In order to enhance the reputation of your bar and establish it as the go-to destination in your area, you may be considering strategies to attract groups. However, without the proper approach and internal organization, it can be challenging to overcome this hurdle. Opting to focus on individual customers may seem like a safer choice, even though it may result in sacrificing valuable revenue.
Nevertheless, there are ample opportunities to acquire new customers by catering to groups in your establishment. By offering various options such as attending concerts, themed nights for socializing, hosting private events like birthdays, or organizing game nights, you can attract diverse groups and expand your clientele.
When it comes to daily group management in bars, there are certain observations and strategies for improvement. Let's explore them in detail.
Observation: The demand for group bookings and private events in bars is undeniably high.
In France alone, thousands, if not millions, of requests are made each day for various occasions such as birthdays, farewell parties, after-work gatherings, corporate events, and even weddings.
Bars are increasingly gaining prominence in the events industry due to their meticulously crafted concepts and convivial ambiance.
Group activities not only guarantee a minimum revenue but also offer additional advantages. Since groups typically pre-order services and may even provide a deposit, you can anticipate more predictable cash flow, plan inventory management in advance, efficiently schedule your staff, and ensure a smoother operation.
Group activities have the potential to contribute significantly, sometimes up to 50%, to your bar's overall revenue.
However, hosting groups and organizing private events necessitates careful planning and should not be approached haphazardly. This is where bars often display signs of weakness. Nevertheless, continuous improvement is possible, and I will outline strategies to achieve just that.
How to attract inquiries?
To effectively capture group inquiries, it is imperative to have an enticing and informative website. Ensure that your website prominently features a section dedicated to group bookings and events, enabling potential customers to become aware of the possibilities.
In this section:
Describe your venue spaces, accompanied by professionally taken photos that showcase both empty and occupied areas.
Highlight the available equipment and clarify whether dancing is permitted.
Emphasize the range of group packages you offer.
Additionally, consider displaying a notice within your establishment to inform patrons about the option of hosting their events at your bar. Including a QR code that directs interested individuals to a reservation form, if available, can facilitate the booking process.
Furthermore, extend the visibility of your group activities by leveraging social media platforms, Google My Business, and other relevant channels.
What essential steps should be implemented?
Step 1: Create compelling offerings To establish a sustainable group activity, it is crucial to develop comprehensive package options with clear pricing per person. This strategic approach will not only save time but also allow you to calculate profitability margins and offer enhanced convenience.
Consider implementing three distinct package options, such as:
Beverage and appetizer package (cocktail format)
Beverage and full-course meal package
If your establishment does not offer food services, consider forming partnerships with reliable catering services, bakeries, pizzerias, or food trucks. Select partners who are punctual with deliveries, provide quality food (as customer satisfaction is paramount), and offer easily manageable options for guests to enjoy while standing.
Step 2: Establish clear guidelines To instill confidence in customers regarding your professionalism and ensure that group activities do not become financial or operational burdens, it is essential to set clear guidelines (similar to those in place for individual customers).
Establish a minimum consumption requirement for each customer, or make choosing a package mandatory to ensure profitability.
Request an online deposit or credit card guarantee to secure the group's reservation and minimize no-shows.
Send a detailed confirmation email to the customer, including an agreement or, if applicable, a quotation to be signed.
Conduct a briefing session for your operational teams, ensuring they are aware of the confirmed arrangements with the customer to ensure a smooth event.
Step 3: Prioritize customer follow-up Effective customer follow-up is your secret weapon for converting inquiries into confirmed reservations.
Consider implementing the following steps to become the favored bar for your customers:
Respond to new inquiries within 12 hours of receiving them (the sooner, the better).
After sending an email with your proposal, follow up with the customer a few days later to confirm receipt, address any questions they may have, and encourage confirmation.
Send a reminder email a few days before the event to ensure the customer has all the necessary details.
After the event, send a satisfaction email to boost your Google Maps rating, gather feedback, and make incremental improvements.
Impact on staff:
Disorganized group activities can have a detrimental impact on your team's well-being, leading to exhaustion and potential staff turnover.
Conversely, when equipped with the right processes and tools, your team will feel empowered, valued (acknowledging their efforts with suitable tools), and in control.
Efficient internal communication facilitated by appropriate tools guarantees seamless service without any hiccups. Satisfied customers, proud employees, and peaceful nights for all are the positive outcomes.
Considering the persistent staff shortages, what challenges do bar owners face in managing groups?
Providing efficient and prompt responses to inquiries with a dedicated staff member: Inquiries that generate revenue deserve a professional approach.
Generating timely proposals or quotes for group inquiries.
Managing reservations and ensuring flawless execution on the day of the event.
Sending reminders a few days before to prevent no-shows: Implementing a deposit requirement to mitigate this issue and educating your staff about the process.
Establishing effective organizational systems to accommodate groups; processes must be clear to both customers and staff. Demonstrating professionalism to customers by providing guidelines (job descriptions!) is essential.
Fostering customer loyalty.
Increasing sales, but how? Saving time on customer relations, creating a dedicated menu, and following up with customers through phone calls.
By implementing the valuable advice provided above, you now have an effective action plan for accommodating and catering to groups in your establishment.
You can measure the time savings and financial benefits resulting from managing this target audience differently.
To optimize on-site operations, ensure effective promotion of your menu, offering options such as tablets or QR codes for group ordering. This will streamline service and enable your staff to provide personalized recommendations to customers.
Creating a convivial atmosphere, encouraging longer stays by groups, and boosting additional sales are key to soaring food and beverage revenues.
Furthermore, consider sharing a link to your Click & Collect service before the group's arrival. This provides an additional channel for advanced revenue visibility, streamlining purchases, and staff organization.