Here’s What the CIA Knows about Bars

 Out of ideas about what you should be doing next in your bar? Has your bar had great sales in the past, but recently been facing a sales drop-off? No matter if you have a neighborhood bar or the hottest new nightclub, the best place to look for sales-boosting tips is the CIA.

Yeah, you read that right.

The CIA knows all about dealing with hostile opposition, and when you modify their tactics, you’ll be ready to take down your enemy in Operation Steal Back Customers. Ready for your mission to start? I hope so, because now it’s time for you to roll up your sleeves and spy on your competition. Here’s how.

Go Behind Enemy Lines

You’ll never know anything about your competition unless you go and meet them face to face. However, if you meet the other bar owner in a formal manner, you’ll never learn anything useful. You need to spy. As a bar owner, the best way for you to spy effectively is to disguise yourself and step into the enemy’s territory.

Disguise yourself by wearing something waaay different than what you usually wear. Are you known for wearing a tux? (Go you, ‘cause that’s awesome and I want to go to your bar.) Change your look entirely by switching to some flannels and baggy, ripped jeans. No one will recognize you.  If you want to wear a wig or a fake mustache, or those nifty Groucho-Marx-ish nose / glasses things, that’s your call.

Once you’re at your competitor’s bar, take a look around. See what they’ve done with the place. Is it cooler than your bar? Be honest.

Engage with the Enemy

Once you’ve scoped out the enemy territory, you need to actually draw the enemy out. You’ll want to spy on your competition’s servers and the manager, so I hope you really worked on your disguise. The best way to deal with both of your targets is to bring in a coupon.

Specifically, bring an expired coupon.

And insist that it be honored.

This is guaranteed to give you insight into the mind of your enemy. If you can understand how your enemy thinks, you can conquer him. When you experience how the competition deals with troublesome customers, you can compare their tactics to your own, and see who has the better technique. Again, be honest with yourself. Spies may lie to everyone around them, but they must always be true to themselves.

Act as a Double Agent

Of course, the best spies understand that the only true way to gain the enemy’s trust is to pretend that the enemy is right. In the bar world, you clearly can’t actually become a regular customer because that looks really sketchy. What you can do is you can join their customer loyalty program.

When you join their loyalty program, you can see what they’re up to and then strategize about how you can counteract their advances. Once you get your first email from them, assess the layout. Look at their calls to action. Check out their content. Is it better than yours? (Do I have to remind you to be honest?)

After you have performed your acts of espionage, you’ll need to keep acting like the CIA. They don’t immediately run back to the States and start attacking their enemy full force from home, because if they did that, the game would be up. Like the highly trained spy that you are (go with me on this one), you need to act with stealth and cunning. Don’t change anything in your own bar immediately, just keep doing what you’ve always been doing. Your acts have won you customers for a long time, so don’t destroy your entire bar with some friendly fire. Instead, take what you’ve learned through your reconnaissance about your competition’s customer service and sales techniques… and then do those things better than them.

That is your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Photo licensed by Anonymous9000