The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode #149

Time to raise prices? Don’t chicken out! Here are some tips for increasing your menu prices in a way that’s good for the bottom line and doesn’t scare away your customers. (I promise!)

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In today’s Episode, we’re talking about Raising Prices

Maybe you need to raise prices because your rent went up. Or maybe your town passed a law increasing minimum wage. Or maybe you just haven’t done it in years. Either way, at some point you’re going to have to think about increasing the prices at your bar.

Today we’re talking about how to navigate that process (hopefully) without p!ssing everyone off. 

Do you need to raise prices?

In some cases it’s pretty cut-and-dry: a new manager comes in and says you need to raise prices. But other times it may be less obvious. For example, if you’re not tracking your margins and COGS then you may not realize that your suppliers tiny little price increases have whittled away at your profits over the years.

Start with your numbers and see if it’s something you need to do.

How to raise your prices:

OK, now you’ve established that you need to do it. But how?

  1. Look for easy wins. Don’t just increase the price for everything on your menu by X%. You may be able to adjust a small number of prices and make all the difference.
  2. Survey the Competition: What’s everyone else in your neighborhood charging?
  3. Don’t just look at the booze: You might be grossly undercharging for sodas or coffees – don’t forget to look at these non- alco

Avoid an Angry Mob

Now that you’ve planned to increase your prices, how do you roll them out without losing all of your regulars? (Especially the ones who always order the same drink!)  A few suggestions:

  • Warn people 30 days prior, but let them know you’ll honor the existing price until then. This reduces the shock when the “real” price increase happens.
  • And the nuclear option: If there’s a regular you just can’t lose, consider giving them a “lifetime price”. This is hugely risky but something we’ve seen done before.

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Any tips for easing the transition to higher prices? How have you done it at your bar?  Let us know in the comments!

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