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BARtalk | March 2016


By the time you read this we will be in Las Vegas hard at work at the 51st Nightclub & Bar Show

Also the Chicago NRA Show is coming up on May 16th to 19th. It’s a must see with Jon Taffer now on board.


The Challenge today for me is to develop and mentor on premise properties

My goal is to help develop Management structures for owners, managers and key staff and to that end help them understand loyalty, and becoming or staying relevant to their guests. This is the end goal and that’s a real challenge.

But if there was one thing to take away today and use, a way to view and develop your clients venues, it’s this simple ideal…

THE Number 1 priority in all of today’s bars, pubs, taverns, clubs or restaurants, regardless of their location, position in the market or length of time in business is


Make loyalty your Number 1 Focus, using food that gets amazing reactions, service that makes us feel important, décor that gives us comfort, and zoning that helps all generations feel a connection to the business.

My customers will ask me day in day out, how can you help me sell more product – make more money, but really that’s not my job. Those things come as a by-product of building loyalty, training a great team and providing relevant exciting products. Without that we get no loyalty and without that we have nothing long term.

Even from the greatest honeymoon period I’ve ever seen, a venue that was doing over 1 Million dollars a month failed within 14 months. Why? All customers were first time visits, very few became loyal locals. If you do not build loyalty in any market you won’t be around long.

Even bigger markets overseas like the USA, have still had venues fold in under 2 years, venues that were record holders and it catches business people out all the time. It’s all due to a lack of loyalty – they didn’t turn customers into guests and guests into locals.

Let’s break loyalty down…
If our goal is that every customer leaves happy, and it should be these days, we will increase market share! The people who come will bring back others, sell to others and we sell more products which in turn sell themselves to others. Ask yourself this one question “how many people would walk into one of my properties and not be greeted, said hello, welcomed? How many could get in and out without an emotional connection, statistics tell us 100’s do every day!

I see it first-hand all the time, just 4 days ago I had a beer with 2 friends in a newly opened bar. They spent 500K on the re-build and I had to go to the bar and order our beer, we drank them, waited with empty glasses for over 15 min, and then left…. guess how many words were spoken by the staff of 5 in a bar of 4 patrons?…… the answer just one word “beer?” the barman asked before filling my order and not another word came our way…

If our goal is to make emotional connections with our guests, they will then sell our service, our events, our food and 100’s of other thing to their friends, their work mates and family, and we sell more food, beer, wine, and on it goes.

If our goal is to connect and treat our customers the way we would like to be treated, we will succeed, how can we fail….. so when you go into bars and pubs do you feel welcome? Does it feel like you’ve come to a good friend’s house?

If loyalty is not our goal, no matter how big our markets are, no matter what we started with, no matter how much we spend on the fit out or the food, we can only loose!



The 5 Secrets of Setting Short Term Goals

When I talk to people about goal setting, I’m often surprised by their reactions. A lot of people tell me that they haven’t gotten around to setting work goals, career goals or life-time goals and identifying their values and coming up with specific, measurable bench marks, etc…

They tell me that goal setting takes too much time and energy, and that it will require days and weeks of work and that once they have the goals they’ll start to feel bad if they don’t reach them.

Some of the time people tell me they do have goals, but when I ask them what they are, they come up with vague wants and items that change with each pay check. Sound familiar?

While life-time goal setting does require an initial investment of time and energy, the payoff is immediate and life changing. The good news however, is that identifying and writing down even short term goals will give you the same benefits, and setting short term goals is a quick and effective way to develop momentum, build confidence and get some meaningful things accomplished.

If you want to see your life change in just 3 to 6 months, then follow these 5 quick rules for setting short term goals. As you’ll see, accomplishing just one short term goal can change your life beyond your wildest dreams!

Secret #1: Grab a calendar. Pick a short term, manageable 3 to 6 month period to set your goals in. Short term goals tend to get you into action right away, are easier to visualize, and because of their short term nature they encourage you to set realistic, easy to accomplish goals.

Secret #2: Pick just 1 or 2 goals to work with. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to change every area of your life or business. Just pick a couple of areas that you want to begin changing in the next few months.

Secret #3: The goals you pick don’t have to be fully accomplished in the time period you’ve identified. This is the key! Rather, what you’re looking to do in the next 3 to 6 months is to simply develop momentum, establish a pattern, and begin getting you excited about your life again. Having read or begun listening to a couple of books, for me The Winner’s Bible has helped me focus.

Remember at the beginning I wrote that setting even short term goals can be a life-changing event, want a different life or outcome? GET A PLAN

Secret #4: Set in your mind a vision of where you feel or have said “I hate this” Write your goals down, then remember that day over and over. I have my own winner’s bible I look at it every day and have recently refocused the largest goal of my own life.

You’ve heard over and over again how much more effective goal setting is when you write your goals down. It’s totally true, pictures also work. Once you’ve identified your 2 or 3 goals, write down in detail what it is you want to accomplish, or what stage you want to be in at the end of the time period you’ve chosen.

Secret #5: Make a list and start identify right now, today, what actions you can take to move you closer to your goals. Set a date or a big event coming to work towards, make a list of actions you can take today and take them! Do the same thing tomorrow and get in the habit of taking an action each day to move you closer to your goals.


Motivating your team

First, don’t de-motivate – if you spend energy smashing everyone down, you will need to spend even more energy to bring them all back up.

Most team members are intrinsically motivated to do well at work. The problem begins when something, or someone causes a team member to be de-motivated. Identify common crew de-motivators in your operation (like insufficient training, too few hours, a disgruntled co-worker or manager) and then work to eliminate the offending system, schedule, or person.

This may solve your problem without having to implement a contest or incentive or anything else. Sometimes motivation is not the problem and an incentive is not the answer, look first, plan and then execute.

A nervous captain makes for a frightened crew. How would you feel on a plane if the captain sounded like he was going to die? A recession affects your hourly team’s mind-set too. They read the same websites, papers, and blogs that you do, and too much bad news can impact their confidence, morale, and focus. So it’s important that GMs (owners/ Directors) demonstrate resolve and realistic optimism, not constant doom-and-gloom. The donkey Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh is hardly the ideal team leader. Leaders are not “energy-neutral.” You are either giving people energy or are draining it from them. Be positive and spread energy daily, and spend at least one day a week using the 10-10 rule.


Last thoughts

Stop paying the people who push away great customers, employ slow and fire fast – it’s time to build a team and pour on great service! I received an email from a venue where I had done training that used my birthday kit!

From: noelene.34$%$
Subject: Birthday food

To The Staff and management of (venue name)
Thank you for your hospitality and the wonderful food which was perfect.
Also many thanks for the Birthday cake, who would have thought a cup cake and candle and a little song, would bring us so much fun.
We will be back soon.
Mark and Noelene.



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