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BARtalk | Aug 2016


Can simple games become million dollar promotions?

Winter, summer or in between, great promotions work all year around and are still a fantastic option to build any part of your business. Pizza Bingo, Lucky Box, Pizza Roulette, or Pie in the Sky are all excellent promotions that I’ve run hundreds of times over the last 5 years in our pizza venues. It’s taking simple, well known games and using them to quickly lift sales – it really makes perfect sense.

Take snakes and ladders….a simple game which everyone knows … so imagine a 10ft wide S&L board in your bar and 20 or so players who get to roll the dice after every drink purchase – could that be an early week winner? Well yes it was 10 years ago…

Other money makers can be as simple as putting a bit of time into the process of rewarding with fun. My Vegas Thursday promotion has been running somewhere in the country now for over 15 years and it still works.

rtb-pokemonPokémon Go Yes, as nuts as it may seem, Pokémon does draw customers and getting the entertaining little buggers in your business has been generating a strong following. Hitch that with online images, Facebook twitter and Instagram and this crazy fitness based global explosion drives traffic. Then the next level of products like the Pokémon cocktails and spin off naming opportunities are huge, and even in family restaurants the colouring or puzzle pages for kids have been an instant hit, plus opportunities to purchase and populate your business with the little money makers. Next up are T-shirt promotions and a collection of options which have come pouring out of the Poke GO craze.


The Power of the Video Story: Rob Thomas & Matchbox 20 are a real favourite of mine. They build stunning videos that take you on a journey and are top of my own lunch and dinner lists. Chris Cornell, John Mayer and a collection of similar top vocal hit makers really can change any dining experience and have helped me to keep eyes on screens to then market my income-generating messages in the form of frames & ticker.

Then there are the remix specialists like Jamie Cullum and Diana Krall who offer great timeless sounds with a new twist. And then the longest list of cool and timeless singer-songwriters like kiwi Gin Wigmore, Ed Sherran and Duffy, right back through the ages to the big bands like Chicago and Journey.

If your clients are a bit older, mix them with the odd one-hit-wonders like Andy Kim, Starbuck and a Bar & Restaurant can really offer a tiny piece of history or the best memories of the past with very little effort at all. But most importantly, it’s keeping my screens relevant and keeping my marketing perfectly in front of clients at the perfect time to upsell starters, desserts and future visits.

Even now, Kansas “Carry On My Wayward Son” is playing as I write this piece, and I not only remember them in the day but have a chance to see them as they are today – that’s the power of video. And surrounding that video is a relevant frame which is marketing my trivia, which has increased my numbers attending and increased their spend. My Million Dollar promotion on screen shows winners of the last few weeks, so ask yourself “Are your frames marketing Trivia”? Are the frames showing past winners? Are they relevant to your offerings?

I love to watch the reactions of my guests as different music videos flood my screens. Watch the reaction as tables then discuss the video and what it means to them, tap their toes and even catch people singing th chorus. In each of us music videos hold memories. Since the 80s, video has been the strongest music medium – as Heart’s “Magic Man” plays now for me that guitar rift at the start still takes me back to a very special memory that I can’t share but makes me smile. Next, the real standouts that still get a play now and then like Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley’s famous band Kiss with “I Was Made For Loving You” – this was the first cassette I had in my very first car and Paul and Gene really showed the world how showmen and businessmen could change the business of Rock & Roll. They still are today, as they are about to open yet another huge venue in the USA. In fact the USA based Rock and Brews concept of multimillion dollar venues that is their brainchild is growing at a great rate. They are about to open the biggest Video Bar concept in US history and harness real power from the video story of rock – these guys know video and how to use it to market.

Over the years, marketing on screens without entertainment has become wallpaper and our guests need reason to view screens – you need to tell that story – the video music should sell a story of your brand. These days even the heavy over use of second-hand sports footage has turned guests off and actually works against us, especially knowing that the female market largely hate sports on screen. Ask yourself how important a golf game from weeks gone by is. In fact, how valuable is any non-live sports event to today’s market; it’s simply not relevant and certainly not entertaining, especially in a dining situation.



5 Ways to help your Managers’ effectiveness at coaching your teams

Building balanced teams is a tough job, but your goals must be to have a team that makes your guest welcome and completely looked after.

Looking squarely at the effect a manager has on a team has been forefront of my mind is recent months and many of my customers and RTB readers keep asking this same question Q: How exactly do you know if your managers are effective coaches? How do you know if they are leading Vs pushing?

1. Asking vs. Telling
You can tell much about a manager’s coaching ability by observing the interactions with his or her salespeople. I say this a lot but its true – “Professionals ask Questions” If a majority of the interaction includes the words “do this” or “why are you not doing that,” your manager is in “tell mode.” This highly directive and subservient communication makes salespeople feel like robots and produces mediocre performers or worse, pushes them to rush decisions. Honestly, it strains their relationship with their manager.

Coaching is about asking thoughtful questions. It’s also about recognising and rewarding team members for the good work they do.

It is based on the belief that individuals have the answers to their own sales & service challenges and honestly they do. The manager’s role is to help individuals develop their ability to self-direct and solve their own problems – to “become solutions focused”.

A coach would spend a majority of the time asking “how do you think you can best accomplish this goal?” or “how would you like to address this opportunity?” and even just reminding them that it is an opportunity to win.

2. Spend time in the game on the field
Walk a mile in their shoes as they say..Like many of us, managers tend to spend their time on the activities they are the best at and most enjoy. A manager who focuses extensively on administrative tasks won’t find solutions; sitting in an office won’t increase lunch trade! The manager who finds creative ways to get into the field and spend more time with sales team probably sees the value of this time. Remember that administration doesn’t generate revenue or help develop your sales & service. People who spend time on the field of play improve their team’s ability to be the best they can be. Do you track the number of hours or days your manager spends on the floor? The best coach is likely the one who does so most often and the ones out there in the thick of it will be the most respected.

3. Accountability & Availability
True Coaching is about accelerating a sales team’s growth and ability to achieve their personal & work goals and reach full potential.

It’s a four-step process that:

  1. identifies opportunities for improvement,
  2. gains commitment,
  3. develops a plan, and
  4. sets up an accountability program to discuss progress.

Set aside one hour a month to review your manager’s team reports or staff feedback. Then go farther and follow three or four shifts on the floor to see how your managers work with your teams

4. Sales & service team engagement and turnover
Many companies track with an annual survey in which the key is to drill down to see if they have employed the right people…remember get the right ones first up and save $$$ on wasted training and staff turnover. The trick though is watch out for turnover of key staff… In fact the numbers are not good – 70% of top performers who leave will do so based on their relationship with their manager, not money or benefits.

5. Get stuck into the “prime time program” a prime time clock!
I did put this in a previous bar talk….Managers who know and run the prime time on the field of play make great teams and always build great people. Then get out there yourself and ask the right questions of the team. Ask them about the level and quality of coaching they are getting. Another approach, the dreaded “co-work with,” involves sitting in with a manager for a day. You observe the coach at work and get a first-hand perspective on the coaching effectiveness.

I need to do even more of this myself these days, but I do know owners who utilize this approach and I applaud their resolve and love their results, and as you will know, most are well respected by all levels of the team.

Bottom line….mangers will pass on their own attitudes and these do infest the team, both good and bad ones, monkey see always works better than do what I say not what I do.

Here’s to good coaching! I’m going to lift my own level this month and take a look at what I can do to help my team members …maybe you could too?


Dress for success

rtb-dressOne popular question I get is “what do you do when an owner dresses like a bag of you know what, yet asks his or her staff to look professional and branded…”

It’s a bizarre issue and honestly I see it more than you can imagine. Psychologists say it’s because some owners don’t want to follow rules, others say they actually don’t like their brand; it’s a tough one to understand.

I am so proud of my own brands and love to wear my logos. It’s a funny thing, almost every Bar Rescue show starts with an owner who is NOT in a uniform and refuses to look the part or act the part. A large number of business owners I see in trouble are unbranded and often look like they are living on the street…simply not proud of their brands for whatever reason…

To answer the question…. Some people refuse to change, they are stuck and as sad as it is, owners do reflect their own standards across the team and customers judge – so many won’t last long enough to worry about.

Bottom line – people who dress for success most often become successful

Until next time, keep the questions coming and have a great profitable month.



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