If you ask anyone on the street on what makes a great bar, you would think a lot of people would say it’s the drinks, the location, the ambience, or the entertainment. Now all of these things can make any establishment appealing for some time, but it’s often the people behind the bar that make people come back again and again.
The bartenders, the people who run the bar, and even the regulars all make a bar a more interesting place for most people. Of course, not every bar has a Sam (Ted Danson in Cheers) or a Moe (The Simpsons), but a good bartender is a good listener, a fair arbitrator, not focused on tips, and have a good memory.
The last one is important as it’s the main reason most people go back to a bar: Recognition. This recognition goes both ways: the more you remember your patrons, the more they will recall and return to your bar.
You could have your bar’s name printed on your glasses, mugs, plates and drink coasters, but even if you give these away as freebies or custom-printed promotional products, your patrons will always return to their favourite bar or pub mainly because of the people.
So here are some essential personnel you need to make your bar a place worthy of a visit or more.
1. You need a host
A host would greet your patrons and guests the moment they open the door. They should be personable, with a ready smile, and could answer questions about your establishment. They will seat your guests and
recognise your regular patrons and give them their favourite tables or booths.
2. You need servers
Your servers should be friendly and amiable and know the different kinds of drinks your establishment serves. Your servers should also make it a point to identify your regular patrons and new faces, so they would know who needs the drinks list and menu immediately.
3. You need a bartender
You don’t have to look for someone like Tom Cruise in Cocktail, but if you find a bartender who could entertain the crowd while mixing drinks, it’s another plus for your establishment. Hire someone who is friendly and knows the different kinds of drinks you plan to serve.
Your bartender should know how to mix cocktails and serve beer whether from a tap or a bottle. All of this will put him or her in good stead with your customers.
What about the owner?
The owner of a bar or a pub who shares stories, drinks and time with their regular patrons is the most important reason most people return to a bar. When you give your patrons time to share your bar’s history and yours, you have made them feel more welcome.
If you can, offer them a sip of what you have to provide (drinks or food samples) before they order. During a meal, ask them how they’re doing and ask if they’re having fun. Finally, when they ask for the bill, give them a promotional product with your bar’s name.
These small gestures of appreciation make any guest feel they have found a place that almost feels like a second home. You can use all sorts of gimmicks to promote a bar, but it takes more than great marketing to make a bar memorable; you know it’s always the people behind it that make the difference.