It's time to answer the question of how to make a bar profitable, especially with post-pandemic bar profits. It's really all about understanding your specific bar profits. Sure, there are general things like:
- Understanding the liquor cost calculator
- Understanding when to waste alcohol and when to be very careful with pours in your alcohol and wine sales
- Knowing the basics of how much you’re bringing in versus how much you’re spending-including the bar manager salary-the basics of how much bars make
However, there’s so much more to it. A lot of what will make your bar profitable is all about what your bar is serving. It's also quite a bit about the qualities that only your business has. This is especially true when it comes to post-pandemic profits.
Only you can know what your bar went through in the pandemic. That means, only you will know what will help you boost bar profits as we come out of the pandemic. From revamping your bartender job description (and looking for those skills on bartender cover letter options you receive) to creating a new aesthetic for your bar, it's time to learn what you should be doing for your bar profits.
There’s no denying that the pandemic has taken a toll on economics across the world, the US, and the bar and restaurant industry. The economy has been through a lot with:
- Job losses
- The general need to stay inside
- People needing to save money as much as possible
We've had the stimulus help from the government, and the slow reopening of the world and the US that is currently ramping up. However, the effects of the pandemic on the economy are still a part of the bar and the restaurant industry.
Pandemic Economic Impact
The pandemic economic impact on bar profits and the average gross profit margin in any given state is based on a few key factors. Those factors are:
- The shutdowns from early in the pandemic
- Employee shortages
- The lack of people coming out to bars and restaurants for a good chunk of the pandemic, even when places were open
As the reopening ramps up, some of these issues are slowly turning back around. However, we’re not out of the weeds yet. There are plenty of things bars can do to bolster their post-pandemic bar profits even in these still uncertain times.
How to Make a Bar Profitable: 10 Best Bar Promotions Post-Pandemic
If you’re a bar business owner, it’ll be helpful to have some tangible steps you can take to boost bar profits. This will help you come back stronger than ever. Studies show that 2022 is due to be a great year for bars and restaurants. It’s easy to see why: people want to get out and about and enjoy some in-person time with friends and family.
When you’re making plans for your bar this year, you should focus on these people who haven’t been out much. There’s a lot you can do to boost your bar profit margin this year.
These top 10 ideas are a good place to start.
- Expand Types of Menu Offers
A good place to start is a promotion to boost bar profits that can suit any bar. Expanding the types of menu varieties you can offer will bring in a variety of patrons. It will also give your bar an extra something special every time you feature a new type of menu. You can work this promotion however it suits your bar. That could mean a new menu each week, or something special just for happy hour.
- Throwback to The Roaring 20s
This promo has seen its fair share of fame through the years. That said, there’s truly no better time than now to lean into the themes of the Roaring 20s. 2020 and onward have been a rough time for everyone. Doing some themed promos that embody the 1920s will give people something to look forward to in these 20s. The profitability of a bar is directly related to how much people enjoy coming to that bar. Giving people something amazing to look forward to is guaranteed to give you returns on bar profits.
- Home Comforts Cocktails
If there’s one thing people really need after the last few years, it’s a nice drink in a place that marks them feel relaxed. You can achieve that by expanding your cocktail drinks menu. You should include some home comforts cocktails that will make people feel cozy with a drink in hand. Some cocktails every bartender should know for this list are variations of mojitos, daiquiris, and warmer drinks like hot toddies. Yes, there’s some variety there, but all these drinks are comforting to sip on.
- Game Nights
Of course, you can never go wrong with a game night in your bar. Boosting bar profits is generally as easy as making sure people are having a good time. For people who have been cooped up, a night that gets you out playing games is absolutely a good time. You can choose from:
- Board games
- Group video games
Whatever you choose, hosting a game night, perhaps with a 2-for-1 drink discount thrown in, is always a great promo idea.
- Neighborhood Pub Crawls
People have been disconnected from friends and family through the pandemic. But it's not just people, small businesses and their relationships to each other have also been through a lot. It's a great idea to get back together with bars and pubs in your area. You can make it a great night with drinks and bar profits flowing by organizing a neighborhood pub crawl. There’s never a bad time for a pub crawl. That said, right now, when we could all use an adventure to enjoy together, is the best possible time.
- Dog Park Days
The pandemic led to a lot of people getting dogs to keep them company and give them a great reason to get outside. All these dog owners are still getting outside, getting to the dog park with their pets. There are plenty of ways you can tap into this market of dog owners and their furry friends. You can:
- Host a dog park promo
- Use outdoor seating or patio space for patrons with dogs
- Offer discounts on drinks and snacks
- Have treats and water bowls ready for the pups
This is a great promo for bringing in crowds, and getting some puppy love for yourself.
- Make-Your-Own Drinks Night
These last few years, a lot of people have become makeshift home bartenders as they experimented with their own bartending skills in the kitchen. To bring in these customers, and give them a chance to show off their skills with your ingredients, host a make-your-own drinks night. You can check out your beverage inventory, garnish supplies, and alcohol pricing to see what ingredients you want to supply for these patron-made popular cocktails.
- Share On Socials, Win In The Bar
Everyone has spent a lot of time the last few years on varying social media platforms. Let’s be honest, the Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat phenomenon isn’t going away anytime soon. You can tie the social media world into your bar promos by doing a photo or video contest on a platform. You can provide incentive by giving a discount to the winners. You’ll get some free promotion on social media. Not to mention, you’ll bring in crowds of people who want to see more of your bar than they’ve seen on social media.
- Friends and Family Deals
Friends and family discounts have been around for as long as stores, bars, and restaurants have existed. What’s new, however, is a friends and family deal. With people gathering in public, now’s the perfect time to offer a group deal for people who visit your bar with a group. You won’t get direct higher profits from these deals. However, overall, you’ll be marketing yourself as a safe, fun space to meet up with loved ones. That’s the most important factor in a post-pandemic bar profits boosting plan.
- Pandemic Trivia Nights
And, while we already covered game nights on this list, there's a specific game that stands alone as a great bar promo. That game is pandemic related trivia. We’ve all been living through a terrible time these last few years. The best way to get through it together is to talk about it, and laugh about it as much as we can. Hosting a trivia night, with questions covering all manner of pandemic topics, will give people a place to let off some steam. And they'll enjoy a few drinks while they do. Trivia nights are always a great way to boost bar profits. Right now, some pandemic jokes we can enjoy together will make for some great trivia nights.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Make a Bar Profitable
How Profitable Is a Bar?
As with any business, the profitability of a bar depends on several factors, including the size of the establishment, the location, the customer base, and many other variables. That said, bars can be quite profitable, especially if they are well-run and located in prime real estate.
Do Bar Owners Make Good Money?
Yes, bar owners can make good money. However, it is essential to remember that many factors affect how much profit a successful bar owner makes. For example, the cost of goods sold, the bar's location, the type of bar, the number of customers, drink prices, and menu prices all influence how much money a bar owner can make.
Another factor to consider is the total cost of running a bar. This includes the labor cost, food cost, startup costs, and other operating costs. If bar operators can keep their costs low, they can increase their profits.
How Much Profit Does a Bar Make Per Drink?
The average pour cost for most bars is 18-24%. This means that for every $100 worth of drinks sold, the bar will keep $18-$24 as profit. So, if a drink costs $10, the bar would make a $2.4 profit.
Of course, this is just an average and some bars may have higher or lower pour costs. But 18-24% is a good rule of thumb to go by when estimating your bar's profits.
Post-Pandemic Bar Profits: In Conclusion
Pandemic economics may have taken a toll on your bar. Regarding post-pandemic bar profits, the best thing to do is create a space where people can have some fun. This will make them much less likely to dine and dash.
It's time to take a look at your bar management, marketing strategies, and bar inventory management. With some work and great promos, you can turn your profits around and make 2022 a great year for your bar profits, even with the high cost to open a bar. Starting a bar, and learning how to get a liquor license, was plenty of work, but the real work comes in now, when you've got to keep a keen eye on profits.