Above the Bar – They Come in Waves

One of the secret strategies of ownership that I employ to dominate a market is the simple fact that I just keep building and opening venues one after another to the point of trying to open one venue per year for 3 to 4 years.

This allows for market dominance and market place control the two types of dominance needed to ease the pressure of failure in any marketplace, this does not guarantee that one of the venues will not fail but allows you to obtain actual physical control over a larger body of patrons.

Opening the first venue and positioning yourself in any market is always important and choosing the type of venue is also Key to allowing for future venues to flow into existence. The first venue I would always prefer to open would be one that has a high volume high profit format, this format would be a Party Bar format that would cater to the masses and allow for the growth of your brand to proliferate by having a high density patronage that you can grow, educated and then move on to your other venues easily.

The next venue would best be located in a very close proximity to the first venue and the venue itself should be close to but not totally have a parasitic relationship with your first venue. I would prefer to open a venue for a older demographic that would allow for me to now transfer my existing older clientele and a new clientele into a venue that allows for me progress my overall market control into two market segments now with a moderate size Ultra Lounge or Pub/Irish Bar/English Pub which will cater to another market demographic or 24 to 36 year old patrons added to my first venue the Party Bar which caters to a 21 to 28 year old demographic.

The added benefit to now controlling 2 demographic and market segments can begin to show in your staffing and operations as staffing for the venues and the overall cost of building designing and opening the next venue should be easier now that the systems are in place to make opening new venues easier. This along with your relationships with local city police and liquor agencies and the benefits of now hedging your buying power with spirit, beer and food companies as you know are buying volume not just a single store operation.

Add to these benefits that now the success of your brands will allow for you to venture into a third and fourth location in which you can expand your brand into opening satellite locations if possible or opening new market segments venues such as Live music venues or Dueling piano bars catering to drive traffic early and allow for an older demographic 26 to 45 year old patrons enjoy the experience of the venue before the younger demographic arrives to fill the venue in the later hours. This is huge as you can get that extra turn of customers along with additional pouring hours in which to generate revenue.

The addition of multiple venues will also allow for you to farm talent locally and to control the talent pool in a market place as you add more venues you will be able to move up staff to management  and in my case sometimes even ownership based points that are not vested until a set time allotment absolved upon departure.

Try to open your first few venues as to allow the patrons to flow from venue to venue as you should understand that your patrons are of a mind that wants to bar hop and taking full advantage of this is huge. One great benefit to owning multiple venues is that customers will often behave better if they understand that if they mess up they will be banned from all of the venues and, Telling a customer he or she is banned from one club has little affect upon that customer, telling that same customer that they are banned from 3 or 4 venues has a greater affect upon that customer. If you were a customer who enjoyed going out a lot you can imagine that all of their friends are going to keep going out without them.

The bottom line is that the more venues you control the more patrons you control and sometimes you cannot believe how many patrons you touch in a month, for example I have 3 venues and can put close to 3000 patrons thru on a summer Friday night and 4000 people thru on a summer Saturday night with a combined total square footage of 18,000 square feet between all the venues, That’s about 7000 patrons total on one weekend. Looking at this volume density you can calculate that most patrons will have a frequency of hitting your bars at about twice a month, three times if you are good, most likely patrons will hit your venues once a week and twice a month on average. I would put the total patronage to you have the ability to touch at close to 30,000 on the low end and 50,000 on the reasonable end.

These kind of numbers are what you give your brand true power in a market place and that power can be used to continue to grow customer loyalty and frequency thru customer incentive/loyalty programs, Direct and indirect marketing channels and to top it off the power to open new venues hedging your bets in the future and protecting your source of income and living for your staff and your family for many prosperous years to come by simply thinking above the bar.