Could your bar lose $200/hr and still stay in business?
For many bars around the country, the current economic climate has changed the way they do business. I have spoken to numerous bar owners who have admitted having to lay off staff, change their opening hours, while others have unfortunately had to call it a day.
Having worked with many bars in the last six years, the common theme that I have found among successful bars is the ability of the owner to analyze, optimize and maintain.
The opposite has been the case with bars that have only lasted a few months or that couldn't sustain a downturn in business.
This was never clearer to me than last week when I went out for a few drinks with some friends and watched a bar's profits swirl away down the drain as the staff worked their way through shots, cocktails, sodas and beers. I was only in this particular bar for an hour and in this time, four staff had 5 drinks each without paying. I was one of four customers in a bar with no management presence and certainly no owner around to analyze his bar and see first-hand where the profits were flowing.
If a bar can lose 20 drinks during a quiet hour, what would the tally be at the end of the week? 200, 300 or maybe more?
The only way to ensure that losses at this level are not occurring is to have a system in place that allows you to measure your results daily, weekly and monthly.
If you cannot be physically present during opening hours, then you need a manager that you trust and that understands the line between being friendly with staff and actually partaking in their theft.
It wouldn't hurt to have a mystery customer drink/eat at the bar to give you feedback about service, losses and overall experience. Don't hire a family member because they won't want to hurt your feelings if their experience was bad.
Once your systems are in place for measuring, you can start to see what's working and what's not working for you. If the numbers aren't stacking up, then you need to investigate further; if the customer numbers aren't hitting your targets, then you'll know it's time to step things up a gear. If you don't measure, you can't manage.
Once your systems have been optimized, then all you have to do is maintain them and automate them. Establish a reporting system that feeds you the necessary information to maintain your numbers and hit the goals.
These great articles should help you with your system:
Bar Scams to Watch Out For
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How a Mystery Guest can help your business
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