Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Five ideas for pubs

The BARventure Top 5 Basics - these are aimed at pubs but a lot of these ideas could work for YOUR business too!

Rule 1: The Customer Really Is Always Right.Ok!
I know this isn't really the case. They want the one product you don't sell. The dessert you took off the menu months ago. They haven't booked and want their 'usual table'. Obviously there are many situations where the customer is absolutely, 100%, utterly wrong. However, there is absolutely, 100% utterly no point in telling them so.

You are never going to find a customer who turns around and says "Oh thanks for pointing out how wrong I was. I shall never do that again". In fact all that will happen is that they shall leave and go and find someone who does sell what they want, has the dessert they loved or always manages to find them that 'special' table.

Without customers you have no business - just a shell - so get into the mindset of thinking that they're always right. It's amazing what solutions you can think of if you really want someone's business.

Rule 2: Consistency is Key
Lucky streaks are great; they can provide big windfalls and give you a real buzz. But ask any poker player and they will tell you that they would rather play consistently good odds each hand than land the odd royal flush. This is why the same players keep appearing at the final table of the world series. Not because they are luckier than everyone else but because they play consistently good poker. Looking at the odds, making good judgment calls and then occasionally getting that whopping hand.

So open your doors, provide great service all the time, deliver what you promise and what you advertise. Build up your reputation. The worst thing you can do is lose consistency. You'll end up giving a lovely couple the best time in the world and then they'll re-book and bring their friends and if you don't provide the service you had previously they'll feel embarrassed and let down. All of a sudden you've lost double the customers you made happy. Gain two - lose four, this is non-profitable mathematics! Be consistent. Always.

Rule 3: You get what you pay for. As a customer and as an employer.
Whether you have one person working for you or 50 give them the maximum remuneration you can not the minimum amount you think you can get away with. I can't praise enough the benefits of top quality waiter or waitress that costs you £7 per hour over the student working filling up their time on minimum wage. The return you'll get in upsales, repeat business and simple peace of mind will far out-weigh your additional costs. Its not only wages that count though, what else can you do for your staff? Days away? Employee of the Month awards that offer something more than a bottle of wine - is it really that expensive to pay for a weekend for two in Rome or Paris? Not really - if you shop around about £200.

Support you staff, treat them as well as you can and in return they will support you. They will tell their friends how great it is to work for you and recruitment will get easier. They will turn up for work on time. They will stay on when you need them to. They will feel involved in the business, taking ownership and giving the customer that 'WOW' factor service.Unless you're the only person in your business your staff are your representatives. Treat them like yourself.

Rule 4: Life is Unfair
Yes.Its official. Life is unfair. If it was then Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators would be dead (I know...I know not my line! I don't know who said it actually so if you do please drop me a line...if it was you - please don't sue!) Not only is life unfair but there is also nothing you can do about it. Sometimes things are going to go wrong and it won’t be anyone's fault, or at least they won't have purposefully made the mistake. You could stamp you're feet, have a fit and throw your toys out of your pram. But life will still be unfair, you will still have the problem and you just be a little bit more stressed. As hard as it is, take a breath, learn from the situation and move in.

This is the second time I've had to write this page because I accidentally deleted it the first time over. I could have got really upset, angry that I had lost all my writing but would it have helped me? Not really. Instead I made a cup of tea sat back down and started re-writing. And you know what, this version is better. I've got a funny little anecdote to add to this rule, this page is better than it was the first time over.

Life isn't fair, but if you're calm and relaxed you'll often find you can turn mistakes and disasters into benefits and profit.

Rule 5: Stop, Look and Listen
Not only a rule that will keep you alive when crossing the road but also a rule that will keep your business alive with fresh ideas. Take a moment to stop taking. Shhh. Listen to that. The world you're in is full of great ideas bumping around in peoples heads. Or in the bar you're sat in, the cinema, the casino, the coffee shop, the supermarket. In fact everywhere you go. On holiday, at your friends house, at a motorway road stop. No matter where you go you'll find ideas that you can use or sparks of ideas that lead to your next big thing.

Listen to your customers and they will tell you what they want Listen closely and they'll even tell you what would make them spend more money. Ask your staff, their ideas might not have the business acumen you're looking for but I bet they give you something to work with. Use the people and places around you and keep your mind open to new ideas

Copyright © BARventure 2007

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