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Gin bar drink

How to Run a Bar

The competition in the bar industry is stiff but this advice will help you draw in the customers.

Running a bar has become more complicated in recent years as competition and consumer demands have grown. 

Bar owners are not only competing with other bars, but with restaurants, pop-ups and other forms of entertainment. If you want to keep ahead you will need to have a lot of energy and be ready to throw yourself into your business completely!

Know your market

You might have memorised every cocktail in existence and be able to recite the compliance laws that you need to follow but that’s not enough. 

If you want your bar to be the place that customers are excited to go to, you will need to know your market as well as the industry.

Who are your customers? What do they want? The more specific your target audience is the better. If you know who you want to appeal to you can give them what they want.

Trying to appeal to too many people will be the beginning of the end for your bar.


Hire great staff  

The staff create the atmosphere and the atmosphere draws the customers. Pick the staff that you know will be able to carry out the vision that you have for your bar.

Don’t get hung up on the qualifications or skills that potential staff have because skills can be taught. The attitude of your staff, however, is something that you will be stuck with.

Make sure that you have staff who will get on and have a good team dynamic. The atmosphere that this creates can be enough to draw repeat custom.

You should also help your staff to develop and grow while they are working for you if you want to keep the morale up and your staff happy.


A good bar relies on good systems. The right POS will help you keep track of your finances and expenses and keep the service quick even on the busiest of nights.

The right system will also help you keep on top of your stock, which can be a tricky task when it comes to drinks. You’ll need to keep track of how much you need to order and your wastage so that you can maximise your profits.

Bar drinks

Be hands-on

Running a bar can be tiring. You will have to work weekends, holidays and nights and the hours will be long.

Know this before going into the business because, no matter how tempting it will be, you will need to be there a lot when you are getting your business off the ground.

Even if you have hired great staff who you trust implicitly, you are the one with something to lose and so it will be you that will have the most motivation to make sure it succeeds.

Talk to the customers and make them feel welcomed. Remembering repeat customer’s names is a great way to convince them that this is their new regular spot. 

Being around and chatting with your customers can also help you discover what it is that they want so that you can provide that for them.


Start out simple

If you have been planning your business for years it can be easy to let your ideas run away with you. It's best to start out simple though. Give yourself time to get on your feet.

There will be so many things that you will only be able to learn on the job so give yourself time to do this and expand later.

It can be easy to get in over your head with a new business give yourself some breathing room in the beginning. There will be plenty of time for expansion once your business is turning a profit!

Do your research into what bars are for sale so that you can find one that will be able to run successfully. 

Anthea Taylor

About the author

Anthea Taylor is Content Producer at Dynamis and writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.

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