Sales Archives | Sparkler City

Bar Patio

Preparing Your Bar for Summer

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Summer is obviously one of the nicest times of year to be outside, and that can be a terrible thing in the bar industry. Over the summer months, more people decide to skip the bar altogether and do outdoor activities instead. Things like going to the beach, having a backyard barbeque, or sitting around a campfire takes precedence over bellying up to the bar, and that can impact your bottom line negatively. So what can you do to bring people into your bar during the summer months? Fortunately, there are a few tactics that will still bring out the crowds if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Open a Patio Section

One of the biggest reasons that people skip the bar during the summer is that they want to sit outside and enjoy the weather. That’s really hard to do when sitting inside a stuffy bar where the smell of beer and patrons hangs in the air, so you need to offer them an area outside to sit and enjoy their beverages. If you don’t have a patio yet, you need to figure out a way to setup part of your bar outside. You don’t necessarily need an actual bar and bartender outside, just a place where people can sit and enjoy the weather while buying items form your establishment. If you already have a patio, you should consider having a large banner printed up to hang out in front of your bar so everyone walking and driving by knows that you have outdoor seating available for customers.

Tropical Cocktails

Whether you live in Florida or in Minnesota, summers get hot and humid. When the weather feels tropical outside, people like to transport themselves to a tropical destination; if only in their minds. By creating a selection of tropical drinks for your customers to enjoy and advertising them properly, you will draw in a crowd of people looking to take a “vacation” for a few hours. Ice cold tropical drinks are irresistible in the hot summer months, and when you couple that with their difficulty to make at home you have a recipe for success.

Live Music

One thing that brings in customers regardless of what season it happens to be is entertainment, and live music is the king of that realm. Not only will you get most of your regular customers interested in coming to see the band, but usually the band will bring a small following to your bar as well to boost business. If you have the space and it is allowed by your local laws, you should try to have your music outdoors whenever possible. Not only will this combine the live music with an outdoor experience that customers crave, but it is also great marketing because people in the surrounding areas will hear the music and come to your bar to check it out.

Summer may be a slow time for the bar industry, but with proper planning and marketing you can still run a successful business. If you can key-in on what customers are interested in doing during the summer months, preparing your bar for success will be a much easier process.

Bottle Service

Determining Table and Bottle Pricing in your Club

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Originally when nightclubs first became trendy, the only costs were for drinks and possibly a cover charge to get in the door. Over the last few decades, club owners have found all sorts of new ways to generate revenue such as bottle service, VIP seating, and more. When you’re pricing out a cocktail, the formula is really straight forward. You figure out the cost of the ingredients, add on your target margin, and you come up with a final price. However, determining table and bottle pricing can be a little trickier since it is skewed based on the demand of your limited seating areas and the “cool factor” of buying bottle service. Fortunately, there is a pretty simple way to figure it out if you know what you’re doing.

Bottle Service

There are two main ways nightclubs handle bottle service. Option one is used if there are plenty of table in the club and groups can simply order a bottle with mixers for their table to enjoy. Option two, the more popular option, involves having a limited number of tables available that are exclusively for groups who are buying bottle service.

To put it bluntly, a table for bottle service is worth whatever people are willing to pay. It’s always good to start off with a base price at the beginning of the night, such as 1 bottle for $300 or 2 bottles for $600, and then slowly increase the price as tables begin to fill up. It’s not uncommon for a nightclub to charge twice what the initial going rate for bottle service by the end of the night if the club is very busy. Just remember that it is completely supply and demand, so if the group wants bottle service they will pay what you ask.

Table Pricing

Some venues like to offer tables to VIP customers as a way of showing their status. Usually, this requires an additional purchase of a VIP package when they arrive at the club. Similar to bottle service, the cost of a table can fluctuate based on demand. However, it is usually much more affordable to be seated in the VIP area compared to getting a table with bottle service. You should also keep them separated so the bottle service customers are considered the top echelon while the VIP customers are a close second.

Advanced Booking Fees

Sometimes large groups want to reserve a section of your nightclub for an event such as a birthday party or a bachelor party. This can mean big business, but it can also hinder your regular business model because of the amount of space they will take up in your venue. For this “hassle”, you should charge an advanced booking fee. Typically, the industry standard is somewhere between 25% and 50% of the normal cover charge per person in the group. This should also be non-refundable in case the group decides to cancel unexpectedly so you aren’t out the labor and materials costs for preparing for their arrival.

Though pricing out VIP packages and bottle service requires some flexibility and a keen business sense, with a little practice it is fairly straight forward. Just remember that you’re selling an experience and that demand should guide you while you’re determining table and bottle pricing in your club.

Guiding Customer Purchases

Guiding Your Customer’s Purchases Politely

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One of the best tools that your servers and bartenders have at their discretion is the power of persuasion. If your staff knows how to execute it right, they can guide your customers to making choices that they will enjoy more and will also yield you higher profits. However, if your staff is trained on how to do it politely, it can backfire and lead to a customer who feels under pressure from a pushy staff. Here are some techniques that can help you capitalize on persuasion while not turning off your customers.

Suggest Upgrades

The easiest way to add purchases to a sale is to offer higher quality items that are similar to their first choice. It can be a more expensive vintage of wine or a different drink altogether that you suspect they might really enjoy. This will make your customer’s experience much more enjoyable, and it will increase the size of their bill. Make sure to be helpful and friendly or you may come across as pushy. You need to know when your customer has fully made up their mind.

Handling Rejection

Much of the time, your customers will reject any type of suggestion because they already have their mind made up. However, sometimes they reject your suggestion because they simply aren’t interested in that particular up sale. If a customer criticizes your suggestion, that is a huge opening for you to offer something else based on the information they revealed. It’s a bit of an art form, but it pays off huge if you perfect it.

Add-Ons

Offering your guests add-ons is a great way to earn bigger purchases and improving the guest’s experience. For instance, if a customer orders a glass of Riesling, suggest a food item like brie cheese and crackers to accompany it. Wine and cheese go together wonderfully, and the additional sale will pad your bottom line as well.

Guide Their Eyes

If your customers are looking at a food or drink menu, you can easily draw their attention to certain areas that offer the largest margins. For instance, you could add a decorative border around your items with the highest profit margins and then point out something specific on that page. When their eyes look at the page, they will immediately be drawn to the items within the decorated area, and best of all your customers will think that they’ve come up with a decision all by themselves.

No matter how much you train and prepare your staff, there is always a learning curve to getting the skills of upselling correct. After all, it’s one part science, one part experience, and one part finesse, so it may take time to get right. But once you’ve mastered the tricks of the trade, guiding your customer’s purchases politely and discreetly will become second nature in your venue.

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.

Jag Bombs

Cross-Promotions Improve Sales

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Most people in the bar or nightclub industry know just how important it is to increase sales, and one of the most common methods out there is known as cross-promotions. If you’ve ever received a deal on a new flavor of liquor for one of your distributors, then you already know that companies are usually willing to work with you to introduce new items in the marketplace. Rather than spending endless amounts of money taking out print and television ads trying to promote these new products, manufacturers usually rely on bartenders to push the new items via word-of-mouth. Though some type of paid advertising is incorporated into their marketing plan, there is nothing more proactive then simply putting the new drinks into a customer’s hands.

What are Cross-Promotions?

Simply put, a cross-promotion is pairing either brands or flavors together to create a new niche in the marketplace. You are probably familiar with one of the latest crazes, adding a maple flavored selection to an already successful line of products. Companies such as Crown Royal and Captain Morgan have released lines of maple flavored whisky and rum to appeal to a different type of drinker that would normally overlook their products. By simply adding a different set of flavors, you can create new signature cocktails that can become very trendy and increase sales. There are even companies creating bacon inspired cocktails to play an every American’s natural addiction to the delicious meat.

A Case Study

One of the most successful cross-promotions in nightlife history is known as the Coronarita. Capitalizing on the popularity of margaritas, Corona released special bottle holders that sit on the rim of a margarita glass and hold a bottle of Corona upside-down into the glass. As you sip on your margarita, the liquid that is removed is replaced by the beer to create a new flavor as you work your way through the beverage. Each time you take a drink, the ratio of Corona to margarita increases to keep the experience enjoyable.

Another great example is the “Jag Bomb” which simply incorporates Red Bull into a regular shot of Jägermeister. Using a special shot glass called a “barrel shot”, the Jägermeister is poured into the center section of the shot glass and Red Bull is poured into the outer ring. This design keeps the two components separate, but when they are consumed the two flavors blend together to create a delicious mixture. This shot has since been adapted to different varieties using the same principal except the Jägermeister is replaced by either vodka or cherry flavored Dr. McGillicuddy’s.

Though the industry has barely scratched the surface in regards to cross-promotion, it has emerged as one of the hottest new trends for bars and nightclubs. Mixology has been steadily on the rise anyway, but cross-promotions gives bar and nightclub owners the opportunity to create an up-sale while the customer is able to enjoy new flavors they’ve never tried before. Just talk to your liquor distributors to find out what new and exciting cross-promotion items are available and they are sure to give you several great ideas and likely even discounted prices.

Drink Sales

4 Tips to Improve Drink Sales

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While it can be very easy to think of your bartenders as the ones who make you profit, a good businessman knows that every employee is actually an expense and should be looked at as such. Of course your bartenders are people too, but when it comes to budgeting they need to be effective at generating profits in order to be an asset rather than a liability. Almost every bar or nightclub has that one bartender who is steps ahead of the rest in speed, sales, friendly personality, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still improve or at the very least lead the rest of the staff in the right direction. Here are 5 tips to improve drink sales at your bar or nightclub, and most of them involve the staff.

1. Hire People Who Are Naturals

Almost everything a person does as a bartender or server in a club can be taught; except for basic hospitality. Though some people are good at faking it, you simply can’t teach a person to be hospitable. If you don’t like people and can’t genuinely smile at customers when they ask for something, then the bar and nightclub business is probably not for you. Only hire staff members that seem like they will naturally enjoy the job and then load them up with all the knowledge they need to do the job right.

2. Make Sure They’re Educated

There is nothing worse than a bartender or server that doesn’t know what they are talking about, and this “fly-by-night” approach can quickly lose you customers. For instance, is a scotch connoisseur asks a server for their recommendation on a brand based on their specific tastes and they have no idea what they’re talking about, this can quickly make a good customer stand up and go to the next club. As the owner of a bar or nightclub, it’s your job to make sure the management staff is training the rest of the crew properly and giving them the knowledge they need to do their job right. It is better to admit to a customer that they aren’t sure and find a staff member who can answer it correctly than to guess with your fingers crossed.

3. Positive Reinforcement and Rewards

It is easy to snap on a staff member if they do something wrong or lose you money, but it is more important to reinforce their excellence with rewards. You don’t have to give out money or free stuff, just verbal praise to let them know they’re doing a good job. It is much easier for an employee to want to exceed expectations and seek the approval of management and ownership if there’s something in it for them that is more than just their paycheck. You can make mention of their good work to other employees to encourage them to do the same, and it also gives you more credibility when it does come time to discipline a staff member.

4. Steady Pace and a Smiling Face

It is important that you create an environment where your bartenders and servers are not overwhelmed and too stressed to preform properly. You want your staff to be fast and efficient, but everyone has their line and you want them to stay on the correct side of it. Bartenders and servers that are smiling and appear relaxed can sell more drinks and overall will provide better service to the customers. Train your team to work at a steady and speedy pace, but don’t overwork them and make sure there is plenty of staff on hand for times that you know it will be very busy.

By following these 4 simple tips, your bar will see an improvement in drink sales very quickly and profits start to rise. You will also see higher employee retention, which will also earn you more money since the staff will be well-educated. The longer you can keep your bartenders and servers in your employment the better you club will run.

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