increase your bar business

7 ideas to increase your bar business

If you run a bar that is not doing well, then this article on ideas to increase your bar business is for you. The article is packed with actionable tips that you can do throughout the year to try and improve business.

Through the article we will look at ways to increase covers and increase APC

Increase covers

Guest are the life blood of any bar. As a bar manager or owner, your top priority is to improve the number of guest that walk in to the bar.


Getting the word out about your bar can have the most impact on increasing covers for your bar. Whether it is on social media or the trusted old print media, being in front of the potential guest, provide top of mind brand recall.

While marketing, build promotions that help create awareness and interest. In order to succeed with marketing, you need to have a sustained plan throughout the year.

Learn how to Market your restaurant in our learning academy

Build loyalty

Bar sales depend on loyal guest coming back week after week. You and your bar manager must create loyalty by recognising your most loyal guest and creating programs to retain them.

Loyalty cards, discount cards and other promotions like Buy one get one free can help build loyalty but these can be easily copied by the competition.

You also need to have some friendly team members who recognise the guest in your bar to really leverage the loyal community. Without that recognition, your guest will not be sticky.

Organise Events

Events are a great way to build demand on slow nights and improve covers on busy nights. Before you do events, make an pnl statement for the event to ensure that it will be profitable. Sometime it is ok to do a few event on loss basis to generate buzz in the market about the place.

But if that becomes the norm, you will soon be shutting your bar business down.

Events can be one off or recurring in nature. A weekly trivia night or a whiskey tasting wednesday will be an example of a recurring event.

Increase APC

Once you get the guest in the bar, you need to then ensure that you improve revenue from every guest who walks in. Even an modest increase will help you bring in profits without spending extra on any of the activities listed above.


Selling a guest regular drinks will help build loyalty. However, you need to ensure guest have the option to upgrade their drink. A simple question ” What is your favourite drink? ” may provide you cues to upsell the drink.

A premium beverage sale will bring in more revenue for the bar. If you have a program to consistently upsell the beverages, the incremental revenue will be good after some time

Do not forget food sales

Yes people come to the bar to drink. But if you run a good kitchen, then the food menu should compliment and provide as much as 30 – 40 % of the revenue.

Often your loyal guest come back because of a star dish in your bar menu. Treat the menu with the attention and care it deserves.

If you consistently run a menu engineering program, adjust your menu monthly. Increase the price of your stars and replace the dogs on the menu every quarter.

Spend time to learn more about menu engineering

Partner with Beverage companies

Most beverage companies have budgets to help you with free product, free marketing and running promotions. Make sure you take their support .

However when you partner with them, make sure you are comfortable with the terms. Sometimes you may be forced to pick up liquor that you do not want along with ones you want. Steer clear of those deals that will dump stock that you cannot move in your bar.

What else would you do to increase your bar business? Let us know in the comments below.

If you liked this article, you may want to do an indepth course. Enroll in any of our course from the course catalog in the menu bar.

And if you are interested in training your team, do check out our training plans for hotels

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