It's a simple fact that top tier products make bars more money. Grey Goose, Belvedere, Maker's Mark and Woodford Reserve, just to name a few. If you can charge a premium you can capture premium dollars. Of course, you need your customers to climb out of the well and get them ordering from the top shelves to generate more revenue. Here are five ways to reach so deep into customer pockets that you're grabbing their shoelaces.
One of the most effective ways to persuade your customers to order your premium offerings is to get eyes on them. Companies such as Diageo and Southern Wine & Spirits represent several luxury wine and spirits brands and spend big money on promotional items. They want you to place them around your bar; if their sales reps haven't offered them to you, simply ask them what they have in the warehouse. Want a fancy Jäger shot machine? What about a bartop Grey Goose cabinet? Ask your reps what they have and what they need from you in order to bring it in. Most likely the cost to you will simply come down to ordering a set amount of cases of product.
This isn't quite the same as merchandising but is still about drawing the customers' eyes to specific products. Bar- and tabletop talkers, special drink menus pushing premium products by name, branded napkins, backlit bottle displays... You've seen all these tactics put to use on Bar Rescue to great effect. You've also seen another simple but very effective technique utilized by the show's experts: facing labels towards and away from customers. Premium products should be poured with the label facing your patrons while well labels should face the bartender.
Adopt the Ambassadors
You are not alone. Your distributors aren't - or at least had better not be - done with you once they've delivered your order. If you've aligned yourself with true professionals who understand that your venue and their business are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship, they'll realize that you and your staff are their best sales force. Premium beverage brands employ brand ambassadors, experts in products and recipes both classic and cutting edge. Bringing in a brand ambassador to promote their product and boost your sales is as simple as speaking to your on-premise representative or making a quick phone call.
You knew it would come to this - promotions. One of the most effective ways to push your premium brands is to come up with creative promotions involving their products. While the obvious benefit of branding a special event to move top shelf items is, of course, the revenue generated, an added benefit is capturing dollars and other incentives from your distributors and the brands themselves. Selling more premium items can move you into a better pricing tier and also motivate a distributor and/or brand to open up their wallets to help you pay for fliers and other promotional costs.
When Moët decided to roll the dice on Ice Imperial, a luxury, US-only Champagne launched this summer, they chose to release it only in select markets at select venues. Do you know what those venues did? They made bank selling premium Moët Ice Imperial cocktails and bottle service. Become a venue open to premium product releases and you'll capture trendy early adopters, brand loyal customers and partygoers eager to be in the know. Particularly for limited seasonal releases, becoming a go-to venue for premium items can increase your revenue and strengthen the relationships between your business and premium brands.