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How to Attract Clientele to Your Bar

How to Attract Clientele to Your Bar

It seems that the bar industry has seen better days than these past few years. As prices of almost everything we use daily are on the rise, many bars have to face half-empty Friday nights, as liquor has become considerably cheaper in a supermarket. Those few faithful customers that still patronize your bar are probably attracted by the atmosphere and social networking. Here are some excellent ideas that are sure to draw more people to your bar.

Find the Right People for the Job

Anyone who works in a hospitality industry needs to enjoy their job; otherwise, they won’t perform to the best of their ability. When you interview for new staff, ask all the foolproof questions you would expect to hear in every interview, and make a shortlist. Look for people who are confident, well-presented and who would like to run their own bar in the future.

Then, call everyone on your shortlist and have them work a trial shift in the bar. Let your band of locals do the “interrogation”. Potential employees should make friends and fit in well with the locals, but at the same time make sure no one is waiting for a round for too long. You can even ask your locals who they prefer filling their glasses.

Know Your Patrons

It’s a trait of a good landlord to gauge exactly who their customers are. Maybe your bar is in a gentrified area, a trendy neighborhood, or in the middle of a college town. Depending on your bar locale, you need to put on the right image. Let’s explore one example. You are running a country club in a small town filled with wealthy people.

The town is a hub for local businesses, so you should insist on proper clothes for your staff – nice shirts and skirts for the girls and shirt and trousers for the boys. Even if most of your customers visit in casual clothes, if you are serving premium beers and reasonably expensive food, your club and the staff need to look their best.

Affluent patrons have probably seen a club or two, and it’s small details that can win them over. Make sure you clean your lines every time you change a barrel so the beer consistently tastes good. Give them a smiling staff, serving them great beer and food and there is no reason they should walk to a joint down the street.

Host Theme Nights

Next you should think of what would get new customers inside. Ideally, you should have something going on every night. These theme nights are a great way to bring in a different type of crowd that will help you expand your customer base. Focus your theme nights around different music genres, mixed with student nights, stand-up comedy, quizzes, or live music sessions.

Live music is always well received. Try to mix up a bit but at the same time invite back bands that have performed well. Throw a couple of open mic nights and pay attention to up-and-coming bands recommended by the customers. As most people know someone in a band, they will try and bring as many of the friends for the evening.

Boost the Comfort

The feel of comfort doesn’t only come from comfortable seats and pleasant ambient lighting, but also from the sense that the bar is taken care off. Patrons don’t want to see piles of empty glasses on empty tables or dusty bottle shelf behind the bar. Many trip advisors say that you should first check out the toilets before you order food. Under no circumstance should you allow customers to ask for hand wash or toilet paper. They should feel as comfortable in the restroom as they do in the rest of the bar.

If your bar has the outdoor area, keep in mind that flower pots and freshly painted woodwork will get you a lot of customers on a nice day. However, no one likes to sit in the sun for long, so you should consider several cantilever umbrellas to this end. Also, make sure the outside area is well lit at night, because otherwise, your bar might be invisible to passing motorists. Finally, you need to keep the garden area clean and trim, even in the off-season, as it’s the first thing that people see from the street.

These five are only some of the things you can do to your bar to attract more patrons. With so many great bars out there, it can be difficult to stand out and fit in at the same time. However, a hearty smile and a great service will always win the day.

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by Lillian Connors // Lillian is a senior business consultant and the co-editor at She's mainly focused on business optimization and sustainable growth. In her leisure time, she likes to lose herself in a good book or drink a couple of hoppy pale ales.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.