Pub Management Tips
Good pub management is the key to creating a successful drinking establishment. This isn’t just about the big decisions in your bar but about all the little decisions and actions you take every day to make sure your bar operates successfully. All the little decisions are the key to how to run a pub.
Here are seven quick pub management tips to help you with your day to day operations:
- Come In Well Before the Doors Open Every Day: One the keys to insuring the day to day operations run smoothly is making sure that you are prepared for the day. Come in well before your day begins and supervise preparations. Coming in early gives you enough time to double check everything from inventory to your voicemail (in case someone calls in sick). All of these insure that you don’t have to be trying to juggle the problems that arise during the day and the problems that you could have addressed before opening hours.
- Liquor Inventory: Make sure you keep track of liquor inventory on a daily basis so that if any kinds of discrepancies arise you can address them immediately. The best way to do this if you have the room, is the extra bottle method. You keep one extra bottle beyond what you expect will be the most that you could serve in a day and check that every night. When that bottle goes its time to order another. (Of course, you should except unusual drinks from this system and you want to make sure that you always have enough of your staples—such as when you are promoting a new fruity cocktail.) For more on this topic see Understanding Liquor Inventory.
- Tip from the Pros: Keeping good track of your liquor inventory is also a good way to insure that you have a finger on the pulse of current trends. A few years ago, for example, a lot of bar owners noticed that they were suddenly getting a lot of orders for martinis—a drink that hadn’t had wide popularity since the 60’s. It turned out the TV show Madmen had made the drink into a retro fad—to the point where you now have a number of martini lounges and variations on this theme. Bar owners who had their liquor inventory well in mind managed to capitalize on this wave long before it crested. Others missed out.
- Have a Time to Contact Everyone: Make sure that as part of your day to day operations you have a solid half hour set aside every morning for answering e-mails, returning calls and generally making sure that you are available to others. This is the time to make sure no one has called in sick, and to read any notes from the previous day. This is also the time to call about liquor inventory and delivery problems. And don’t forget we live in the internet age. Check your bar related e-mails—answer customer inquiries, make changes to the website calendar, send out tweets, call about booking new bands.
- Keep your Keys with You: As every old bar owner knows, your keys are your bar. Never in the course of your day to day operations let anyone except your partner or most trusted manager have access to your keys and the liquor storage area unsupervised. Temptation and lax supervision can turn even the most trust worthy of employees into a petty thief. Bar owners are constantly surprised by who has betrayed them in this regard.
- Have Standardized Drink Recipes: Liquor inventory and ordering can be especially challenging if each bartender fixes drinks in his own unique way. One of the keys to good pub management and to insuring profitability is standardizing drink measurements and making sure all bartenders are on the same page. Your regular customers will definitely notice if one bartender is more generous with drink mixes than others, and they will flock to that bartender, reducing your profitability.
- Keep Your Pub Management Skills Current: Always be sure that you are learning new ways how to run a pub. You may think you have learned everything there is to know about liquor inventory and how to run a pub, but the bar business is always evolving and incorporating new technologies. Adapting with it is the key to growth and success. Just as in any career you must continue to improve your understanding of how to run a pub and your bar management abilities.
- Address Problems Early: When it comes to bar management the key to success is like all other kinds of management: be proactive. As soon as you see a problem begin to arise, address it. Very few problems just blow over by themselves. If an employee is late for a second time within one week or trades shifts with someone else without checking with you first, talk to the employee as soon as possible or soon all employees will be coming in at their convenience and making their own work schedules. If liquor goes missing, start asking around. If a station is not properly cleaned up at the end of the night, make sure you talk to the employee. Addressing little problems early prevents them from becoming large problems later.
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