Running a bar means a lot of things in a traditional sense – great service, knowing your customer base, staying up to date on what drinks to serve and making sure your food strikes the right balance between pub and upscale. These days, there is also the digital side of your operation that you have to be on top of – Apple pay, leveraging social media and digital menus to name a few.
And your prime customers, Millennials (the generation born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s), are looking to spend their money at sites that embrace their love of this fast-changing environment. So you better keep up because they’re going to be around for a while. And if your place is cash-only with a website last updated in 1995, it won’t be on their radar for long. Let’s look at some ways to stay in front of this audience.
Digital Drink Boards
Nothing against chalkboards, particularly those with an artistic flair. But it’s not easy to keep the beer list up to date when you’re slammed on a Saturday night. Printed drinks menus are another solid option but once again, if you kick a keg at 8 PM, chances are that menu won’t be updated by 8:01. And for a customer that’s just spent 10 minutes pursuing one of these menu options, learning that their choice is no longer available is frustrating. With digital drink boards, you can update on the fly with a few taps of an app or a mouse click. So, save some time and use those chalkboards for an eye-popping mural by a local artist.
Tablet Based Ordering
It’s fairly typical for a group of friends to hand over a stack of credit cards at the end of the night and ask for the tab to be split evenly amongst them. While this isn’t impossible for your staff to handle, it’s a whole lot easier when they can do it right at the table, using a tablet based POS system like this one from Breadcrumb. Along with simplifying split checks, it has features like “Swipe to Name” that make it easy to name a tab and then remember whose is whose as the night goes on. Not to mention having the entire menu at your servers’ fingertips. All things that your on-the-move millennials will appreciate.
Was there a time when every human wasn’t glued to a phone screen? It doesn’t seem like it but it also doesn’t much matter. These days, it’s likely that close to 90% of your bar customers are using their smartphone in some capacity during their visit. How can you compete for their attention in this environment? You could create a promotion around having these folks check-in to you bar on sites like Foursquare. Offer a prize to a randomly selected check-in every hour. It’ll create buzz inside your bar and outside of it, to tech-savvy millennials who look to peer recommendations when making decisions on where to spend their money.
Social media is another obvious topic in this conversation and a simple way to capitalize on networks like Facebook and Twitter is to use TapHunter. When you update your beer list in TapHunter, you can have posts pushed to these platforms notifying those coveted millennials of what’s new on tap. Additionally, the software can automatically update your digital drink boards so you can stop horsing around with an eraser and bucket of chalk. Hmmhaha.