Great blog from the Barblogger – “Remember that YOU are not YOUR customer”


I am fortunate to work with many bar owners in the course of my work and to listen to their ideas, share their enthusiasm and watch as many of them go on to succeed with very profitable businesses.

Of course there are exceptions to this. There are certainly a large percentage of failures on the bar world and I recently came across two such bars, struggling to stay afloat. Each owner was very different in terms of their management style, the bars were distinctly different yet both catered to an older clientele due to their locations in more affluent neighborhood. They also shared the same problem: Both bars were owned by guys in their late 20s/early 30s, who were trying their hardest to fill their bar with 40 yr old + neighbors at each location.

It quickly became obvious what the problem was. The owners were not their own customers and as is the case in many businesses, YOU are not YOUR own customer. How a twentysomething runs a business will not instinctively be in a way that appeals to potential customers twice his age.

Him playing hip hop loudly at 9pm on a Tuesday night may not be what his target market want to hear, but this understanding often comes only after a failure.

Him populating the menu with HIS favorite dishes instead of his customers is him not being his own customer.

Him offering a Shots menu instead of a Martini menu is him not being his own customer.

Take some steps today to be your own customer.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What newspapers do my potential customers read?
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • What are the food & beverage trends in my demographic right now?
  • Are you asking your customers if they enjoy their experience?
  • Do you receive regular feedback from customers other than friends or family?
  • What’s important to them on a night out?
  • If they don’t visit my bar, where DO they spend their time?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you’re more at risk of failure than those that do. While these are steps that should be taken long before you open the doors, as long as you’re still in business, you can “retro-fit” the experience you offer.


The Potential for a ‘revitalisation’ of the Irish Pub Concept – Mel McNally, Irish Pub Company

anois…We have long held the opinion that there is enormous potential for a properly conceived (and delivered) Irish Pub concept which moves the original concept into a new realm. Our opinion is founded on the following;

-The global insatiable appetite which we encounter for concepts that deliver sociability, warmth, humour and good times in an accessible and stylised environment.

-The weakness of indigenous Bar cultures – UK, Ireland and Australia excepted – where customers seek concepts of substance which are intrinsically different and engaging.

-The over-exposure of the Irish Pub concept in some markets of less than acceptable quality has led to a dilution in interest  and driven customers away. However that latent demand still remains.


•Is about taking ‘Irishness’ into the 21st Century •Its about presenting an alluring culture in a modern context •Its about dispelling cliché’d imagry and attitudes with dynamic and contemporary alternatives •Its about taking the best of the culture and giving it a new look and new attitude and a new tempo


10 Amazing Bar Interior Designs

Bar Interior Designs make or break a bar. Long before you have had a chance to order a drink, a first impression has been formed. The artists, architects and designers that have created the amazing designs below have  not only created evocative, memorable and visually inspiring decors, they have set the tone and subtly constructed the flow and layout in ways that promote atmosphere and most importantly: help increase sales. Get some inspiration for your bar below, in no particular order:

1. Tote on the Turf, Mumbai, India

White metal pillars branch out like trees as they reach the ceiling, creating the effect of walking down a forest path. Strategically placed skylights in abstract shapes, mimicking sunlight breaking through dense foliage, heighten that feeling. By contrast, the 40ft long bar upstairs is all dark chocolate wood. The faceted wood panels on the walls give the impression of looking through a kaleidoscope, or at paper that was folded to make an origami figure and then opened out.


Design by: Serie Architects

2. Alcatraz Brewing Company, Indianapolis, Indiana

The interior features an industrial motif: glass block flooring at the mezzanine, exposed mechanical ducts, galvanized table tops, and chrome and wood chairs. The back lit trim at the bar is made from recycled bottles. An ”Alcatraz Prison” theme is reflected in the “Golden Gate” bar tables and “prison cell bars” at booth partitions.


Design by: Design & EDG

3. Bluu Bar, Birmingham, UK

In the evening you can venture down to the super sexy basement bar, with its retro design and imagery, black and red leather booths and dance floor. On the ground floor is a bar/brasserie that provides a setting for day to day informal eating, drinking and socializing. Cleverly designed the bar links to the brasserie in a seamless style, where customers dine from the seasonally changing modern British menu.


Design by: Macaulay|Sinclair

4. Bar Missoni, Edinburgh, Scotland

Cocktails are the main lure on the drinks front with Italian inspired drinks like the Basilito (which, as the name suggests, is a basil-based Mojito) and the rather nifty Biennale. There’s a solid wine list and a rather limited food menu too. Yes, design is the dominant force here, which can impact on atmosphere: this is, at the end of the day, still a hotel bar, but in terms of visual invention, this place wins without question.


Design by: Matteo Thun

5. Geisha Bar, Nottingham, UK

The environment is sleekly detailed and glamorous. The large bar is moodily lit, low-seated and impressively detailed, from one exquisitely mosaic-tiled wall to another. Flickering tea lights in red glasses, glossy black chopsticks and dramatically elegant wine glasses sit on stained dark wooden tables.


Design by: Macaulay|Sinclair

6. The Sound Club, Phuket, Thailand

The fantastic lighting, designed by Inverse (London and Bangkok) uses the latest club lighting technology. One of the central attractions is the bar lit by a stunning 19-meter graphic equalizer LED screen that is synchronized to the music that ranges form electronic music, hip-hop and R n’ B to house depending on the DJ and the theme of the night. The walls and décor contribute integrally to creating a superior acoustics and audio environment.


Design by:

Orbit Design Studio

7. Obsidian Bar, Manchester, UK

Obsidian Restaurant and Bar is a sensationally luxurious venue in Manchester. Whether you are after an uber sexy place to have a stylish soirée or an intimate and discreet moment with a loved one, or even an impressive dinner with clients, Obsidian restaurant and bar is the one of the best places to choose in Manchester. Obsidian also has private dining and private hire facilities for any special occasion, party or celebration.


Design by:

Julian Taylor Design Associates

8. Vanity Nightclub, Las Vegas, Nevada

Vanity is an eclectically layered maximalist jewel box of a club- an organized chaos of glinty faceted forms rubbing up against soft cut velvets, deep satins and rich tapestries. It is a mix of saturated jewel tones fused with bronze and gold metallic, antique mirror, rubbed brass and black chrome. References to pearls and hand cut crystal abound.


Design by:

Mr. Important

9. Bangalore Express Bar, London, UK

The décor is modern and sleek and the red, black and beige geometric patterns, large wooden benches and booths catered for intimate group and couples dining, create an atmosphere of easy sophistication. There is draft and bottled beer and an extensive range of non alcoholic drinks including lassies, smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.


Design by: Outline

10. El Tubo, Lima, Peru

Inside, the volume of this long funky house everything abstract – a simple, clean-lined, white bar is equipped with a minimum of bar stools and chairs. The bar is a Tube-shaped structure and has been drilled with holes to allow the soft purple light to penetrate the space. Overhead, a collection of contemporary lighting equipment is a sculpture, artistic addition, creating a stunning focal point.


Design by: Felipe Assadi

Bartenders replaced by self-service

It started in Ireland (shocker) and has now made it’s way to the shores of the US and not co-incidentally to one of the most familiar Irish outposts to thousands of emigrants: Boston. What am I talking about? The Pour-Your-Own-Beer Tables that Guinness trialled in Ireland last year to great success have now made it to the Littlest Bar in Boston.

Never have you ever seen such a high tech setup: patrons give their credit cards to the bartender, who turns on the table-mounted taps. After two beers, the system pauses and the bartender pops by to make sure no one is too inebriated to keep drinking. The Littlest Bar currently offers self-serve Smithwick’s and Guinness with a bartender available to show you how to pour the latter.

Personally I think it’s a bit gimmicky and the only reason these tables appear in bars around Ireland is the generous incentives Guinness offers bars to stock them.

At the end of the day, they take up a huge amount of space in small bars and remove the very reason for going to the bar in the first place: social interaction.

It’s a long time since I got a response from a table…..

Increase Wine sales with this one simple menu change

wineflightIf you sell wine in your business, there is a simple way that you can increase wine sales today. I was reminded of this on a recent visit to The Wine Guy Wine Shop in Gahanna, Ohio. The Wine Guy Shop is a retail wine store with a bar and dining facilities.

There’s something special about sitting in the middle of a wine store surrounded by wines from around the world while snacking on tapas and trying a selection of wines.

Many customers are afraid of wines and feel intimidated by the range of wines on a menu, the price variations, the regions and don’t want to look foolish if they make a poor choice.

To overcome this, the Wine Guy Wine Shop has arranged their wine menu into “flights” instead of regions or price ranges. Wine Flights are basically a selection of wines made available to taste. Flights can range in size from 3 to more than 50. In this case, The Wine Guy has arranged their flights into selections of four wines at a time. For a more detailed explanation of wine flights, click here.

For $12.99 to $14.99, you can taste 4 half-glasses of different wines presented in a nice little tray. Considering they sell wines by the glass for around $7.99 each, this is a great way to get customers to taste many different wines without committing too much money to their initial decision.

I would also recommend giving customers a little wine card or notebook to record the wines tasted so that they can remember what they liked on the next visit.

Anything you can do to remove the fear customers have about your products, the easier it will be to get them to part with their hard earned money. Every little helps.

See the picture below of the menu in The Wine Guy Wine Shop:

photoClick to Enlarge

Could a dating couple bankrupt your business?

3710341_Register with Paper_07HIt’s bad enough when you have a thieving staff member or a manager that thinks it’s their right to fiddle the accounts while they line their pockets, but it’s double the trouble when the staff member and manager collude to defraud you and your business.

It’s more common than you think and a recent conversation with an industry consultant reminded me that you can never underestimate the potential for fraud in the bar.

Here are a few methods of collusion that you should be aware of:

Boyfriend & Girlfriend

The classic “couple on a mission” who can cover for one another, aid each other and double the chances of you losing money and liquid assets in a short space of time. Some bars and restaurants do not allow staff members to date and don’t emply married couples. A difficult thing to enforce, but if you can’t legislate against itm think about having htem work different shifts.

Staff Member & Manager

A manager confides in a staff member that certain “opportunities” exist if they work together. This can be a difficult thing to spot unless controls are in place to audit the management team as well as just the staff members.

Staff Member & Customer/Friend

A staff member utilizes the assistance of a friend or patron outside the bar counter who may distract other customers while theft is taking place or might help open rear gates/doors to aid the theft. A customer might order drinks all night yet never pay full price. Some bars don’t allow friends of staff members or off duty staff members on the premises to avoid the chances of fraud.

Just a few possible situations to bear in mind in your business. Got your suspicions? Take action today!