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BARtalk – Raising The Bar | Sept 2015


As 2015 counts down and Christmas approaches

Some of us are heading for summer, some are heading into winter, but which ever you are heading for, PLAN and get ready for success. Holiday weekends and more; here are 5 tips to start thinking about:
1: Your answer phone message is it happy and is it ready for the holiday season? Use something simple, smile and be happy!
“ Hi, Welcome to ___________ its going to be a great Summer/Winter. If you are calling for bookings over the holiday season, please leave your details clearly and one of the Team will be in touch with you soon. Have a fantastic holiday season and drive safely. We look forward to seeing you soon at ____________Happy Christmas.”

2: Lucky Dip Barrels in a family market really are timeless, head down to the $2.00 cheap shops and some local toy shops get your team to wrap the goodies. Children 12 and under get a dip in with conditions to suit your sales…it’s a simple but effective Christmas promotion.

3: Be Different: Father Christmas in the corner is ok, but the days to stand out in the crowd are here and remember PR pays off, charity, toys to kids programs and much more all work.

4: Mayor Of The Village all year it’s important to keep your mayor of the village program strong, but at Christmas it’s your chance to really step it up, find a community cause and own it, some great past promotions include supplying a Father Christmas with presents at school sports, hospital programs and even a car yard promotion.

5: Team Spirit: New year and across the Christmas period it’s important that you have a team ready with happy festive cheer and good skills, remember your 3 minute pre-huddle meetings to drive a happy team…it’s a tough time of year keep your team pumped.



Often we need to ask ourselves; Are we cutting or controlling costs and are we cutting at the expense of our brand promise?

Often a really successful venue operator is judged by the level of their tool box of skills, and these skills always begin with great cost control programs.

Some operators can also become too focused on cut, slash, drop and then lose focus. Controlling and monitoring this kind of extreme attention to detail can sometimes be a hindrance rather than a help.

More than 80% of your expenses are spent in three areas;
1: Cost of goods sold
2: Payroll
3: Overheads, including the cost of real estate and services

The one thing we know of really successful operators is they drive sales and control costs, but first and foremost they are a BRAND. The brand formula and promise to the customer comes in first place, they know that without guests and their spend; nothing else is possible.

The Key Is Control… Never Cut

There is a huge difference between what is meant by controlling and cutting. Controlling is determined by extensive research and a thoughtful and sensible approach to any and all changes you make around your brand rules. We never take the brand promise for granted.



Making Your Trivia Even Bigger!

Many of you are now heavily involved in Pub Trivia and its run along nicely for some time….. But now it’s most defiantly time to lift the level…raise the bar and make that show bigger than last year and more importantly better than your competitors.


I’ve spent a lot of nights running Trivia and being at shows and man if ONE thing is clear it’s the operator that makes the single biggest difference in any show. I sent out the suggestions below to you all a year ago and I hope they lifted the show for those who tried them. If you didn’t, then start with something below.

The BIG Hot Seat, yes it’s fun and fast, get one team member per round to face the ‘hot seat challenge’ 10 questions in 60 sec, get a really great seat, such as an antique wing chair or something oversized, this rocks, it can even be a BRAND seat.

The Champions Table, another simple one… get the best table in the house set aside for the leading team. Each trivia night if the entire team is there 30 minutes pre-event, the first round is on the house. Get a champions table cover or change the table in some way, make heroes of the leaders.

Dip and sip, a cocktail making promotion. Each team picks one mixer from a hat and the bar staff make a round of that cocktail…make sure all the mixers work together before putting them in the hat (we don’t want sick people!) Make a wheel for the teams to see which team wins the cocktails.

Hi-Jacking is another massively successful trivia idea just as we Hi-Jack ritual event s for our party weekends, the same applies in trivia land. Build shows around Halloween, Mother Day, Fathers Day, and on it goes.

“What’s in The BOX?” we have had huge fun with this one in year’s gone by, and today its bigger than ever. Simply get two lidded tins (it must be tin), each week fill it with something from the same shop, like a $2 shop or similar, tape the lid shut and send them to one team per round, easy fun and makes a bit of noise.

80s Puzzles…Magic 8 Ball and Rubik cubes are great fun in your shows, everyone remembers them, but most haven’t seen one for years Plus you can use one of the themes in the show, maybe it’s all 80s.



Here is a great list to help in your staff meeting or your shift huddles:

1: Reward your talent – it’s far more important than the cost of losing good people, find great people and keep them with rewards, move on low performers quickly.

2: Teach your team the basics – teach great language “have you tried our amazing beer bread”? will always out sell “any bread for the table”?

3: Meet and Greet every customer; that’s the moment-of-success – people judge in the first few seconds. What does the first three seconds say about your team?

4: Change and then manage your business’s culture and that culture will manage your business – remember culture eats strategy for lunch.

5: ASK! One of the worst things you can do is struggle along and tell no-one. Reach out to Hospitality Associations, Breweries, Hospitality Consultants and people in the industry for help when you are unsure. Don’t wait until things get desperate.


It’s a great reminder for your management teams.

S. STOP! Paying people who drive away your patrons

T. Train your staff by showing them how a $100 spend goes through a venue so they begin to think like owners do.

O. Open your eyes; look to see your team doing something right so you can reward them; look for times to say thanks.

P. Plan! You can only succeed with a degree of solid planning; Failure to plan is a plan to fail.

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



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