If you’re opening a bar in California, you are bound to meet some stiff competition.
There are thousands of establishments that have liquor licenses and all are trying to vie for the public’s attention.
However, whether you are opening a pub, dive, speakeasy, cocktail bar, tavern, or club, all of the marketing strategies for these establishments follow the same basic principles.
So, what kind of bar do you want to have? With so many bars on the market in California, yours needs to have the personality to stand out.
Before you go out to obtain your California ABC license, consider all of these tactics to maximize the benefits from your clientele.
- Location. Think about the locations where you are considering opening the bar and reflect on what kind of culture exists in those areas. Will your bar shine there? If you are planning on opening a dingy dive bar in a downtown location, do not expect to draw in many high-rolling clientele. Conversely, your ultra-chic cocktail bar you envisioned may not give you the results you want in a working-class neighborhood. Also, competition will be higher in certain areas depending on the type of bar you plan to open. In some cities, for example, craft beer breweries are highly concentrated, so getting your name out as a formidable brewery might be more difficult. In the end, it is just as important to establish the bar you want as it is to establish your desired group of clientele. And if you want to bring in a certain crowd, make sure you establish it in an area that will draw that crowd.
- Promote Your Bar with Social Media. Even before the grand opening, you need to promote your bar. Luckily, social media has made advertising so much more accessible. Create a website and an Instagram account for your bar to show the public what the scene is like before your bar has a grand opening. You can even network with other bars and restaurants in the area to spread the word. If possible, contact local bloggers or find writers of local publications to invite to a soft-opening. The more hype from reviewers and writers, the better for your grand opening. If you have a website, be sure to optimize your site for mobile devices so that potential patrons can navigate it with ease.
- Play to Your Audience. If you are fortunate enough to draw the crowd you want, you now need to tailor your bar to meet the desires of that crowd. For instance, if you are a brewery located in an industrial business area, you may want to offer a menu with full dinner options so that the working crowd will want to stop by for a few hours after work. Many breweries that exist in such areas are family-friendly—people will meet up with their families after work to share beer and food, while some breweries even have kid’s menus.
- Make Your Promotions Desirable. The popularity of your bar will remain current in part due to the weekly promotions you advertise. When you are considering doing a weekly promotion or holiday event, consider when the public tends to go out. That means that, despite your best efforts, there will be some days of the week or year that will be more slow. No matter what kind of bar you have, your best bet will likely be the weekends. However, depending on your location and proximity to certain communities, you might have certain opportunities. For instance, many restaurants in California and other places known for their Mexican cuisine will offer a deal called Taco Tuesday. The tradition includes discounted tacos and other Mexican snacks, such as chips and salsa, typically accompanied by a special price on margaritas and beer. Other bars choose to host midweek trivia nights, which are almost always a surefire way to fill the house on an otherwise dead evening.