Successful bar managers need a good understanding of all aspects of bar management, including knowledge about equipment and products, how to drive sales and productivity, hiring the right employees, and insights into the latest and greatest trends.
A valuable resource that can provide you with innovative ways to streamline your business are books on management and bar operation. And you know what they say – great leaders are readers. Check out this selection of bar management books and take your bar to the next level.
Table of Contents
- 1. Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions
- 2. Running A Bar For Dummies
- 3. Straight Up: Real World Secrets to Running a Killer Bar
- 4. Trendy Bar & Nightclub Business Startup: How to Start, Run and Grow a Successful Bar & Tavern Business
- 5. The 21 Laws of Owning and Running a Bar
- 6. The Little Black Bar Book: A Comprehensive Guide To Starting, Owning And Operating Your Own Bar Or Nightclub
- 7. The Bar Manager’s Guide To Controlling Costs: How To Eliminate Theft And Waste
- 8. The Bar Shift: 41 Short Management Lessons You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way!
- 9. Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The no bulls#it guide to improving guest counts
- To Conclude…
1. Raise the Bar: An Action-Based Method for Maximum Customer Reactions
by Jon Taffer
Jon Taffer is an American entrepreneur who had his first job in bar management in West Hollywood at The Troubadour night club. “Raise the Bar” is a great overview on what makes a successful bar. It provides an in depth look at what makes a bar a great establishment by analyzing and evaluating how you hire staff, why both interior and exterior design matter, and how to improve your marketing strategies.
Some of the important take-aways from Taffer’s book include:
- Build positive customer reactions – how customers react to your bar is critical no matter what else you do in your business. It’s these reactions and positive experiences that are going to keep customers coming back.
- Price beverages and food for maximum profit.
- Do market research on demographics in your area – take the time to understand the types of customers in your neighborhood.
2. Running A Bar For Dummies
by Ray Foley and Heather Dismore
This is the 2nd edition of this popular book, giving owners and managers all the information they need to run and maintain a successful bar. Ray Foley is an author and publisher, as well as the editor of “BARTENDER” magazine. As a consultant to many of the leading importers and distillers in the country, Foley has a lot to say about the liquor industry in North America. In this book on bar management, Foley gives you a hands-on guide to running your own establishment all the way from the business side of operations to choosing the right equipment.
Highlights from “Running A Bar For Dummies” include:
- How to create a successful menu.
- Choosing the right theme and décor.
- How to control your expenses and manage your inventory.
- Pitfalls and how to avoid them.
- The importance of controlling cash flow.
3. Straight Up: Real World Secrets to Running a Killer Bar
by Ramona Pettygrave Shah
Targeted for bar managers, this book is full of practical and useful information using real-world tips and suggestions. Whether you’re running a small neighborhood bar, or a glitzy cocktail bar in the downtown district, “Straight Up” is going to give you some solid advice on how to take your bar to the next level. Fast-paced and easy to read, the book is a part how-to guide and part memoir. You’ll learn about the importance of being organized and how to keep cool and lead by example on those nights when customers are putting you through the paces.
Here are the top tips from “Straight Up”:
- Build a strong and cohesive team of employees – your staff is your biggest and best asset.
- Learn how to be proactive when it comes to addressing problems and issues in the workplace.
- Develop a concept and create a great menu around that concept.
- Enjoy the process of cocktail creation – creativity is what customers are looking for in their favorite bar.
4. Trendy Bar & Nightclub Business Startup: How to Start, Run and Grow a Successful Bar & Tavern Business
by Michael Sanders
If you’re looking for a concise book on “how to” run a successful bar, you’ll want to read this book by entrepreneur Michael Sanders. He has an easy-going style of writing that explains all the various operations that go into running a bar. The chapters on inventory and alcohol sales will give you a new understanding of what it takes to run a successful and profitable establishment. Sanders also goes into some detail about the breakdown of margins and potential profits, using examples that you’ll be able to relate to.
Here’s what you’ll learn when you read the “Trendy Bar & Nightclub Business Startup”:
- How to price drinks for profitability.
- The importance of knowing the market and who your customers are.
- How to best promote and market your business.
- How to implement other creative ways to generate revenue and gain more customers.
5. The 21 Laws of Owning and Running a Bar
by Dave Allred
As the CEO of Bar Patrol, an app for bar inventory, Dave Allred has a lot of knowledge about what it takes to make a bar a success. His book “The 21 Laws of Owning and Running a Bar: The Irrefutable Laws That the Most Successful Owners Use to Drive Traffic, Inspire Their Staff, Cut Costs and Skyrocket Their Profits”, covers a lot of ground. Allred provides valuable insight into great customer service and the importance of focusing on social media to stay connected to your current customers and drive new business to your bar.
Other topics covered in “The 21 Laws of Owning and Running a Bar” include:
- Why you need to have policies and systems in place.
- Making the most of your POS system.
- The importance of hiring the right employees.
6. The Little Black Bar Book: A Comprehensive Guide To Starting, Owning And Operating Your Own Bar Or Nightclub
by Chris Lenahan
The author of this book, Chris Lenahan, is a hospitality expert who has owned and operated several successful bars, such as the Library Bar and Grill in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His knowledge and experience are extensive, and he shares this information in “The Little Black Bar Book”. The book is filled with personal stories and proven techniques for making your bar a great success in a competitive industry.
Top highlights from Lenahan’s book include:
- Why you need to know demographics and who your customers are.
- Why bar design matters, including concept design, seating, and lighting.
- Basic bar items and equipment you need to have.
- The importance of focusing on your brand marketing and having a marketing plan.
7. The Bar Manager’s Guide To Controlling Costs: How To Eliminate Theft And Waste
by Thomas Morrell
The hospitality industry is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. And when you’re managing a bar one of the biggest challenges and concerns you face is theft and waste. Thomas Morrell has written a book that addresses both these issues in great detail. Morrell shares his own experiences in bar management and goes through his strategies and techniques for preventing theft and controlling waste. This is a practical guide that any bar owner or manager can use to review their own theft and waste policies…and determine what they can do to better deal with these problems.
These are some of the important points from Morrell’s book:
- Understanding costs and expenses in your own bar.
- Policies to implement to control and reduce waste.
- Strategies to detect and prevent employee theft.
8. The Bar Shift: 41 Short Management Lessons You Don’t Have to Learn the Hard Way!
by Dave Nitzel and David Domzalski
Packed with 41 tips for bar management, authors Nitzel and Domzalski have compiled concepts and ideas that make you a better and great manager. You’ll learn how to face all the challenges of running a bar head on, making the right decisions about issues that affect both your customers and employees. From dealing with difficult customers to tips on leadership, “The Bar Shift” is easy to read, with short sections you can digest when you have a few free minutes in your busy day.
Main tips and lessons from “The Bar Shift” include:
- How to hire the right bartenders.
- Managing your social media accounts.
- Dealing with bar cost factors.
- Why keeping track of every ounce poured matters.
9. Restaurant & Bar Marketing: The no bulls#it guide to improving guest counts
by Erik Shellenberger
As a bar manager, you know you can’t overlook the importance of marketing and branding your business. Erik Shellenberger wastes no time in getting to the point that content marketing is just as effective if not more so than marketing on social media platforms. He shares helpful tips on what you can do to get more customers through the door and what marketing tools have the most value to the hospitality industry.
There are many other useful tips in Shellenberger’s book, such as:
- How Google, Tripadvisor, and Yelp encourage customer engagement.
- Why positive customer reviews are so important.
- How to make new technology and social media work for you.
Running a bar means you don’t have a lot of free time. The next time you have a few minutes, pick up one of the books listed here on bar management. The advice you get will more than compensate for your time in the form of sales, customer satisfaction and peace of mind.
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