Restaurant Equipment & Supply

Top Four Bar Owner Mistakes

Jun 17, 2014 7:30:34 AM

Top Four Bar Owner Mistakes

Opening and running a bar can be a profitable venture, but many bars go out of business within their first few years of opening. The top reasons why so many bars go under quickly are inadequate design, poor inventory control, mismanaged staff, and lack of marketing. However, with a little planning, bar owners can avoid these common mistakes and have a profitable business.

Mistake One: Inferior Bar Layout
Often bar owners end up paying thousands of dollars to a contractor to design the layout of their bar, and unfortunately the end result often features an inefficient setup. While most contractors are able to create a space that will ultimately look great, few are actually able to create a layout that is truly functional to the needs of a foodservice establishment. In order for a bar design to be successful it must flow well for the bartender, staff, and customers alike. If your budget will allow for it, it can be well worth the money to invest in a bar consultant or industry layout expert to ensure that your bar space will be as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing. Some bar equipment manufacturers provide this service at no cost. Click here ( for more information.

Mistake Two: Poor Inventory Control
Another common mistake among failing bars is investing in too many products. Most owners feel that having a large selection of beverage choices is important to their success, but having more choices does not necessarily equate to more sales. Numerous studies have concluded that when presented with too many choices, customers often become overwhelmed. In fact many customers often prefer have fewer choices.

When planning your drink menu, a good place to start is with your competitors. Often times by consulting with the successful owners of similar businesses and looking at their menus, you can get a good idea of how expansive to make your menu. Overall you want to make sure that you offer a mixture of beverages and your menu should feature classic cocktails as well as a few signature drinks, just make sure that your offerings don’t err on the side of overkill.

Mistake Three: Mismanaged Staff
At the end of the day, it is often the bar employees that determine the success or failure of your bar. When it comes to staffing a bar, a new owner will often hire too many people. Over hiring for your needs can lead to fewer hours for each employee and a less motivated staff. If you are new to the bar industry, consider seeking the help or advice of an industry consultant who can help you to hire a reasonable number of staff without over- or understaffing your bar.

Training the staff at your bar is a major responsibility. Waste, disloyalty and theft are all common issues that bar owners face when dealing with employees. Make sure you take the time to create a proper training program and provide employees with written rules and regulations. It’s also important to ensure that employees working directly at the bar are properly licensed to mix drinks and serve customers.

In the end, the main thing your bar is selling is the service and experience. The more time you and your staff spend getting to know your customers, the better you can serve them.  Your staff members should be able to interact well with your customers, ensure that the service standards and safety procedures you define are being met, and always practice responsible alcohol service.

Mistake Four: Lack of Marketing
One of the most common oversights by bar owners is marketing. By not taking your business marketing seriously, you are making a huge mistake. The foodservice industry is extremely competitive, so you want to constantly look for ways to promote your bar as well as differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Running creative promotions is a great way to differentiate your bar from the crowd. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel either, many times a great idea is born from improving upon an existing concept or idea. The internet can be a great place to start when trying to come up with ideas on how to promote your products or services.

Another marketing mistake bar owners often make is their resistance to online marketing and social media. Consumers are increasingly turning to internet review websites for advice on which bars to frequent. Take the time to create a user-friendly website for your bar, and make sure that it is kept up to date with your current menu and promotions. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are also easy marketing tools that help increase awareness of your bar, as well as allow you to interact with and get to know your consumers.  Here ( is more information on how to effectively use mobile apps to increase traffic in your establishment.

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