Have you ever wondered what it is that makes one bar successful while another struggles? Often, bars within close physical distance to one another will have wildly different results, suggesting that the secret is something more than location. While there are plenty of factors at play, it is often the presence of an excellent bar manager that can elevate a business. Let’s take a look at some of the traits successful bar managers tend to share, and some of the tasks they tend to take on frequently.
There is no way around this one – if you want to succeed as the manager of a bar, you need to be organized on the job. With so many moving parts that need to come together in order to provide a great customer experience, you can’t afford to be running in a million different directions. A good manager is extremely organized with regard to all aspects of the business, such as staffing, inventory management, and much more.
More than perhaps any other service business, bars are about relationships. It’s likely that a large percentage of your business is going to come in the form of regular customers, so a quality manager will make a point of getting to know these people. That doesn’t mean just paying them lip service in order to get them to come back – it means truly taking an interest in them as people. Strong personal relationships can form a foundation for a successful business. Also, a solid core of regulars who appreciate your service and friendship is a great engine for generating referrals for others to come check out the place.
You can’t just expect your staff to know how to serve customers properly. Sure, some of your staff may have experience, but that doesn’t mean their previous employers expected the same things that you expect. Consistent and thorough training is a hallmark of successful operations. Simply training someone when they first come on staff is not enough – those training efforts need to be repeated and continued on an ongoing basis to have maximum effect.
In many ways, inventory is the heart of a bar business. Keeping an accurate and up-to-date inventory is important for a variety of reasons. For one thing, good beer and liquor inventory control practices help to avoid theft, which is a problem in this industry. Also, you’ll know when stock is running low, so you don’t make the embarrassing mistake of running out of a popular drink on a busy night.
It’s easy to fall into a predictable pattern as a bar manager. You probably have some special drinks you put on the menu during certain times of the year, or around certain holidays, but your creativity may taper off from there. Fight the tendency to get complacent and instead continue to innovate as much as possible to keep your customers engaged and interested. You need to stand out in order to thrive, and consistently presenting new ideas is one way to do just that.