The New Year is here and we all have good intentions. Many bar and nightclub operators also make resolutions—to make their business stronger, to keep their employees happier, and to delight their customers.
Nightclub & Bar takes a look at the New Year resolutions some operators are making.
Resolution: Better Manage Social Media
Tommy DeAlano is the owner of candleroom and The Dram, two Dallas nightspots. In 2014 he hopes to streamline his social media processes since managing social media for three concepts (he also owns a restaurant) can be daunting.
“With all that comes out every month, you never know which app or web site’s going to take off,” he says. “We try to stay ahead of the game and focus on which could bring us our core clientele without spamming the crap out of them.”
DeAlano uses Facebook and Twitter predominantly. “We’re trying to look at making sure we don’t spread ourselves too thin trying to keep up with everything. Instead we want to just focus on our core brand and make it interesting enough for people to come back.”
To keep on top of social media, he’s tried various methods, including having one person manage it to having everyone on his team manage it. But in 2014, DeAlano plans to hire a PR company to focus only on social media. “They can look at all the reports and the metrics and when we can target our specific market,” he explains
While the PR company will handle the generic postings, DeAlano himself will take care of the more grassroots, brand building posts. “By using a PR company that has a pulse on what works and when, we are able to get accurate feedback on what we want to post; what times, methods and media that are appropriate to reach our target audience; and information on the latest technology and creative ideas on how to utilize them,” DeAlano says.
This allows him and his team to concentrate on the actual content, he says.
Resolution: Focus on Exclusive Promotional Events
The Las Vegas Lounge in Philadelphia, Pa., plans to run exclusive promotions with Yuengling, based nearby in Pottsville, Pa., starting in January.
“We’re teaming up with them and with a ski resort and hope to build this up hand in hand,” says owner Ken Pisarcik. “Exclusive promos are definitely something I’d like to look into more. I think they have the opportunity of driving business when you have something that other people don’t have to offer.”
“I think we need to find opportunities and actually go out and look for them,” says Pisarcik. “I have relationships with beer and liquor companies and I think we have to be a little more aggressive and inquire about these things and get the companies to do things with us.”
Resolution: Focus on Your Brand
Pisarcik also plans to work on his brand in 2014.
“We really feel this is a need for the New Year,” he says. “We lose 5% of regulars every year (the industry does) so we have to focus on new customers and getting people aware that we’re out there.”
Pisarcik plans to redesign the signage and update the logo at Las Vegas Lounge “to go for more of a statement and make people aware of us. I think we need to have a bolder presence through our exterior.” It’s important in a crowded downtown like Philadelphia’s, he says.
“We know people want a bit of a ‘sneak peek’ at the atmosphere and environment before they try out a new bar, so the new signage is really a way to captivate a passersby and then direct their attention to what's going on inside.”
Resolution: To Innovate, Take Risks, Invent and Experiment
In 2013 the Mac n Cheese Attack Burger from Rockit Burger Bar in Chicago went viral, and it continues to create buzz.
“You have to consistently work as a team to be inventive, take risks and constantly challenge yourselves,” says Billy Dec, CEO and co-founder of Rockit Ranch Productions.
Every week Rockit Burger Bar has a Saturday night promotion challenging guests to create a burger that it will cook for them. The bar itself also creates a brand new burger each week.
“The result has been, and will continue to be, an internal culture of innovators, a following who appreciates inventive food culture,” says Dec. That means more customers, he says, “but also buzz-worthy experiences that lead to reputation building, increased social media and press.”
Resolution: To Maintain Business Momentum
Billy Dec also re-launched The Underground in Chicago last year and now plans to not rest on his laurels and to maintain the nightclub’s competitive advantage.
He’ll do that, he says, by treating every weekend like opening weekend, with special events and effective communication. “We need to constantly look back at all the elements we set out to accomplish and push on them to make sure we are exceeding them, not falling short because everything feels great, or it seems to hard.”
Resolution: Make Better Use of Technology
Vanity Supper Club in Providence, R.I., will be using a specific technology to track trends in 2014. Last year the company started using Swipely instead of its former credit card processor because Swipely offers other features including analytics, marketing, loyalty programs, and customer data.
“I use this technology to see how often people come in and I know which months are my slowest, so I know when to ramp up advertising,” says owner Ed Brady.
He can also contact customers directly. “We can highlight lapsed customers with this. If we see a customer came in months ago who hasn’t come in for a while, we can try to bring them back in.” Brady might send an offer for a complimentary appetizer or details of coming events. Or he might get in touch because it’s a customer’s birthday.
And 2014 will be the year this really comes into play, since finally Brady will have a previous year to compare to. Now, the technology will be more measurement-oriented and there will be a lot of comparison, so he expects to make more data-driven marketing decisions for his business.