Photo credit: hurtingbombz via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND
Oh Hi. Happy New Year. How was it for you? I hope it was splendid. I know it’s a little belated but it’s still nice to say it when given the chance.

Now that we have those enthusiastic pleasantries out of the way, let’s talk about what you’re going to do for the next year ahead of you – Hashtag New Year New Me.

Your bar is your haven. Your bar is your safe place. Your bar is your lifeline. So, with that in mind, I’m going to give you a few ideas you can try out in your bar over the course of the next year. Some ideas may increase your sales, improve your customer satisfaction and/or raise your staff morale levels to new heights. Others may end up being terrible business decisions. I’ll let you decide.

Invest Money Into Your Menus

It may seem like a crazy notion, but as everyone always says “The First Bite is With The Eye”. If your menu is sticky and written in a comic sans font, you may be inviting people to make excuses to leave your bar in order to find somewhere that puts effort into how they are viewed. A polished menu is a great first impression, and sets the expectation that the drinks will be great as well.

Give Every Drink a Neat Backstory

People love hearing interesting stories from their bartenders while their drinks are being made. Obviously this is aimed at the slower nights when your bartenders might have a bit more time to focus on one set of customers for a bit longer than usual. It allows them to feel at home, feel like they’re being taken care of and view their bartender as the knowledgeable soul that they are. It may encourage people to become regulars, and regulars translate into free promotion.

Introduce Theme Nights

If you haven’t already, maybe think about starting an Xbox night (or a Playstation night), sell tickets with drinks offers, maybe provide food? Put on Ladies nights, speed dating, that sort of thing. Nothing gets the punters going like a good old social gathering that is catered to their needs.

Add Fresh Juices to Your Drinks

Nothing says “We Are Quality” like using fresh ingredients in all of your drinks. It gets people to notice that “Hey, this place really cares about quality”. It will get people hungry for more. People will notice the difference from your normal terrible five week old cranberry juice when you provide them with freshly squeezed juice from about 15,000 cranberries a time.

Charge Double For Your Drinks For A Night

That. That right there is double profits. Don’t practice this too many times as people may recognize what you’re doing and then start a huge revolt that results in your bar going out of business quicker than you can sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

Ensure That Your Bar Accepts Credit Cards

And then keep them forever. Maybe buy yourself something really pretty? – That’s probably/definitely classed as stealing though and may not be productive for your bar or reputation. The only time I will ever promote stealing is that of dance moves. If it works for Michael Jackson, it works for me. Chamone.oing out of business quicker than you can sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

Introduce Live Music to Your Venue if You Haven’t Already

And then cry when you realise how much the extra licence costs, how much the riders for all of the bands will cost, the added security, the promotion, the agent fees, and that you will actually have to pay the bands for providing you with a service and entertainment. When all of that is assessed and the tears have dried up: go ahead and rock out.

Introduce Live Comedy To Your Venue if You Haven’t Already

Same as above but in a more humorous style. Replace half of the tears of sorrow with tears of joy and/or hilarity.

If You Don’t Already, Introduce Staff Gifts And Bonuses

“Look after your employees and they will look after the rest”. Plus, it stops them from stealing so many things that you don’t know about. Maybe you could introduce an amnesty that allows them to bring everything back into work without repercussions. Two birds, one gigantic olive-branch-offering stone.

Invite Guest Bartenders

Nothing screams “Excitement” like getting a ‘famous’ bartender from round your local area to do a guest shift in your bar. They’ll drag in more punters as their friends and admirers flock in to your bar to see this phenom.Then watch your stocks disappear as they’ve given away loads of free drinks to their fans and have gone home with four punters three hours before their shift was due to end.

Hopefully these will help drive your business into January and beyond. There are certainly some very useful ideas here that I have found work extremely well in boosting many factors in and around bar life! Let me know in the comments how it goes. Share your insights into improving your bar in 2016 and let’s make the bar world a greater place.

Happy New Year.

Photo credit: hurtingbombz via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

Steven Poland

Hello. I'm Steven: a mid-20's ex bar manager from England with an ego that is only matched by my opinions. I'm not always right, but sometimes I do apologise if I'm not. I've worked on the bar for over eight years, four of them making cocktails and snarling at customers. You can find me at my website or on twitter @StevenPoland.