Is your bar among the many that don’t serve food? Perhaps cooking isn’t your thing, perhaps your building needs some work, or perhaps you just don’t want to deal with the headache that comes with serving food. No matter your reasoning, do you sometimes have the nagging feeling that you’re missing out on profits? Does that feeling usually come at dinner time? Here are three creative ideas you can use to increase your profits—without increasing your workload.
1. Food trucks
Food trucks are a nifty way to add great eats to your bar, while increasing your marketing impact. Because food trucks also need to market their whereabouts, your bar and your chosen mobile food vendor will share a great joint marketing opportunity, and the pairing should be profitable for you both. Plus, if you have different food trucks on different days, you bar will encourage customers to visit multiple times per week, just so they can try something new.
2. Food stands
Like food trucks, food stands are also a great way to increase your marketing reach and mix up your menu—but the benefit that stands offer is that your guests will have a variety of dishes to choose from before they head back to your bar to sit at a table and order a pint.
3. Packaged food
If you’re leery about inviting competitors onto your premises, or you feel that managing food trucks or stands would be a hassle, you can always choose the super-easy route and contract out your cooking to a package catering company. These companies will make food for you at their own location, and then deliver the packaged food to your bar each day. This provides your guests with a quick and easy bite they can add to their order, and all you need to do is buy or repurpose a display cooler.
Of course, always check with your zoning laws and city codes before jumping into a sales agreement with a food vendor. The unfortunate owner of Temperance Beer Company, a microbrewery in Evanston, Illinois, had negotiated with a food truck to supply his customers with tasty meals, and he even built a new patio to accommodate and encourage the food truck business. The wood-stain smell hadn’t even worn off the patio by the time the city of Evanston decided to ban many of the food trucks within the city limits.
Even though Evanston’s ordinance was unexpected and surprised everyone involved, you can hedge your food-serving bets by trying to keep up with the local news and proposed laws and ordinances that affect your business. No matter what, you should always be prepared with a Plan B. Temperance’s Plan B was to encourage customers to bring their own food, or to order delivery.
What creative ways have you brought food into your bar? Have you tried any of these? Seen anyone else do something different? I want to hear all about it.
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