The club can operate the valet or contract the valet service for a profit share of all cars parked. Depending on the liability and the agreement, it is often better to sublet this out to a licensed valet parking service with a customer base already established. This would also make this a marketing play in your early stages of business development.


Re: Above the Bar – Revenue Streams 101
by: RaymondSmith
July 15, 2014

These are great tips for bar owners. The author may want to elaborate upon them and write a book.


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