How's Business?

January 14, 2011

I've been talking to a vast number of bar and club owners throughout the US over the past few months.  We talked about everything from drink pricing to employee retention.  We've even talked about where they feel that the industry is headed, the new DUI laws and how to retain the customers that they have now and how they plan on gaining new customers.


Here are some of the items that we talked about:

1.  How has the downturn in the economy affected your business and what do you see happening in the next few months?

    Answer:  Most felt that their business was on the upswing.  They were starting to look at investing money back into the estabilishments.  Small remodel jobs and general upkeep to make their place more inviting.  A very small percentage said that they haven't seen any improvement in their business.


2.  What indicators do you use to monitor a trend or cycle?

     Answer:  One item that continued to come up was how some of the younger demo, 21 to 29, have changed their brand preferences.  With less money to spend, they are drinking more cocktails made with well liquor and less top-shelf.  This demo is also leaning towards the lower priced beer brands.  The reverse of this is that some of their clientiele have switched from beer to mixed drinks.

On a more positive note, most of the people I interviewed have said that they are seeing more add on sales versus upselling.  When a guy purchases a beer, they are also adding a shot or other add on item.  Some bars are also promoting volume discounts.  Buy three get your fourth free.  Or, taking a major brand of beer and selling it as a bucket special.


3.  Have you had to hire or retire employees in the last few weeks?

     Answet: Some have let their seasonal hires go but most have keep all of their staff that they had prior to the downturn.

Most are seeing an increase in business on the bottom line.  But, don't see hiring any new people until summer or later.

There are numerous items that we have talked about and should be here but I'll leave that for a later topic.

Re: How's Business?
February 10, 2011


This is all part of my Seminar this year at the NCB Show where the title is "2000 and Then and 2000 and Now" I will be discussing the changes in Customers Patterns and Operational Changes needed to make it in this market place.

Here are some of my notes for my Seminar


Spending Habits 
·   Density and Drinks Per Person
·   How much then and how much now….
·   4 ¼ dpp down to 2 ¼ dpp “Drinks Per Person”
·   How? Top shelf = $8 to $12    Well = $5 to $6   Less +40% Gross revenue
·   You need to increase your DPP Ratio directed to your clientele
  • Trends in the boom time was Credit Cards as the consumers had no worries about how or if they could pay off there cards every month and the credit available was to the moon as banks added 0000’s on your statement for having a pulse.
  • Credit Cards are like Poker chips in the Casinos “IT IS NOT REAL MONEY!” and now that the banks have wipped out billions of dollars of risk off their books that giant golden beer tab has run dry!
  • Before Tabs where opened and run to the sky
  • Now Tabs are opened and closed for every purchase
  • Consumers are tracking and pacing themselves and curbing their spending habits
  • Cash and Debit are the trend as Consumers Credit has disappeared
  • Taking someone’s actual CASH out of their hand is a lot harder than the disconnect that consumers have with their Plastic!

Re: How's Business?
February 10, 2011


I would also like to add that the numbers are up across the board for all of my venues, the only lagging common denominator is food! I am still seeing food as a drag on Candy... I have made moves to increase my food sales by changing up the menu to a more user friendly menu with lots of adds and pictures, I also added options to appease more customers with greater variety.


Author of "The Little black Bar Book"
"A Comprehensive Guide to Opening, Owning and Operating Your Own Bar or Nightclub.”
[email protected]


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