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Do You Need a Surveillance System?

Do You Need a Surveillance System?

Image Source: KJK Tech

Forgive us for stating the obvious but bar and nightclub owners and operators face security challenges each and every day. Even the most neighborly of neighborhood bars faces an ever-changing customer base, and that puts them at risk for theft and lawsuits. The high turnover rate of your employees isn’t shy about offering the same risks. Keeping all of that in mind, should you install and use a surveillance system?

Asking yourself other questions can help you make the decision, unless local ordinances require that you have a surveillance system installed.

Are you losing money and can’t figure out why? Have people been skipping out on their checks? Do you have fights breaking out at your bar? Do you suspect you’re suffering from employee theft? Is your venue experiencing vandalism?

Fights, unfortunately, happen in bars and nightclubs. It’s why we employ security. The right security and staff training can stop some physical altercations before they start, but it’s doubtful that any nightlife venue has truly never had a fight on its premises. Security cameras placed in the right areas can help to discourage fights, if for no other reason than the risk of police reviewing your recorded footage and making arrests. Signs warning guests that they’re being recorded can further discourage violence, and in some areas they’re required by law. Lowering the violence that occurs in or around your bar also makes the local authorities and government officials happier. In fact, some cities have passed ordinances that require new alcohol licensees to install high-definition surveillance cameras inside their bars and nightclubs. Further, they need to keep the footage for 30 days.

Theft is another ugly part of running a bar or nightclub. Some people who come into your bar or nightclub have no intention of paying for their drinks or food, and some of them also intend to steal bottles and other items from you. Cameras can make them think twice before their dine and/or drink and dash or attempt to walk out with a stolen bottle or two. A number of your employees may also be itching to use their sticky fingers to empty your stock room and wallet. Whether it be through over serving, giving away drinks when not authorized to do so, taking home some of your inventory, or just padding their pay with your cash, employee theft is a reality of every business. Again, installing security cameras in the right places can help you combat thievery.

Seems pretty cut and dry, doesn’t it? Cameras protect you, your guests, your property, and your bottom line. Clearly nobody but criminals would be against you installing security cameras at your venue. Not so fast, Turbo. Some people, many of them fed up with the pervasiveness of cameras, find recording devices intrusive. While operators aren’t permitted to film private areas like bathrooms, some bar and nightclub patrons believe that the venue as a whole should be considered private and free from recording equipment. You’re going to have to deal with the fact that installing a security system may drive away certain guests, and not all of them are criminals.

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© ©2016 Questex LLC. Please Drink Responsibly. All Rights Reserved.

We're Counting Down the Days to Negroni Week

We're Counting Down the Days to Negroni Week
Negroni cocktail recipe - Negroni Week
Hanky-Panky cocktail recipe - Negroni Week
Boulevardier cocktail recipe - Negroni Week
Americano cocktail recipe - Negroni Week

Image Source: Negroni Week

Three years ago Campari and Imbibe Magazine teamed up to launch Negroni Week, a seven-day cocktail celebration that’s also a charity drive. When Negroni Week first launched, 100 venues participated. Last year that number grew to around 3,500 bars and restaurants across 44 countries, and the promotion raised more than $320,000 for charities worldwide. If you’d like to participate with your bar from June 6 to June 12, click here to register.

If you’ve never had a Negroni, don’t know about the Negroni, or are concerned your guests won’t know about this classic cocktail, we’re here to help. The Negroni is a simple but flavorful combination of equal parts gin, vermouth rosso (a red, semi-sweet vermouth), and Campari. It’s traditionally served in a rocks glass and garnished with an orange peel.

The Negroni, just like other classic cocktails, comes with its very own hazy origin story. The tale that’s accepted most broadly centers around Florence, Italy in 1919 and an Italian count. According to this story, Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender at Caffè Casoni to add some kick to the Americano he was known to favor. That bartender, Fosco Scarselli, replaced the soda with gin, garnished the drink with an orange peel to distinguish it from the Americano (which uses a lemon peel), and a new cocktail was born. The drink became so popular that the Negroni family founded Negroni Distillerie and produced a ready-to-drink version called Antica Negroni 1919. Orson Welles would later say of the Negroni, “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.”

When enough time passes, just about every story gets tweaked, and some of them face controversy. The Negroni origin story is no different. The first bit of “controversy” is that, according to a historian who did some digging, Camillo Negroni was not a count. His grandfather Luigi Negroni certainly was, but it’s unclear whether or not Camillo ever held the title. The second bit of controversy is much more serious, and far more interesting. Descendants of General Pascal Olivier de Negroni, Count de Negroni, claim that he created the cocktail in Senegal in 1857, 62 years before Camillo Negroni is thought to have done. Yet another descendant has said that the general invented the Negroni in 1914.

The true, unadulterated origin of the Negroni may never be known. What we do know, however, is that it’s an icon in the cocktail world, and that Negroni Week is a fun opportunity to give back.

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© ©2016 Questex LLC. Please Drink Responsibly. All Rights Reserved.

Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Plans Business Changing Experiences for 2017

Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Plans Business Changing Experiences for 2017

The only industry event for bar and nightlife professionals will return to Las Vegas March 27-29, 2017

Tweet It: Largest annual industry event @NightclubBar returns to @Vegas 3/27-29 w/ most experiences in show history! http://bit.ly/280SKqK

Las Vegas – The 2017 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show will feature the largest expansion in show history when it returns to Las Vegas March 27 – 29, offering bar and nightlife professionals invaluable, hands-on experience-oriented programming spanning all areas, from mixology competitions and beer talks to culinary workshops and training sessions with music and lighting experts.

“The marketplace is explosive and expanding like never before,” remarked Thom Greco, chairman of the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show Advisory Board.  “With our dedication, relationships and ability to see the big picture, new experiences created during the 2017 event will provide bar, nightlife, food and beverage owners and professionals the opportunity to stay ahead of the curve.”

The only event servicing the entire bar and nightlife industry, several new business changing experiences added to the 2017 convention and trade show include:

The Bar Experience – The ultimate convention for bar and nightlife professionals to gain the insight, tools and relationships needed to make the right business decisions today and in the future. Immerse yourself in a years’ worth of education including new trainings, pairings, certifications, awards, nightlife, workshops and networking events. The Mixology Experience –Discover exciting innovations in spirits that will keep your craft ahead of the curve and customers coming back. Featuring mixology and flair competitions, tastings and education. Discover hundreds of new brands and bar tools on the market, learn from experts and partake in hands-on learning. The Beer Experience – Creating the on-premise beer experience. Tap into your craft and create profitable relationships with beer distributors, makers and suppliers. Discover and expand your beer-knowledge in new conference tracks while taking part in beer tastings, pairings and more. The Nightlife Experience – A nightlife entertainment conference, demos and awards highlighting the DJ, the sound artist and the pulse of the night. Meet with sound and music suppliers and participate in hands-on trainings with experts from Las Vegas’ largest clubs to make the music and lighting in your establishment the ultimate backdrop to the perfect night.

“As the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show continues to expand, I am extremely excited and passionate about bringing up-and-coming chefs to the show for demonstrations and to share ways to cook with craft beer, spirits, wine and more,” said Chef Brian Duffy. “Our goal is to assist bar, nightclub and restaurant owners in preparing the best menus with food and drink pairings for their customers.”

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Promotion Ideas to Help You Celebrate Memorial Day

Promotion Ideas to Help You Celebrate Memorial Day

Memorial Day is considered by some to be the “official” start of summer. It’s important, however, to remember that this is a day of remembrance. Unlike Veterans Day, which celebrates the service of all United States military veterans, Memorial Day is meant to be a day where we pause and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. That isn’t to say that barbecues and parties are in poor taste, it means it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone cares to be wished a “happy” Memorial Day.

Throughout the years, Memorial Day has come to signify the beginning of summer with barbecues, beer, beach parties, white parties, and fireworks, and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that. Operators should do their best to be respectful of this holiday, though, as it is a somber occasion for some. That being said, let’s take a look at some promotion ideas you can use for your bar or nightclub.

Pretty much everyone loves to attend a barbecue. If you have the capability, grill up some burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, etc. If you have an outdoor area, make sure to take advantage of it and the summery vibe of your barbecue promotion. If you aren’t able to barbecue yourself, consider partnering with a local barbecue restaurant or barbecue food trucks. Food specials and beer specials will, of course, do well with your barbecue promotion. Elevate the food experience with local beer pairings.

The white party has become a staple of Memorial Day celebrations. The name indicates exactly what the promotion is all about: everyone attending wears all white clothing and footwear, including your staff. Because your staff is also expected to wear all white, you’ll need some time to get your hands on white uniforms and decide on dress shirts and slacks, polos and shorts, or T-shirts and swimwear. You’ll also need to decide on how strict you plan to be with the all-white dress code. White furniture and décor can really tie the concept together, so speak to your beer and spirits sales reps about what they can do for you to push your white party over the top.

Does your venue have a great view? Will your community be celebrating Memorial Day with fireworks? If you answered yes to those two questions, promote your view and the fireworks celebration via your website and social media channels. Pre-sale tickets should be utilized to allow guests to reserve the tables and other seats that have the best views. If you have the resources to partner with a safe and reputable fireworks company, you can pre-sell tickets for your venue’s own explosive celebration.

Whether you decide to go with a barbecue or other outdoor event, a white party, or a celebration focused on spectacular views and fireworks, remember to shout about your promotion on social media. Engage with your followers, make sure your posts are shareable, and leverage pre-sale tickets and reservations.

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Update: CORE Families & Special Events

Update: CORE Families & Special Events
Montejano-Schoeberle Family - CORE Updates
Julia and Todd Davidson - CORE Updates
FamilyWize - CORE Updates
Upcoming CORE Events - CORE Updates
Rodney Strong - CORE Updates

Image: CORE

CORE, Children Of Restaurant Employees, gives us all the opportunity to give back to our own. A 501(c)3 charitable organization funded by donations from individuals, food and beverage operators, distributors, suppliers, special events, CORE supports the children of food and beverage employees. These families are dealing with life-altering circumstances and need our help.

The following are CORE family updates, upcoming events, and more!

The Montejano-Schoeberle Family Goes to Disney World!

Nightclub & Bar would like to extend a big "Welcome home!" to the Montejano-Schoeberle family. Jax (5) and parents Kayla and Matthew, along with grandparents Sandy and William, recently returned from a five-day, four-night trip to Walt Disney World! The family stayed at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Lodge Cabins and managed to visit all four Disney parks during their trip.

"The trip went well, so much so that even Jax was sad to come home. He has been quite grumpy since we landed in Milwaukee. The trip went well and the cabins were nice and spacious. I would highly recommend them as long as the families want a little more peace and quiet. The trip itself turned out wonderful, the parks were not as busy and it was 80 degrees everyday with no rain,” says Kayla. “I didn't think that was possible to see no rain in Florida! The amount of days we were there was perfect, there was so much to do we didn't even get to see it all. By far Jax loved just walking around the parks and the fireworks at Epcot. The last day we took him to Fantasmic and he went nuts.  He was so over excited by the music and fireworks he couldn't contain himself."

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Marketing Mechanisms that Make a Difference

Marketing Mechanisms that Make a Difference

RMD Group is a nightlife and restaurant development, management and consulting company based out of San Diego. The group has won both national and local awards and accolades. And during the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas the director of VIP services, Jason Mitchell, director of operations, Pablo Aguilar, and creative director, Erick Diaz, took part in a marketing panel. Wayne Partello, CMO for the San Diego Padres, and Jamie Sigler, founding partner of J Public Relations, were also on the panel to offer operators insight into becoming more effective marketers.

There are, Aguilar explained, 1.6 million apps for Android devices and 1.5 million apps for Apple. Obviously only a minute number of apps are relevant to your business and will help you engage with your guests, so how can you utilize apps to drive efficiency, as well as acquire and create loyal customers? You’ll want to look at apps that are popular, help you to attract customers, and can offer you analytical information. One such app is Foursquare, one of the (if not the) most widely used location-based discovery and awards apps.

With a focus on social media (read: engagement), Foursquare encourages businesses to claim their listings. Bar and nightclub operators should be aware that if they haven’t created a listing for the venue, their customers almost certainly have. Ownership of a listing gives operators a chance to check it for accuracy, update it if need be, and also access to free analytics tools. It also allows you to attract new customers by setting up check-in specials. Loyal customers can also be rewarded through rewards they receive by checking in to your bar or nightclub. Engagement and reward are two incredibly effective ways to acquire and create loyal customers, and analytics help you to remain efficient.

We live in an era of a shift in marketing. The days of accumulating basic demographic information and mass marketing to multiple markets are essentially over. We now operate in a complex marketing environment and effective marketers need to provide insights. This is where insight marketing comes in. According to Sigler, insight marketing can best be described as identifying the aspirations and motivations of customers, and using that data to market to them better. Knowing the ages and genders of your target customers is good, but knowing what drives them will make your promotions, events and PR strategies great. Consider the average Millennial and their lack of interest (borderline disdain) for mainstream beers, wines and spirits. This demographic wants what is local, sustainable, and unique. What, do you think, that speaks to in terms of their motivations and aspirations? Being able to answer that question will help you to market to them much more effectively, including engaging with them in an authentic way online.

As of Q3 in 2015, there were 7.3 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. Of that 7.3 billion, 87 million were new subscriptions. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have a smartphone. Eventually the entire population will have a smartphone, and with mobile subscriptions growing 5% annually, Partello wants you to become a better mobile marketer. How does an operator accomplish this goal? Through a convenient, relevant and consistent mobile experience that offers your customers choice and flexibility. Operators must make certain that their websites and apps are mobile friendly. They must also be location based, as a study conducted by the National Restaurant Organization found that Millennials are 53% more likely to walk to a restaurant than drive to it. Location-based functionality can help you to capture this valuable foot traffic. Effective mobile marketing also requires personalization, such as personalized displays and messages, and they should also have SMS and in-app notification capabilities. Social sharing function is also crucial, as users enjoy sharing what they’re doing. Finally, mobile payments are the future so mobile wallet functionality is of vital importance. Apple Pay, Android Pay and PayPal are already on their way to becoming standard forms of payment.

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Expo Floor Product Roundup: 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show

Expo Floor Product Roundup: 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show
Prop & Peller Bavarian craft pretzels - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products
Bell Plantation PB2 powdered peanut butter - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products
Quaffer Shot Glasses - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products
Cupper Mug Co - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products
Glanola North America GNA Linemaster - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products
Herb & Lou's Infused Cubes - 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show products

Image: Prop & Peller craft pretzels

We’ve shown you our favorite beer, spirit, mixer and technology products from the 31st Annual Nightclub & Bar Show. Now, we’d like to share with you the standout food and barware products. Whether you’re looking for a more efficient way to clean your beer lines, infused ice cubes or authentic Bavarian pretzels, you’ll want to take a look at what these companies have to offer.

Let’s go!

Prop & Peller Pretzels

You’ve heard of craft beer and craft spirits. It’s likely that you have at least a few of each on your menu. But have you heard of craft pretzels? Prop & Peller Pretzels are crafted using the highest quality dough made from the finest ingredients, and an authentic Bavarian recipe imported from Ossi Piller, Germany’s most desired artisan pretzel baker. After the proprietary ingredients have been combined, a meticulous 4-hour baking process results in baked works of art. Prop & Peller Pretzel products include soft pretzels available in Classic (3 oz.), King (5 oz.), Jumbo (10 oz.) and Mega (14 oz.) sizes, gourmet hoagies, and Bavarian mustard dip. Visit their site for more information, pairings and recipes.

PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

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Designing a High-End Social Destination

Designing a High-End Social Destination

Some of Built, Inc.'s high end designs.

Do the names Pink Taco, 1 OAK, Bootsy Bellows, Shorebar, or Blind Dragon mean anything to you? They should. They’re all successful high-end venues known for their great hospitality designs. John Sofio, president of Built Hospitality Design Group (the firm behind the designs of previously mentioned upscale destinations), explained the keys to designing a high-end social destination: circulation, lighting, durability, and unique design.

Importance of Circulation

If you’re in the industry or have spent enough time in bars, lounges and nightclubs that you tend to analyze the design of whatever venue you visit, you understand that bottlenecks are bad. Circulation makes it easy for guests to move around and mingle. Poor circulation can create hostility, confrontations, frustration, and an overall poor customer experience. Provide a continuous pathway for guests to walk throughout the night.

Creating the Energy of a Room through Lighting

Lighting can make or break a concept, particularly high-end concepts. You can use color to shape mood, affecting the energy of your venue. The lighting you use throughout your space needs to be balanced, and LED lighting can be implemented to achieve that balance. LED lighting isn’t all bright white, red or blue; there are plenty of warm options that can create a sophisticated feel. Indirect lighting, sources of lighting that are hidden to eliminate dazzle and shadows, is perfect for upscale destinations but it’s critical that this type of lighting be planned from the start of the project. Finally, consider combining vintage design features with modern lighting technology for a sleek and modern but intimate and inviting feel.

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© ©2016 Questex LLC. Please Drink Responsibly. All Rights Reserved.

Stay Ahead of Social Media Trends to Reach Tech-Savvy Millennials

Stay Ahead of Social Media Trends to Reach Tech-Savvy Millennials

By now you should know the importance of social media as a marketing tool. You understand that your guests are using all sorts of social media apps, and you know that your guests and followers expect to see posts about your bar or nightclub in their feeds. Quite likely you’ve learned that managing your social media channels is a job in itself, and that part of that job is getting your posts noticed in the sea of content flooding your followers. That’s where content marketing comes in.

Content marketing, as explained by the Content Marketing Institute, is “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” As Nancy Shenker and Brittany Oat explained it at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show, content marketing is having interesting things to say, adding value, and inspiring people to spend their money with you. What they’ve learned is that your social media followers will engage more with you and share more of your content (which means their friends, family and other followers will see your posts) if you have fun, useful and interesting things to say. In other words, don’t just talk about yourself and try to sell your followers things. Instead, you need a branded, cohesive, and clever content marketing strategy.

Of course, you can’t really develop an effective content marketing strategy without knowing where you should be posting your content. To that end, you’ll need to be aware of the social media “biggies”: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Yelp and blogs. You also need to know that videos are the hot ticket posts right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. Social video is the new TV, says Shenker. Videos receive 62% more engagement than photos, and video shares have already increased 43% in 2016. There are an incredible 8 billion video views per day from 500 million people on Facebook. That’s just one social media app that facilitates video posts.

In addition to the social media biggies, you need to be aware of the top video apps: the ever-growing SnapChat and Vine, and the live streaming platforms Periscope, YouTube and Facebook. To take advantage of these apps, make certain your videos are optimized for every platform. Your content marketing strategy also needs to include location-based platforms like Foursquare and Swarm, and so-called “diary” apps.

And then there are the more specialized apps. There are apps for basically every niche and interest. Do you operate a craft beer bar, or a bar that otherwise has craft beer on the menu? Craft beer lovers are using the apps Untappd, BeerMenus, TapHunter and BeerAdvocate. Is your bar known for its wine program? Check out Vivino, Drync, Hello Vino and Delectable. Proud of your food? The foodies are on Foodgawker and Tastemade (which features videos posted by experts). The party rockers are using Flux and Tableist.

That was a barrage of apps. There are a lot of platforms to research, try out, and manage. Is there anything you can do to narrow down which apps will best work for your bar or nightclub? Of course! Shenker and Oat shared their criteria for choosing the apps that will be worth your time:

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APP-solutely the Best: The Apps You Need to Know in 2016

APP-solutely the Best: The Apps You Need to Know in 2016
Hello Vino - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
TapHunter - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
TripAdvisor - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
UrbanSpoon - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
Tableist - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
Vivino - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
Flux - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
BeerMenus - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
Untappd - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps
Yelp - Bar, nightclub, lounge and restaurant discover apps

Everyone knows they should be using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but what about the other apps that are out there being downloaded and installed on tens or hundreds of thousands (or millions) of mobile devices? Which apps should operators be aware of and have on their phones, tablets, and computers? Brittany Oat shared what she feels are the 10 must-have and must-watch apps for 2016 at the 31st Annual Nightclub & Bar Show.

There are several reasons these apps made the list. First, they’re location based. Second, they’ve been downloaded by large numbers of people and are being used often. Third, these apps make conversations easy. The fourth factor is that your competitors are using these apps, and if they’ve established their presence on these platforms, you need to do so as well. Finally, the target demographics you’re after use these apps.

So, how many of these apps do you know about, and which are you using?

Hello Vino

The creators of this app are determined to remove the snobbery from the wine experience. Hello Vino is free and gives users wine recommendations anytime, anywhere. Essentially, it’s a free and convenient wine assistant capable of making suggestions based on food pairings, special occasions, and even the user’s personal preferences. Have a wine menu? Download the app, set it for your region, and see what the app is suggesting. Consider finding a place on your menu for those wines to draw in Hello Vino users.

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Fischman Liquors and Tavern (Chicago) announces it will close in July

Fischman Liquors and Tavern (Chicago) announces it will close in July
Fischman Liquor and Tavern logo

Press Release:

(Chicago, IL) – Fischman Liquors and Tavern, a staple of the Jefferson Park community, has announced that the business, which includes a tavern and an attached liquor store, will be closing on or around July 17th, 2016.

Purchased by the Karamaniolas family in 1996, Fischman Liquors has since then been a family owned business focused on being a community location. For the past several years, the business has been driven by Gus and Shanna Karamaniolas, who took the business over from his father. Unfortunately, taking over the business did not mean taking over ownership of the actual property.

Focused on expanding the business to provide not only the community, but the city with a destination for great craft beer and friendly service, Fischmans was slated to open a restaurant, beer garden and much more. Due to internal family struggles over the nature and expansion of the business, the vision shared by Gus and his wife Shanna was consistently faced with road blocks beyond their control.

Recently celebrating the 20th Anniversary, and plans for several craft beer and community focused events, the road blocks have taken their toll. Unfortunately, the closing of Fischmans also means canceling our annual Kegs for Kidneys event. This yearly event, which was created on behalf of Izzy, the niece of Gus and Shanna, has raised over $25,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois since its inception in 2012.

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Things May Come to a Grinding Halt for Grinders Sports Bar

Things May Come to a Grinding Halt for Grinders Sports Bar
The Cajun Belle exterior - Spike TV's Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer
The Cajun Belle interior - Spike TV's Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer

This year 6,500 failing bars nationwide will close their doors for good. If things don’t change soon, Grinders in Santa Clarita, California will become just another statistic. In 2014, successful entrepreneur Dave Murrie was looking to take on a new business venture. He had owned a medical equipment company and wanted to move on to something else. So when Grinders, a local pizzeria, went up for sale, Dave and his wife Jessica saw an opportunity to take advantage of a great deal. Originally, Dave and Jessica purchased the bar for $77,000. However, Jessica didn’t expect to get into the restaurant business since the couple had no experience. Excited about their investment, they thought to improve Grinders by changing the pizza restaurant into a fully functional bar. But without proper permits, the city had other plans for the business. Dave and Jessica were forced to stop all renovation and operate an unfinished bar. Jessica estimated that she had spent over $100,000 just dealing with the city. Now, long wait times and a bar in a state of disrepair are making customers head for the exits. With the bar in ruins and struggling to keep customers coming back, a defeated Dave is no longer engaged in the business. As a result, Grinders is losing $2,500 a month and is $250,000 in debt. As the city threatens to shut the bar down due to unfinished construction, Dave and Jessica have agreed to pull back the doors, bust open the books, and make a call for help to Bar Rescue.

For the bar, Jon brings in Daniel Ponsky, a mixologist with 20 years’ experience designing cocktail programs for some of the most successful bars in the country. And for the kitchen, Jon brings in Tiffany Derry, an acclaimed chef known for crafting menus with southern flavors that stand out in any marketplace. Together, these two experts can grind any bar’s rough edges into a polished brand. The first thing the Bar Rescue and his experts notice is the lack of a real sign. The strip mall sign says “Grinders Wing Pit” but the sticker on one window indicates the bar is called “Grinders Sports Bar.” Online, Grinders is called “Grinders Pizza.” Elsewhere is the name Grinders Deli. Another problem is that it is unclear if the space Grinders occupies is one or two concepts. It is a bar with two entrances that are separated by a stairwell leading to an independent business above. Jon sent two spies from Buzzfeed, writers Sheridan Watson and Lindsay Farber, into Grinders to get their opinions. It turns out that the spies suggested any article they would write for Buzzfeed about Grinders would be a warning against visiting: “17 Reasons You Might Die at Grinders.”

Jon and his experts also discovered that Grinders didn’t have soda guns, ice bins, speed wells, work stations, drain rails, or drink rails. The bartenders were forced to run around a disorganized bar to make drinks, using a soda tower in lieu of soda guns. The bar was also in violation of just about every code, including ADA codes and fire codes. The city of Santa Clarita issued a stop-build on Grinders’ illegal construction and gave the owners 6 weeks to come up to code before they’ll have to shut them down.

The Sciences

As a bar owner you should always dress slightly better than your guests to draw in guests and project an image of professionalism and success. Saving time means saving – and making – money. Successful bars are set up to keep the bartenders mostly stationary. This keeps them in front of the guests and drinks more quickly, which means they can take more orders and serve more drinks. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted so that anyone with a disability would be able to work at an establishment. It also ensures that all areas of an establishment are accessible to people with disabilities. A venue must be compliance with ADA laws in order for the design to be in code. Onions, bell peppers and celery make up what is referred to as the Cajun Trinity, the base of the regional cuisines of Louisiana.

The Relaunch

Jon pulled favors with the city of Santa Clarita to be placed at the top of the list in terms of permits, bringing the bar up to code in around 36 hours. Grinders Sports Bar was renamed and rebranded as The Cajun Belle. Jon chose a Cajun theme in order to introduce something different into the local market. Six weeks after the relaunch, Dave and Jessica reported to Jon that both food and beverage sales are up 35 percent.

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Creativity & Control: Managing Creativity at the Bar

Creativity & Control: Managing Creativity at the Bar

Image: A creative cocktail from the Radisson Blu Alcron.

Being great behind the bar requires a ton of creativity. For sure the great craft bartender working a great craft bar expresses this trait in the unique ingredients she combines into great cocktails. But even the bartender mostly serving beer and Jack & Coke needs to be plenty creative. There are drinks to name, menus to write and promotions to create, not to mention customers to keep satisfied. The ability to think outside the box and quickly on your feet is critical in these environments as well.

Owning and operating a bar also requires tons of creativity. Unlike the bartender, the owner/operator needs to temper that creativity, make sure it is sensible as it relates to success. Profit margins are thin and implementing the right policies and procedures is critical to running a profitable operation. Finding the right balance between these two contrasting characteristics is the goal.

Too often, for too many operators, tight operational controls win out over allowing and encouraging creativity. The benefits of fostering a creative environment are intangible and therefore tough to quantify. Using jiggers instead of free pouring to ensure accurate pour costs results in a tangible benefit. But intangible benefits are still benefits. Especially if you lean toward tight controls, consider loosening some for the sake of creating a more creative environment. Here’s why and how.

The Why

1. The nature of the business.

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How to Build Your Bar's Reputation Online

Personalized social media messages - Emma Vaughn
Keep top of mind with engaging social media posts - Emma Vaughn
Enhance customer service by responding on social media - Emma Vaughn
Thank customers who check in online or through apps - Emma Vaughn
Ask customers for their feedback to make them feel valued - Emma Vaughn
Email marketing - Emma Vaughn

Attracting new customers is a challenge for any business. Before the prevalence of social media company owners big and small had to turn new customers into regulars, rely on those regulars to spread the word to their family members and friends, and hope that their reputation within the community would bring in new customers so they could continue the cycle. Well, it turns out that the process is pretty much the same in the Social Media Age, as Emma Vaughn, regional development representative for Main Street Hub, explained during her 2016 Nightclub & Bar Show presentation.

Vaughn made it very clear that operators have their work cut out for them regarding earning repeat business, and without repeat business you obviously can’t build a base of regular customers. According to the information she shared, 50% to 60% of new customers at a small business – like a bar – don’t ever return. When we realize that 8 out of 10 consumers are likely to seek the opinions of others online before buying goods or services, and that 64% of them changed their minds because of those opinions, you can see why it’s crucial that you convert new customers.

Eighty percent of consumers say that they are more likely to try new things based on friends’ suggestions made via social media. Additionally, 70% of consumers expect more personalized experiences:

Becoming more personable and personalizing your social media engagement can help you deliver on that expectation:

You’ll also want to take Vaughn's tips to heart. Tip number one? Keeping top of mind through the use of engaging posts:

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© ©2016 Questex LLC. Please Drink Responsibly. All Rights Reserved.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Music Licensing Issues

Pulling Back the Curtain on Music Licensing Issues

Image Source: BMI

Is there music playing in your bar or nightclub? Unless you’re operating a very specific concept, we’re willing to bet you’ve answered yes. Assuming that you answered to the affirmative, do you understand music licensing, copyrights, commercial music services (CMS), and performance rights organizations (PROs)? BMI’s vice president of licensing, industry relations, Dan Spears, presented an education session in Las Vegas during the 31st Annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show that explained the ins and outs of music licensing.

So, what is a copyright? It’s a form of intellectual property protection for creators of “original works of authorship,” which includes literary, dramatic, artistic, and musical works. This protection, Title 17 of the US Code, also extends to certain other intellectual works but we’re concerned with music. Intellectual property, just like physical property, cannot be used without the permission from – and a payment made to – the owner. They last until 70 years after the death of the owner and then the work may no longer require a license for use because it will become “public domain.” Of course, we’re not talking about public domain, we’re talking about how to keep from infringing upon copyrights and avoiding legal problems.

There are several types of copyrights that protect music: mechanical, synchronization, master use, digital performance right in sound recording, and public performance. It’s the latter that pertains to music playing in bars and nightclubs. Have you ever actually read the reserved rights notice that plays on a DVD before a movie starts? Do you remember the line about private use and how playing the movie for a public audience is prohibited? That same restriction applies to CDs, MP3s, and other digital audio files. Music copyright holders have granted permission for people to listen to the works, or play them privately, such as in their home or vehicle.

To perform publicly means to perform at a place open to the public, or at any place where a substantial number of people outside of a normal family circle and its social acquaintances is gathered. It also means transmitting or communicating a performance in such a place through any device or process. Live entertainment and recorded music fall under the umbrella of public performance, and CDs, MP3s, DJs, karaoke, other digital audio files, free-pay jukeboxes, television, radio, and DVDs fall under recorded music.

Bar and nightclub owners and operators basically have two options for playing copyrighted works in their establishments. One option is a commercial music service CMS, such as satellite and cable providers like DirecTV, DISH or Comcast. A CMS is already licensed for public performances for the use of background ambiance only. If you plan to use music in any additional way or ways – a live band, dancing, a DJ, karaoke, etc. – you’ll need a separate license. Using BMI as an example, a CMS is BMI-licensed exclusively for the public performance of specified commercial-free music channels. The performance of music in any other TV programming (sporting events, commercial advertisements and more) would not be authorized and would require a separate BMI license.

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© ©2016 Questex LLC. Please Drink Responsibly. All Rights Reserved.

BevSpot: Revolutionizing Bar Management Software

BevSpot: Revolutionizing Bar Management Software
BevSpot Founders
Handheld inventory Bevspot

BevSpot, a software startup based in Boston, is creating technology that’s changing the way restaurants and bars do business.

We recently sat down with Rory Crawford, BevSpot's CEO and co-founder, to chat about the current state of the restaurant and bar industries around the world. Why? These industries are missing out on a crucial aspect needed to run any successful business—great technology.

Two years ago, Rory envisioned a software platform that would fix this, that would revolutionize establishments all over the world.

So he set out to change things.

Before starting the company, Rory says he was just another wannabe entrepreneur with nothing but a good idea and the strong desire to see it through. "BevSpot was just a myth—an idea that I had no ability to build myself. Building a true technology company takes great engineers, who are incredibly hard to find."

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What's it like to run your own pub?

What's it like to run your own pub?

Many people dream of giving up the nine-to-five routine and running their own pub. The idea of being the focus of the community and acting as host for relaxed evenings, serving good food and ale to local patrons, can be a long-cherished ambition. But the reality is very different from the dream. Running a pub can be very hard work, but also very satisfying.

Hard Work

Long working hours is the first reality that potential landlords have to confront. Running a pub demands early starts to receive deliveries, organisation of time, good staff management all day, late service extending until 11pm, and finally stock-taking, book-keeping and cleaning until midnight. You should seriously consider whether you have the stamina to keep up with this lifestyle seven days a week before committing to buying a pub.

What Sort of Pub?

The next question is whether to consider leasehold, freehold, or tenancy. Choosing a pub can be great fun – different pubs in different areas can have vastly different characteristics. Urban pubs have to compete with supermarket drink prices, but can prove to be a very vibrant and stimulating environment. Rural pubs offer a smaller network of customers who can be very loyal, but they are vulnerable to diminishing returns unless passing trade from tourists can be secured.

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The Pros And Cons Of Running A Pub

The Pros And Cons Of Running A Pub

Running or owning a public house is a lifelong dream for many, and providing it is entered into with one's eyes wide open there's no reason why it shouldn't be a success. If you're the kind of person who has great social skills, dedication and ideas then you may well be attracted to the idea of running a public house. Like any venture there are drawbacks and risks involved when it comes to starting up a pub venture but the rewards can be great and the feeling of providing happiness and entertainment for a vast array of customers whilst being at the heart of a community can be numerous.

Invest wisely

Owning the establishment itself is an attractive option for a number of reasons. Whilst managers who don't own the business can be awarded vast bonuses for success, actually owning the business provides total independence, though a large amount of capital will need to be in place for not only buying the pub itself but for maintaining it and making it your own during the initial months.

There are also great financial risks involved if your venture is not a success and you could lose a vast sum of money. That said, successful pubs generally provide large profits for their owners, and if you also provide food for your patrons the profit margins can be extremely generous, with the profits being made from the outset.

Being respected

If you're thinking of buying a pub but really want to make it your own, you'll have to invest a considerable amount of cash to get it just right. Of course, to make it a success you'll have to provide a pub that appeals to your potential clientele and ensure that there's a market for it.

Alongside this, you'll need to build a rapport with your customers right away - particularly if they enjoyed a strong connection to the previous owner and staff. Engaging with your inherited customers will help you get off on the right footing and enable them to accept you for who you are - although you'll have to earn their respect and show them who is boss, albeit in a firm and friendly manner. You'll also need to keep up with pub trends and listen to your customers, and dedicate yourself to catering for them.

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