The bar business can be cruel one day and lucrative the next. Sometimes you can’t tell which way the wind is going to blow until Saturday rolls around and you’re looking at a mostly empty bar, with a smattering of patrons content to sip their drinks very slowly. A few weekends like that and you might find yourself firmly in the red, forced to either cut corners or make drastic changes to your business plan.
Luckily, a bar isn’t just tied to the drinks it sells – there are other sources of revenue you can pursue, which will allow you to boost profits and make up for a couple lacklustre nights. Aside from making you some extra money, these revenue ideas can also help your bar in other ways – as you’ll see – like enticing new customers, advertising your bar, and offering a useful service. Here are the top four ways you can add helpful revenue streams to your bar:
Sell Custom Merchandise
If your logo is cool, if your spot is idiosyncratic and if your overall branding is unique, then you definitely need to start selling custom merchandise. Mock up a simple design, order some bulk custom printed sweater and hoodies and hang them up behind the bar for sale – you’ll be surprised how many people, after a good experience at your place, will want to wear your custom apparel. And, as an added bonus, custom apparel acts as advertising; other people will see the apparel, with your name and logo, and keep you in mind next time they hit the town.
Offer Pay-To-Play Games
Do you want a bar, or do you want an experience? Any old place can sling drinks, but in order to set yourself apart look into giving up a bit of your floor to games. It could be a pool table (or two), a foosball table, darts, arcade games, shuffleboard… the list goes on. Not only will it draw people in but, if you charge even just a couple bucks to play a game, you have now found a second source of revenue from your patrons.
Add An ATM
This one is all about offering a service. Regardless of whether you are a cash-only bar, offering a cash machine is handy for a lot of patrons who prefer to pay that way. You can either team up with an independent ATM operator, who will take care of all the maintenance, take the money made and give you a cut, or you can get your own ATM, which is admittedly more work.
Allow Digital Signage
This last one is the only one that doesn’t take its money from your clientele, but rather uses your clientele as an audience. You can use your digital signage for practical purposes, such as displaying a menu and drink list, but you can also add to your revenue by using it for advertising. Monetizing your screens is as easy as partnering with local or connected businesses and having them pay for advertising time. Offer a local craft beer? See if they will pay to have their products advertised on your digital signage.
Whether business is booming or slowing, implement these four ideas to add new sources of revenue for your bar. Cheers!