Running a successful bar is hard work. Every day you have to fight for excellence. It’s like in football – a team may win by mere inches, but each player fought for those inches every step of the way.
The same theory applies to bars and to all businesses. If you want to be successful and, most of all, if you want to avoid mediocrity, it takes seven important principles. Operate your business by these seven principles and you’ll achieve success:
1.Remember Names and Faces
Whether you have one customer or a dozen, you must focus on EACH customer to make an impression. This means remembering your customers’ faces and greeting them by their names. Build a relationship with them. It’s that personalized service, and that need to be recognized that your customers will remember – and that’s what will keep them coming back again and again.
2. The Right Staff Will Make a Difference
I would rather hire a person with a great personality and sense of humor than someone with a 10-page resume. If you are interviewing someone for a job – be it a manager, bartender or server – and they don’t look you in the eye when talking to you, if they don’t have the energy or don’t seem inspired, then you’ll know right away that the person is a bad fit for the job.
Your staff needs to build relationships with your customers, and an anti-social person just won’t do that. So screen your staff harder, and hire carefully.
3. Change the Way Your Staff Thinks
Every day, I meet with people who are ineffective managers with failing businesses and I only have five days to turn it all around. I could spend that entire time trying to change what they do, but it would take a lifetime to do that. Instead, I can only change the way they think. That’s the key to success in any business.
There are several ways you can get through to someone to change their level of thinking. You can appeal to their pride. You might say, “Larry was counting on you, and you let him down.”
You can appeal to their fears. “You have two little girls at home. What’s going to happen to them if your business closes?”
Or you can appeal to their competitive spirit. “Are you going to let the guy down the street beat you?”
The idea is to get the person to doubt themselves, even if for just one second. That’s when I know I’m in, and that the way they’re used to thinking is about to change.
4. Go For the Reaction
Build your bar with your marketplace in mind. In doing so, you should be striving to get a reaction out of each customer you earn with every point of contact. From your greeting the moment they walk in the door to the food and drinks you serve, to the setting and ambiance you provide – your customers should sit up and take notice. If they don’t, you’re starting on that unfortunate path to mediocrity, and your competitors will have the upper hand.
5. Keep Track of Your Financials
Many bars could have been successful, but they ran out of money before that success could come. Keep money on hand for emergencies and ensure that you have enough funds to keep your bar in business. And whatever you do, keep accurate records. Budgets, spreadsheets, and regular financial reports are your friends.
6. Be Honest and Accountable
Be honest with everyone you work with and encourage the same in your staff. Above all, own your failures and you’ll own your success – and don’t be arrogant. It’s not about what you want; it’s about what the customers want.
7. Have a Sense of Humor
If you can’t make others smile, then they won’t want to work with you or be your customers. From the owner to the managers to the staff, everyone should be in good spirits while working. That positivity will then bleed over into the service you provide your customers, leaving them smiling and happy.
The idea behind these principles is not to change what you do, but to change the way you think. Do that and business success will be yours.