Tips Archives | Sparkler City

Holiday Bonuses

Holiday Bonuses: Pros and Cons

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Most people think that the real compensation for an employee working at a bar or nightclub is their tips; and for the most part that is true. Many bartenders and servers consider their tips as their paycheck and their paycheck as their tip. However, many nightlife employees have families which rely on both their paycheck and their tips to make ends meet, so one night of bad tips or an unexpected illness can lead to some tough budgeting decisions; especially around the holiday season.

For these reasons, it has been customary for decades for an employer to give out holiday bonuses as an act of kindness to their employees. This practice is still in full effect for many occupations including office workers and upper management at retail stores, but most of the time the only ones who get to enjoy this perk are people who work for small businesses.

As a small business owner, you rely heavily on a very specific group of people. Each of them is an important fixture in your business, and you likely know every one of their names and see them on a fairly regular basis. Giving out Holiday bonuses is generally seen as a way to attract and keep top talent when you’re smaller than the big name competitors, but even small businesses have been getting away from rewarding their employees.

So, this begs the question: should you give your employees a Holiday bonus or not? Here are the pros and cons of giving out Holiday bonuses to your employees so you can make that determination for yourself.


The most notable reason that giving your employees Holiday bonuses is a good idea is that you will be building loyal and hard-working employees. If your employees aren’t feeling rewarded or appreciated, they tend to slack off more and care less about their job and your bar or nightclub. Additionally, you can have the best qualified bartenders and servers if you offer bonuses because the best people will always follow the money and the appreciation.


Obviously, most business men don’t want to pay people more than they need to. After all, your employees are getting paid a fair wage for their work, and you create an environment for earning tips to boot. Furthermore, once you give out Holiday bonuses, you’ve set a dangerous precedent that they’ll be receiving one every year. Giving out Holiday bonuses to your employees will ultimately hurt your bottom line, and that is also the most important thing at the end of the day.

Whether you see the value in giving your employees a bonus or you are more centered on the success of your business, weighing the pros and cons can help you make your decision. Just make sure you take into account that your employees might counting on their Holiday bonus before you decide whether or not give them out.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour Specials to Draw in Crowds

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Happy hour is by and large one of the most popular times for people to come to your bar, and if you do it right you can expect to see some hefty profits. If you have the right happy hour specials available, your food and drinks will practically sell themselves. However, many bar owners have no idea how to put together a set of specials properly, so they end up guessing and missing out on a ton of sales. Here are a few basic happy hour specials that you can offer your customers to draw in crowds and make a lot of profit. Though each bar is different, these should help to get you on the right track.

2 for 1

The easiest special to offer during happy hour is 2 for 1 rail drinks and domestic beers. People love getting something for free, even if it means that they have to make a purchase first. If you don’t have proper margins, this tactic will never work; so make sure you have everything figured out ahead of time. Optionally, you can do a 2 for 1 special on select types of beer or cocktails to maximize your return.

Discount Beer Buckets

Offering a discount on your buckets of beer is another great way to drum up more sales painlessly. Typically, you can work out a deal with one of your beer distributors to give you a volume discount on a certain brand of bottled beer since you’ll be featuring it in a promotion. Sell six bottles of beer on ice for a discounted price and you’ll be selling buckets left and right.

½ Price Appetizers

Food is crucial to the success of your bar, so including a food special is basically required for success. An easy way to do this is to offer ½ appetizers all through your happy hour. They aren’t going to be a huge driver of profits on their own, but your customers will stay longer and drink more because they can get something to eat and appetizers are typically pretty salty.

Food and Drink Combos

Lastly, food and drink combos are another staple special for happy hour. If you sell pizzas, you could offer a large one topping pizza and a pitcher of beer for one low price. Or, to capture the “singles” crowd, you could offer a cheeseburger and a pint of beer for a flat rate too. Combining a food and beverage purchase into one price will usually cause a lot of purchases, and you can even be strategic to sell certain items from your cooler or freezer if they are getting close to expired.

No matter what type of specials you offer during happy hour, the most important factor to consider is getting the margins correct. If you’re just blindly setting prices and choosing your specials, it’s never going to be profitable or draw in the crowds the way that you’re hoping. Us some common sense, think about what your customers might enjoy, and price things accurately to see a huge spike in happy hour business and your bottom line.

Bringing in the Right Clientele image

Bringing in the Right Clientele

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Depending on the area you serve and the theme of your bar or nightclub, bringing in the right clientele is very important to be successful. If you fail to reach your intended audience, you’re venue is likely to close in a very short period of time. Additionally, all of the advertising dollars that you spend will go to waste which will only make the matter worse. By knowing who you want to target and how to properly go about it, you can bring in the right clientele to your bar or nightclub and thrive for many years to come.


Most bar owners completely overlook the importance of staffing when it comes to catering to a specific demographic. For instance, if you’re targeting a younger crowd that will bring in a lot of energy to your establishment, having a slow bartender that is in their 50’s is probably not what they’re looking for in a club. Instead, you should hire a younger staff that will add to the energy of your club so that your key demographic will feel like they’re in the right place. Also, training your servers properly can go a long way, too.

Promotions and Events

Another key to bringing in large crowds of your preferred clientele is gearing your promotions and events towards that specific demographic. Again, if you’re after a younger crowd, consider bringing in DJs and playing dance music rather than relying on a jukebox or classic rock radio stations. A band that covers music from the 70s won’t appeal to a younger clientele, but having a DJ that plays the latest club music will create an environment that is desirable to your core audience.

VIP Bottle Service

Offering VIP bottle service automatically brings in the right crowd. Simply put: they will be spending more money. Bottle service attracts big spenders, and that improves sales. Just add a few gold bottle sparklers and deliver them to your packed tables.

Venue Décor

Creating the look and feel of a vibrant club is also important when bringing in the right clientele. Dark wood interior and a musty “dive bar” feel is perfect for people in their 30s and 40s, but you need something more modern and chic to bring in that bar goers that are in their twenties. Choose a modern color scheme and flattering lighting in order to make your bar or nightclub the perfect experience from the moment your patrons walk through the door.

Bringing in the Right Clientele With Advertising

How and where you advertise will also play a very large role in bringing in the right clientele. If you’re putting ads in the local newspaper, you’re going to attract a much older crowd. If you’re targeting your customers via social media and search advertising, you’re more likely to reach your preferred clientele. Best of all, when you advertise digitally, you can literally choose who sees you ads and who doesn’t. This not only allows you to target a specific demographic of clientele, but it will save you money compared to using the “shotgun” approach since you won’t be paying for a bunch of ad views for people who won’t be interested in your brand.

Bartender Tips

The Best Ways to Make More Tips

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When you work in the food and beverage industry, a very large portion of your earnings will come in the form of tips. Some bartenders will make as much as 90% of their earnings from tips, so learning how to encourage your guests to be a little more generous can make a really big difference. Sure, you could just ask for a better tip from each of your faithful patrons, but more than likely you will just insult and alienate them and quickly see an increase in empty barstools; which won’t lead to a fatter wad of cash at the end of the night! Instead, you should use the ancient art of subtlety to make more tips, and here are some of the best tools you can use to accomplish just that.

Smile and Have Fun

When people head out to the bar or nightclub, they want to escape from their regular routine and enjoy life. The last thing they want is a bartender or server with a bad attitude and this will almost certainly reflect in their tipping habits. By simply wearing a nice smile and being friendly to your guests, you can put yourself on the way to earning more tips in no time.

Steady and Controlled Pace

It can be really easy to find yourself rushing around behind the bar or throughout the dining room; especially when it gets really busy. While it’s true that you need to get your drinks made and delivered in a timely fashion, running around like a chicken with your head cut off is not a good way to get your customers to relax. On the flip side, seeming too relaxed and disinterested can be equally off-putting. To maximize your tips, try to find a happy-medium between the two paces and you will also be rewarded with a less stressful workday.

Hone Your Skills

There’s nothing better as a customer than having a special bar or nightclub that can make a certain drink just right, so hone your skills and develop a specialty. Once you do, make sure everyone knows about it in a non-boastful manner. This will get you more repeat customers that you’ve built a solid relationship with across the bar and they are more likely to tip you well.

Learn to Upsell

Though you don’t want to shove drinks down the throats of customers that won’t enjoy their flavor, selling them a more expensive version of what they want will benefit both parties. Since most people tip based on the total cost of their bill, you will see more tips if it is slightly larger and they are more likely to enjoy themselves more if the drinks are tastier. When learning to upsell, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about or you will look like a used car salesman and turn away customers.

Dress Well

Nobody expects their bartender to show up to work in a three piece suit, but shaving, styling your hair, and wearing a nice shirt can go a long way. Most customers aren’t interested in seeing the person making their drink where a wrinkly t-shirt and studies have shown that a bartender or server that looks classier is more likely to receive a larger tip.

Give Them a Show

Though it takes many years of practice and you don’t want to overdo it, doing a few bar tricks here and there can really increase the perceived value of your bar or nightclub. As you move around behind the bar, flip a bottle or two every so often if you have the skills and your customers will feel inclined to tip more because you are obviously a very skilled bartender.

Ultimately, there’s no sure-fire way to make a person tip more; but you can certainly stack the odds in your favor. Some people are cheap and always will be, and some people are generous and can give a great tip under the right conditions. Your best bet as a bartender or server is to create the right conditions, hope for the best, and count your wad of cash at the end of the night.

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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