Apart from having a good location and passionate staff, the right atmosphere and overall flow and execution of activities are vital to having or running a healthy bar.It just happens that in my last post I wrote about some of the characteristics of what I think, are the qualities of a good bartender. I hope in this article, bartenders, aspiring bartenders, bar managers, entrepreneurs, investors and industry enthusiasts’ will find this useful too, and of course if you ever intend to own, work, manage or be part of the bar business I hope it helps you. Having been in the bar business for nearly 10 years now, I can be able to tell the difference between a good functional bar from one that is not. Keeping that in mind, I realise that I have been to and or worked in several bars in Kenya and I have seen some unique excellent bars and others that are just mediocre. As much as I prefer to work in a certain type or kind of a bar, sometimes, you don’t need an expensive bar or expensive liquor brands to make your bar great. Sometimes small and calculated steps and changes can help transform your bar from bad to average then good, become better and who knows, maybe the best in your town or country.Below I have compiled a list of small things that may or can help transform your bar.
My mentor always used to joke with me that, a good bar display is like a very beautiful girl. Just like beautiful girls, you get attracted to her beautiful face before you notice anything else just as it is with the bar display in your bar or lounge. Beautiful girls are very interesting and adventurous to know and so is a beautiful and unique bar that you find beverages arranged in an artistic way. Let the bar display take your patron into wonderland. Let it wow in an amazing way. You should always strive to ensure that the experience of having a drink at your bar is breath-taking and adventurous.
After working on your display, the way you arrange your furniture, where and how you arrange is up to you. Always ensure that there is enough space in between for ease of operation, access, movement and most importantly comfort for your clients. Otherwise that will make you seem as a greedy bartender, entrepreneur or manager who wants to squeeze all the available space from your customers with no regard or thought of their comfort and that of your bar staff. Try always to get a balance in between as too much space also affects sales and appearance of the bar. On the other hand, if the bar is too crowded with necessary or unnecessary stuff, when it gets full of customers, trust me the experience is unbearable for servers and extremely disturbing for customers. It becomes smelly and stuffy with contaminated breath and if the bar does not have a designated smoking area, then it becomes even worse.
Theme, colour and decor
I am not much of an expert in this area, but theme, colour and decor is a personal thing and sometimes it is influenced by who or what you are getting help, advice or consulting. However, there are some colours that are not just a fit to different types of bars. As an entrepreneur, you should be able to know the kind of bar you are running you want to start. The best way to get the best insights is to do a research of the bars that are doing well around where you are working, where your bar is or even somewhere else new and far. Borrow some ideas and craft something of your own in a unique different way.
Depending on the type of bar you want to or you run, clients almost always judge the bar by the quality of furniture that you have. Always remember; the more uncomfortable your chairs, bar stools, couches are; the quicker the clients will be leaving the bar as soon or as immediately they come. Customers just want to be comfortable and at ease to have a good time in your bar. A lot of things can be ok with the bar but this can make your bar close. I know several times just as I can remember overhearing clients talk of how a certain very good bar has very uncomfortable chairs, bar stools or couches. They seemed to love the bar but uncomfortable furniture always seemed to turn them off and to me the owner is losing business. At the same time, overly comfortable seats are not good either. Some clients just come to your bar to use Wi-Fi, relax and don’t spend enough or may be nothing at all. Good quality inexpensive furniture draws trust from patrons and they are always sure that everyone involved in the bar knows what they are doing right from the owner to cleaners.
Staff and culture
Hiring the right staff for your bar is one of the most important part of bar business. As I had indicated in the second post, you need passionate, honest, selfless and hardworking staff who are willing to sell your bar theme, vision and dream. Once you have the right staff, you can create an excellent culture that is based on your dream, theme and vision and one that involves around your staff. It should be of benefit and comfortable to your clients, new and old, profitable to you, workable, less burdening and friendly to your staff.A good bar culture is one that goes along way and easily adaptable to changes and time.
Food and drinks
I was having a conversation with one of my customers and he had something to share. He told me that my cocktail did not taste like I had described or how it looked? The bottom line is, your food and drinks’ taste should exceed the expectations of the eyes and in fact be better than how they are described in the menu. You can as well keep your money in your bank account if you are not sure you can get the right chef, cooks and bartenders for your establishment.