4 Ways the Bar & Grill Can Recover


By Doug Radkey | 07/24/2017

Over the past couple of years, we have collectively seen the ‘bar & grill’ segment on a continuous decline. Nearly every market across Canada and the US is over-saturated with the traditional bar & grill concept and most have become complacent in their own operations; offering similar menus and guest experiences while not adapting to industry changes.

Furthermore, this segment has been losing to fast casuals and specialty eateries (plus food halls); ones that specifically target millennials. The bar & grill however, has an opportunity to regain customer share in this cut-throat industry. When targeting millennials, it’s imperative to plan around the fact that this group will pay more to go to a venue that offers premium food, high-quality beer & cocktails, and that cater to social engagements.

Here are 4 quick ways that the traditional bar & grill can win back customers, starting today!

Innovation | Burgers, wings, nachos, and beer can no longer be the norm to ‘attract’ guests to a bar & grill. Concepts that are driving innovation within both the kitchen and the bar, are the ones currently leading this segment. Fresh ingredients, hand-crafted drinks, cocktail pairings, unique plating, and innovative (or at least) new takes on traditional bar fare, need to be considered during your next engineered menu.

Trend Management | Trends come and go, but bar owners must adapt to local market changes and demands. This is not only in food & beverage offerings, but overall guest experiences. What trends are driving guest energy, guest spending, and guest duration? Find it and simply adapt it to your concept!

Back-Bar Strategies | When is the last time you took a careful look behind your bar? Realizing the necessary return on your alcohol investment is also partially a question of cost control. Create a niche in your bar by re-focusing and minimizing the beverage menu offerings to develop a fun, social, and targeted drink menu your guests will want; ultimately reducing the dust on your bottles.

Take-Out | This segment most definitely survives off of alcohol consumption, but many bar owners have been left behind and have not adapted to the off-premise dining option that many demographics are now seeking, leading to a loss in revenue opportunity. With the right menu mix, promotion, and even online ordering methods, a bar & grill can attract and take part in this revenue generating platform without necessarily reducing overall on-premise revenue.

The new adage ‘innovate or die trying’ is evident in today’s bar & grill. What will you do to stand out?


Doug Radkey


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