Profits Archives | Sparkler City

Summer at a Bar

Enjoying a Profitable Summer at your Bar

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With summer upon us, putting together a game plan to maximize your revenues is vital for your bar or nightclub to have a profitable season. Potential customers are eager to enjoy their summer, so if you offer them what they want you can make huge profits in just a few short months. On the flipside, if you don’t entice your customer base, they will be just as content to stay home and drink in their backyard with friends. The key is to offer them something at your bar or nightclub that they can’t get anywhere else in town, and there are a few simple ways to accomplish that.

Get Your Staff Ready

Before you even consider trying to pull in more customers over the summer, you need to make sure your staff is set and ready to go. That means making sure you have enough bartenders and servers hired to accommodate any demand that may arise, as well as making sure that bar staff is properly trained. If you can have a complete staff of pros who know exactly what they are supposed to, your guests will stay longer and keep coming back to your bar which will lead to massively higher profits.

Plan Summertime Events

Events are the lifeblood to any successful summer marketing program for a bar or nightclub, so this is where much of your attention needs to be devoted in the months leading up to summer. You’re going to want to book a great variety of bands and come up with themed party nights such as beach attire or even a toga party. Make sure you book the most popular local bands in your area as soon as possible because they will get snatched up quickly for summer show. If you create events that are entertaining and make your customers feel like it is an exclusive experience, you can expect to see large profits follow.

Marketing

No matter how great your summertime event strategy is, it will be all for not if you can’t market it properly. You need to do all of the standard methods such as social media, your website, and even radio ads if you’re in a large enough market, but never underestimate the power of in-house marketing. By putting table tents of your next event on every table and having large banners boasting upcoming parties or bands, you will directly market to your best demographic of all: people who already want to come to your bar or nightclub.

Summer can be the most profitable season for a bar or nightclub, but if can also lead to a completely empty venue if you don’t know how to attract customers. It all starts with having a well-trained and competent staff that is ready to work, and everything else stems from there. Once you have a great staff in place, you can focus on putting together summertime entertainment and marketing it so your bar or nightclub packs out each night. If you can conquer those three factors, you can easily have a very profitable summer at your venue.

Nightclub Inventory

Watching Your Business Expenses Closely

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In business, watching your bottom line is the most important part of being successful. Your total expenses generally tie in directly with your profit margins, and the total profits that a company sees at the end of the year can play into bonuses for management and the ability to hire more employees in subsequent years to continue expanding the business. While this sounds pretty cut and dry, most businesses have already done the basics of finding the cheapest suppliers and taken other measures to make sure they are producing product at the lowest possible price. However, there are other things to take into consideration that just may save you more money than you ever thought possible.

Employee Theft

Though you probably don’t want to think of your employees in this light, the fact of the matter is that one in three employees will steal something from their workplace at some point during their career. This can range from something really small such as a box of straws from the back room to something expensive like a case of high end vodka. Rather than suspecting all of your employees and treating them like criminals, it is easier to put in basic security checkpoints to weed out theft. Most theft is bred from opportunity, so by making it difficult to steal using a single monitored entry point and surveillance cameras throughout the business, you can discourage your employees from attempting theft and lower your business expenses.

Energy Costs

Energy expenses can be a business’ biggest enemy; especially if you operate a large venue such as a restaurant or nightclub. Nightclubs are usually filled to the brim with computer POS stations, lighting, and sound systems which all suck energy like it is going out of style. One of the best things you can do is to have all of the computers and other equipment setup to power down at a certain time unless there is human intervention. This will save you a ton of energy costs over time, yet still allow for employees to stay late to finish up any necessary work.

For restaurants, energy efficiency is the name of the game. While it may seem to be a good idea to stick with a piece of equipment that is still working fine, you may be able to offset the cost of a new piece of equipment with the energy saving alone. If you can produce more food in a shorter period time while also saving tons of money on energy, that new piece of equipment can sometimes pay for itself in just a matter of months. Make sure you crunch all the numbers and leave no stone unturned when finding ways to save on energy because it is only going to become more expensive as we move forward.

Inventory Control

Another technique that can save you money is to monitor your inventory very closely. The more accurate you are with your stock levels, the less you need to order and have sitting around on your shelves. There are many great inventory tools that allow you to determine the right amount of a given item to keep in stock so you never run out but never order too much, thus you keep as little cash tied up as possible and eliminate the risk of losing money if certain items are perishable. There are even inventory systems that allow you to monitor how much liquor you have on hand using the camera on a smartphone or tablet, so there’s really no excuse anymore. Good inventory control procedures will also factor into the employee theft problem because you will notice a discrepancy sooner than later.

Angry Customer

Comping Drinks: Never Give Anything for Free

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We’ve all had that terrible experience in our bar or nightclub before; there’s a very unhappy customer that isn’t pleased with their drinks or experience and wants to speak with a manager. Most of the time they just want to complain to the head honcho and get better service from that point forward, and you can pinpoint weak spot in your service or staff. However, occasionally you’ll run into a customer that simply won’t be satisfied regardless of what you offer them, and often times they want their bill comped.

However, not only will this cause you to lose money on that specific transaction but it also sets a dangerous precedent for all of your other customers that you’ll waive the cost of their drinks if they complain hard enough. This can lead to excessive complaints, blatant lies, and overall unruly customers if left unchecked for too long. Instead, consider using another strategy to satiate those customers without going into debt. Here are some key strategies to help you never give anything away for free when an upset customer wants something comped from their bill.

Offer to Correct the Situation

The very first thing you need to do is offer to correct the situation. If the customer has an issue with a server or bartender, swap them out for someone else on the floor. If the drinks aren’t up to snuff, have them remade immediately the way the customer likes them. Most importantly, you need to do all of this with a great attitude that shows the customer that you understand their frustrations and will get the problem resolved, but you are still in control of the situation. It’s amazing how far some good customer service will get you in these types of situations.

Offer Them and Incentive

If sweet-talking the disgruntled customer doesn’t work, it may be time to pull out a better incentive. Consider having some sort of free admission voucher to an upcoming live performance or event at your venue or a “buy one get one half price” coupon for their next visit. Though you’re technically giving them something for free, you’re also getting them to come back another time to claim it and you’ll still make money on their business. After all, “buy one get one half price” still means profit if your pricing structure is correct; which is much better than taking a loss from waiving their bill all together.

Give Them a Discount

When all else fails, sometimes you need to dig deep and give an angry customer a discount. This should be the last tool in your box, but sometimes it’s the only option to stave off a massive public scene. Just make sure you set a maximum percentage for the discount such as 25% so you stay in the black on the transaction. It’s okay to break even on a bill once in a while to ensure the rest of your customers have a great experience, but you certainly don’t want to get hit for a loss.

Though on certain occasions a customer may be very angry and present a challenge, you can always find a way to remedy the issue without taking a financial loss. By using the three strategies above, you can stop comping drinks and never give anything for free again.

Online Ticketing

5 Tools Every Club Needs to Maximize Revenues

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Whether you operate a nightclub, a bar, or an event center, each of those business models can improve their profitability greatly by implementing the right systems and tools. When everything is put in place correctly and you have the right tools at your disposal to operate your business, you can build a more loyal customer base and watch your profits rise. Here are 5 tools that every club needs to maximize their revenues.

A CRM System (Customer Relationship Management)

Though taking the “Cheers” approach and knowing everyone’s name that frequents your bar is a great way to get things started, this approach isn’t really practical unless you run a corner dive in a very small town. By implementing a CRM system, you can get an instant snapshot of how often a particular patron comes to your club, how much they spend, and what they like to drink. This can help your bartenders to upsell a customer drinks and food that are specifically catered to their taste.

Advanced Ticketing

If you have bands or other types of entertainment at your bar or nightclub, and most of you do, then you should absolutely be offering advanced ticket sales. It’s 2015 so this should be common sense, but there are still plenty of bars that require you to purchase tickets at the door. This is like a pizza joint not accepting online orders; it’s just plain business suicide.

Reservation Management Systems

The days of using a pen and paper to keep track of your table reservations should be considered a thing of the past. Your customers want to be able to reserve a table online and cancel it online if their plans change. Also, you can have each reservation assigned to a specific table and have availability disappear when you’re booked up to avoid any conflicts with your reservation process.

General Admission Tracker

Most club owners fixate on their VIP and promotion sales because they use that as a tool to see how busy their club was on a particular night. However, if you’re doing this at the expense of tracking your general admissions, you’re making a huge mistake. You absolutely need to know how many people came and went from your club each night and how many were males and females. This will allow you to better target your promotions and also better understand your target audience.

An Analytics System

We all know that data is important to get a pulse on how your venue is doing, but the trouble is that gathering the best types of data can seem to be a daunting task. This can lead to owners and their manager making poor decisions blindly instead of leveraging their data to make more profits. By implementing a great analytics system, you’ll be able to see a snapshot of your customers, servers, and bartenders while also being able to dig deep into the numbers to find trends and problem areas that you need to address.

Though there’s more to being successful than just implementing a few tools, they can certainly help you get the big picture of what’s happening in your nightclub, bar, or event center and make better choices. By using these 5 tools to maximize your revenues, your club can continue to increase its revenue stream for years to come.

Off Sale Liquor

Off Sale Liquor: Is it Good for Business?

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Most bars are constantly looking for new ways to increase their revenue stream, and moving into the realm of the off sale liquor market is usually one of the first things that enters the mind of an owner. It can be very tempting to cash in on this type of business because it can mean more sales both in your bar and from your cooler or liquor shelf. However, there are unique challenges that offering off sale liquor brings to the table, so this concept should be considered carefully before you make an investment with your time and money.

For those who aren’t aware, “off sale” liquor means that you sell beer, wine, or bottles of liquor to be taken off site for consumption. This is the type of liquor license that a regular liquor store needs to have in order to sell their products. “On sale” liquor is the type of license that a bar or nightclub must possess to serve drinks to their customer. It is possible to have both, and we’ll look at some of the pros and cons of that decision below.

Pros

Obviously, you can bring in some more business if you offer off sale liquor to your customers; and that means more revenues. The real bonus is that you can get your customers to buy a six pack of beer before they leave the bar to bring home. On the flipside, you can get customers to sit down at your bar simply because they popped in to grab a bottle of gin. Featuring off sale liquor can get more customers in the door and increase their average bill size, and those two things can make you money.

Cons

Though the financial end of things is very appealing, you also need to consider the challenges. First off, you need to buy an additional liquor license in order to sell off sale liquor. If you live in a fairly large town or city, there are probably liquor stores that can offer their beer and liquor for cheaper so it may be hard to cover the expense of such a license with sales. Theft can also become a problem that you need to monitor because often times bars will utilize their bartender as the shopkeeper for the liquor store portion of the business and that can be nearly impossible on a busy Saturday night.

When It Makes Sense

So how do you know if investing in an off sale liquor license is right for your bar? If you are the only bar in a very small town that doesn’t have its own liquor store, then you have a big opportunity. People will have no choice in a pinch if they want to buy beer or liquor, so you will make a killing. Also, if your bar is near a bank of hotels that don’t have a liquor store nearby, off sale liquor is a popular choice among travelers. As long as there is a large enough market and you don’t have any real direct competition, off sale liquor can be good for your business and increase the profitability of your bar.

Tap Beer

Maximizing Your Beer Profits

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Whether you’re running a bar and grill or an upscale nightclub, beer sales are going to make up a significant amount of your total revenue. Even if you’re attempting to capture the cocktail market in a certain area, America loves their beer way too much to convince everyone to throw away their pint glass and try something new (and likely more profitable). However, there is still plenty of profit to be made on your draft beer if you put together your system correctly. There are a lot of things that affect how much money you make from a pint of beer, so being aware of all those things can make a very drastic difference.

It’s also important to note that the profit you make selling draft beer versus the profits from cans or bottles is drastically higher; sometimes as much as double! Beer manufacturers need to pay for the container, the shiny label, and labor to put that all together when they roll out cans and bottles from their brewery, but when they keg their beer instead it is a much simpler and streamlined process. This means you only are paying for the beer in the keg; not the fancy marketing or the container. This is why it’s so important to have a good tap beer program in place and to know what it takes to have customers coming back for another pint of your draft beer.

Proper Temperatures

The most important aspect of selling tap beer is that you need to keep your kegs at the proper temperature. If draft beer is too warm when it comes out of your taps, it will be flat, foamy, and unappealing to the drinker. This means that you’ll be pouring up to 40% of your beer down the drain because the pints come out too foamy, and even worse is that nobody will buy your draft beer and your poor reputation will spread throughout the community.

Proper Margins

Another important thing when trying to make more money off of your beer sales is to price things with the proper margins. Charging the right amount for each type of beer you have in stock is crucial to making profits while at the same time keeping your customers coming back for more. You can offer your draft beer at lower prices than your bottled beer and still have higher margins because the initial cost is so much cheaper. Overall, you should try to price your draft beer to have a profit margin of around 80% and your bottled beer for a profit margin of around 75% to make everything shake out in your favor at the end of the day.

The Right Selection

Lastly, one of the worst things you can do is to have a poor choice of beer selections available for purchase. This is a double-edged sword because you want to have enough variety to bring in the masses but you want to avoid beer going stale and being thrown in the trash. To accomplish this, you need to rely on your sales data. If there’s a beer that isn’t selling well, switch it out for something new or remove it from the menu all together. Your beer distributor should be helpful in this arena as well because they obviously have a vested interest in your bar selling more beer. By balancing quality, pricing, and the right selection, maximizing your beer profits can quickly become a simple science.

Boat Parking

Making Your Lakeside Bar and Grill Profitable

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If you’re lucky enough to have some commercial property that is situated on a large body of water like a lake or river, then capitalizing on that niche can bring in a ton of money. Whether it is tourists coming on from the surrounding areas or other residents that live on the lake coming in for a break from their day on the water, you definitely have a sweet opportunity that other businesses don’t have. However, you may find that it isn’t as easy as you think bringing in customers off the water, and usually there is a higher lease price or mortgage on commercial property in this type of area. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to tip the odds in your favor when operating a lakeside bar and grill that will help you to make it as profitable as possible.

Offer Boat-Side Delivery

One of the easiest ways to increase sales at your lakeside bar and grill is to offer delivery to your customer’s boats. Many people don’t want to go through the hassle of docking their boat, walking up the dock, and getting a table, but they will certainly order food that can be dropped off quickly. You can even apply for an off-sale liquor license so you can sell ice cold 6 packs of beer to really make your service indispensable. Make sure you have a large banner with information on ordering for boat delivery with a phone number to call since most lakes have excellent cell phone service everywhere.

Offer Boat Parking

If you don’t have a spot for people to park their boats, you might as well close the doors on your bar and grill. One of the biggest ways to make money with your lakeside location is to bring in customers from the lake, so you absolutely must have a place for them to park their watercraft. Imagine a restaurant that didn’t have a parking lot and you can easily understand why boat parking is so crucial to the business model.

Host Events

Hosting events is a great way to engage your surrounding community and bring in more business. Instead of having bands or other live entertainment like a regular bar and grill would have, embrace your lakeside location and consider some events that are more in line with the lake experience.

Kayak and Canoe Show

One easy way to drive a ton of business in a short period of time is to host a kayak and canoe shoe. You can invite vendors from across the country to attend the show, and you can even charge them a fee to setup a booth. The vendors can bring kayaks and canoes for the guests to try out, and you’ll probably even bring in people from a website that reviews kayaks, canoes, and outdoor gear along with people who love the outdoors from your community.

Create a Fishing Contest

Another easy way to create a lot of interest in your lakeside bar and grill is to create and host a fishing contest. People will come from all around to participate and witness the fishing contest, so it will be easy to make a lot of money. Just make sure you advertise you name all over the contest and have the final results take place at your bar and grill to really capitalize on the concept.

Coat Check

Little Touches Make a Big Impact on Profits

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When you already have a successful bar or nightclub, the next logical thing that you’ll want to focus on is increasing your margins. This is a delicate dance because if you raise your prices too much, you can drive away the quality of customers that you serve on a given night. At the same time, chances are each of those guests has a little more cash in their pocket that could go in your register, so elevating the venue just a little bit can play a huge role in growing your profits. Here are a few little touches that the most elite clubs use to take their customer’s experience to the highest level.

Coat Check

Coat check is a very nice service to offer your guests and can take an average nightclub to a whole new level. When you offer top notch services like coat check, you can attract bigger spenders and charge more for drinks and food. You’d be surprised at how much your public perception will improve if you offer free coat check, especially if you’re in a northern state like New York or Minnesota.

Upgraded Bathrooms

There’s nothing worse than going to a nice bar or nightclub only to find a trashed and disgusting bathroom. In the nightlife industry, women are the key demographic because the men will follow wherever they go to drink and unwind. Consider offering fine bathroom accessories like clean hand towels, handmade cold process soaps, and even little breath mints or candy to make the experience as great as possible.

Visible Security

There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re in danger when you’re out for a fun night on the town, so it’s your job to make sure you provide good security at the club. Just as important is making sure that the security guards are visible and easy to spot because this will make your patrons feel safer and spend more money while at the same time discouraging any would-be offenders from trying anything violent. By simply making security’s presence known, you can reduce the chances of an incident drastically.

Quality Everything

I talk a lot about perceived value, and I feel like it is once again worth touching on that subject. By simply serving a cocktail in a little nicer glass, you can easily charge and extra twenty-five or fifty cents without anyone complaining. The same thing goes for any food you happen to serve. If the plates look elegant and have some good weight to them, the customer will feel like they are getting a better value; even if you raise the prices a little to offset the cost of new dishes. Even the napkins need to be as high quality as possible because there is a big difference between the way a thin and inexpensive napkin feels in your hand compared to a thinker one made from quality cotton or even fabric.

Essentially, if you want to make more money you have to give your customers a little extra flare in the little touches. Though you’ll need to invest a little more money in materials, you can add a small markup to each of your items and actually improve your margins while giving your customers a better experience.

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