Bars and restaurants that serve liquor have a lot of scope for raking in profits since alcohol is a high-profit margin item. As per reports, the revenue in the alcoholic drinks market amounts to US$49,029m in 2020, in India, and the liquor market is expected to grow annually by 9.3% (CAGR 2020-2023). The demand for liquor-based drinks is steadily increasing, making bars and pubs a lucrative restaurant format. However, stiff competition in this space and the tedious task of maintaining the liquor inventory, making high restaurant and bar profits can be challenging.
Starting from retaining customers, bringing in new age techniques like mixologists, using happy hour strategies, controlling liquor costs, pricing liquor right, using proper upselling methods, marketing your restaurant bar well, to taking into consideration your staff’s suggestions, all are crucial enough to make or break the future of your restaurant bar.
In this article, we will discuss some highly effective strategies that will boost your restaurant and bar profits like never before!
Strategies You Can Implement To Escalate Your Restaurant And Bar Profits
Here are some smart strategies that you can very conveniently implement that are sure to improve your revenues.
1. Leverage Your Existing Customer Base
The biggest mistake that most restaurants and bars commit is that they neglect the existing customers. However, you must remember that your current customers are your most prominent marketers, whether it is through word of mouth or through the pictures they put on their social media pages when they visit your bar-restaurant. Hence, not trying to retain your existing customers might be the biggest blunder that you might be committing.
There are various ways by which you can retain customers. Firstly, make them feel that they are essential to you and celebrate their loyalty. You can do this by messaging them on their birthdays or anniversaries, by giving them exclusive discounts for those specific days, or giving them complimentary items whenever they visit your bar-restaurant.
Social media has become a big part of the dining experience. People do visit restaurants, click pictures of what they eat, and post on a social media platform like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. You can very quickly try and harness this by including it in your loyalty programs by rewarding the images with the most likes. These rewards can be anything from 50% off on a meal or more exciting deals like free meals. It is unlikely that they will come alone. This will give you a chance to make new customers and increase your reach. Hence try and harness the already existing customers to garner more customers.
2. Offer Interesting Happy Hour Strategies
Happy Hours have become the most used marketing strategies for increasing restaurant and bar profits. Let’s be frank that the primary targeted audience for the bar now days are aged between 18- 40 years. The youngsters, especially who are aged between 18-30 years, are always on the lookout for cheap and affordable bar restaurants. To attract this crowd providing happy hours is the best way. For example, you must have seen bars giving happy hours between 3- 8 pm.
Not only are the drinks available during the happy hours are cheap, but there are also offers like 1+1 or 2 +1 on drinks. Many times, they also provide combos like a free plate of Nachos with a pint of beer. Doing so, you can not only encourage more crowds to flow in, but it also helps you in upselling a few items. Happy hours provide the group with the opportunity to decide whether the bar-restaurant is worth it and whether it is profitable for them to enjoy the experience without the happy hour deals.
3. Use Upselling Techniques
You must train your staff very well. Unless you do so, they will not understand that your servers are not just mere servers. The bartender and wait staff should be more than order-takers. Instead of waiting for the customers to make up their minds while ordering, why don’t you train your servers to give suggestions and ask your customers to try something new on the menu or your bar restaurant’s signature dish? Hence educate your staff, discuss why the high-end brands are worth the price so that servers can recommend them with sincerity and enthusiasm.
Your servers or your bartenders can play a significant role in upselling the items on your menu. Although your customer might have an interest in another liquor, if your staff tries to suggest any particular alcohol and gives a sales pitch that describes the exoticness of that particular drink, hardly will a customer decline the suggestion. Set target sales goals, and if they reach the target, everybody wins.
The top seller can get something extra benefits, maybe a coupon for shopping or a movie. The more they are good at upselling, the better will be the sales of your bar-restaurant.
4. Keep Your Liquor Costs under Control
It is estimated that liquor is the most affected when it comes to wastage or pilferage from behind the bar. Hence, you must follow the various cost control mechanisms such as Perpetual Inventory Form, Waste Sheet, Recipe Management Sheet. You must have tight control over your inventory. A well-functioning bar approximately has around one crore liquor stock; hence if Rs 50,000 liquor is misplaced, the owner will hardly come to know. However, such misappropriations in a consistent manner can cost your bar restaurant a lot.
You should use a bar management system that will take care of your inventory, you will get to know how much stock you purchase, and you will also receive inventory count daily. For example, you will get to know about the stock in the inventory when your bar-restaurant opens, and you will have the end stock count as well. This will ensure that you have a bird’s eye view of all the operations happening at your bar.
The Recipe Sheet will have a detailed report of the quantity and recipe of each drink on the menu; this will reduce the wastage of drinks to a great extent.
Most food wastages are avoidable and are a direct result of a lack of cost control mechanisms and training. Waste Sheet contains a detailed report of which item was wasted, why it was wasted, and the quantity of the item that was wasted.
Maintaining these three sheets religiously will ensure that no activities that happen behind the bar get out of your sights and mind. Since all the items used in the bar starting from liquor to glasses all are incredibly costly, it is pivotal for you to keep tight control over these, since any misappropriations in this area will hinder the influx of your restaurant and bar profits immensely.
5. Create a Marketing Plan
You must have an in-house marketing department who will take over the humongous task of marketing. You must venture into both online and offline marketing. You must plan it well and set targets and goals that you would like to achieve. Make sure that you keep in mind the below-mentioned points while venturing into the domain of marketing:
- Social Media Marketing: The reach of online and digital marketing is extensive. You must not just create a social media page and forget to update it regularly. You must religiously update about the new items inserted in the menu, changes in the opening or closing time of your bar-restaurant, or upload pictures of the various events that take place in your bar-restaurant. You can also put ads on social media pages.
- You Must Monitor Your Online Reputation: You can have an official SEO optimized website for your restaurant bar. And you must utilize this website and interact with your customers to further teach your relationship with them. Once you launch a website, you should never ignore your customer’s review.
For example, if someone gives useful feedback, will it take too much for you to acknowledge their appreciation? On the other hand, if the review is terrible, you, in all circumstances, must address the matter and try and find where your servers or your bar restaurant went wrong. Having an online presence is a must to ensure that you are not out of mind and sight of your customers.
- Distributing Pamphlets and Putting up Hoardings: You can put up hoardings and distribute pamphlets around the busy areas of your city. In addition to this in-house, marketing is most important. Create a cocktail menu that complements the décor of your bar restaurant and put a picture of your new signature cocktail on a card for every table. Include a line or two describing its exquisite quality.
- Hosting Events: One of the easiest ways of attracting customers to your restaurant is by hosting events at your bar-restaurant. Events like karaoke nights, ladies nights, Sufi nights, organizing jamming seasons, bringing in some individual musicians or bands can boost up your sales. For example, when Beer Café turned five years, they offered brews at Rs 5 for the entire day. Hosting such events will not only ensure that you see the influx of a large number of customers but will also create a bond with your customers as you will make them a part of your special celebration.
6. Menu Pricing
You must always remember that to reduce the cost that would bolster your restaurant and bar profits; you must never opt for low-quality substitutes. You must never increase the price of your liquor disproportionately. If you do so, your religious customers will realize the sudden increase in the menu prices, and this will leave a wrong impression on your customers. Instead, what you can do is increase the price of your liquor menu steadily, in small amounts, with intervals. This will not cost you much since it will not shock your customers with the disproportionate increase in the liquor cost.
While deciding the liquor price, you must just follow simple maths. It must be stated that the cost of each drink will differ as per the type of establishment where the liquor is being served.
For example, if it is a high-end bar in a posh locality, then the cost of drinks will naturally be more if compared to liquor in a small street bar or a small sports bar. Hence, you must decide on the menu price depending on how much did you spend in preparing the drink. With the motive of providing your customers with reasonable liquor, you definitely can’t run into a loss. Hence, price it well!
You must also remember to price the menu as per the market demographic. The same menu price point which works for one location, may not work for another, even within the same city. It is best to analyze your customer base and test the price points until you reach a definitive conclusion.
Also, try these 15 actionable tips for creating a stunning bar menu design that is sure to get your bar sales skyrocketing.
7. Use Innovations Such As Mixology and Bar Theatrics
You can ask your bartenders to make drinks up on the bar. People want to see something innovative, something that is out of the box. Let them make their drinks with flair, passion using new techniques. Customers love to look at theatrics behind the bar. Why don’t you appoint a mixologist, who would bring in new innovative drinks on your bar menu? Since, mixology is an in-thing, having a mixologist behind your bar will be a point of attraction for your customers. In addition to this, you should bring a star bartender for a day or two in a week. This can very effectively be one of your USP’s, and you can harp on this and try and garner more customers. These are instead a new concept hence;, you can use this and enjoy seeing the influx of the customers.
8. Amplify Your Strengths
One of the best ways to improve your restaurant and bar profits is to amplify your strengths. Start with analyzing each aspect of your restro-bar and identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business. For this, you need to take the help of your restaurant POS reports. Analyze which menu items are the most preferred by your customers and generate the most profits. The menu performance reports will tell you which menu items are contributing the most to sales, and which items aren’t being sold that much. The most popular menu items are your strengths. Similarly, analyze the customer feedback to understand what are people liking the best about your restaurant. Is it the food, the service, or the ambiance?
Based on these, you can promote your restaurant and bar and come up with strategic marketing campaigns. This would help you attract and retain customers and also boost your restaurant and bar profits.
9. Ask Your Staff To Give Suggestions
Since your servers and your bartenders deal with your customers, they will eventually garner a lot of knowledge about what the customer likes or dislikes. Have a monthly cocktail recipe contest among your staff. Challenge them to come up with new and exciting drinks that showcase a particular product. Institute incentive contests whenever you can. Set target sales goals, and if they reach the target, everybody wins. The top seller can get something extra. This promotes teamwork, and each member gets directly rewarded. Incentives can be gift cards, concert tickets, or whatever is relevant to their need.
Bar restaurant management is one of the most crucial areas in which most owners fail to comprehend. Customers are always on the lookout for something innovative and exciting. Hence you must always try and change your strategies from time to time that will keep the customers hitched to your restaurant bar’s menu.