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.