10 Customer Service Tips for Bar Owners – Part 1

attract young bar owner preparing drinks as part of good customer service

10 Customer Service Tips for Bar Owners, Part 1

Your bar business depends on offering an excellent customer experience.  Customer service plays a huge part in this.  When you make customers feel welcome and provide an experience that is worth their time and money, they’ll come back.  Signal Connect wants to help, so we reached out to bar industry professionals.  We asked them what things they do that customers appreciate most.  The response we got was overwhelming, and we’re happy to share these tips to improve your bar service. 

Here are the top 10 customer service tips and tricks you can do to improve the customer experience at your bar:   

  1. Customer Service Experience: Good customer service starts with personal contact the moment someone walks through your doors. You or a member of your staff should always greet each customer with welcoming words. It’s also good to ask them how they enjoyed their experience when they’re paying their bill and getting ready to leave.  Don’t forget to offer great customer service to them at every point in between, as well!
  1. Maintain the Wow! Factor: Your bar can get boring if you’re not doing anything to upgrade it. Yes, that might be a bit harsh, but it’s true. This is why most if not all successful bar owners are always doing things to change up and improve their bar.  It could be something as simple as having an exciting bartender (See point X), to improving décor, adding video games/pool tables/etc., and so much more. Here another example: if a group of new customers comes in for the first time, buy them a round of drinks.  Anything that ups the fun and excitement helps create the Wow Factor at your bar.
  1. Entertaining Bartenders: Do you remember the movie Cocktail from 1988. It starred Tom Cruise as a bartender who specialized in performing flashy tricks behind the bar. His character did everything from tossing and catching bottles to setting drinks on fire to wow his customers.  Your bartender can incorporate some of these theatrics into his/her routine.  Customers love this stuff and when done right, it gets people talking about your business… and coming back with their friends.  It’s all about creating that fun, entertaining customer experience!
  1. Show Off “Bar Stars:” Some popular bars are all about seeing and being seen. Studio 54 was famous for having this quality. You can recreate some of that magic by making your customers feel like celebrities.  One way to do this is have someone on your staff take digital pictures of guests having a great time.  You can showcase these pics in a special section on your website and share on social media.  This taps into people’s psychological desire to feel famous, special, and unique.  It also makes other people want to come to your business and become a bar star, themselves.    
  1. Get an ATM/Cash Machines: If you don’t have an ATM/cash machine in your bar, you’re missing out on additional revenue. Even though it seems like “nobody carries cash these days,” that’s not true. There are many people who still pay for things with actual money.  Some of them prefer to use cash at bars and pubs.  A cash machine inside your business becomes the ultimate convenience for them.  It also makes it easier for customers to play Keno and other lottery and computer games you might have.
  1. Staff Recommendations: Does each member of your staff have a favorite beer, wine, and/or cocktail? If they recommend these products to customers, sales of each of them are likely to go up. You’ll also have more guests who are happy to have tried and liked something they might not have tasted before.  Just remember, sales increases don’t come simply because your staff says, “I like this.”  Your team has must learn a variety of things about the drinks they endorse in case customers ask questions.

Here are some things that your bartenders and wait staff must learn about the drinks they recommend: 

– Where the product is made (some customers like domestics while others like imports and microbrews)

– What ingredients create its unique taste/appeal

– The product’s flavor profile

– Unique ways to enjoy the drink, such as putting a slice of orange in a wheat beer

  1. Involve Your Customers: Do you often get free samples of new drinks and other products from your reps? If you do, let some of your regular customers try them. They might try something that will become their next “favorite drink.”  It also makes a great impression upon your regulars that you value their opinion that much.  This helps increase their loyalty to your bar.  They might even feel some ownership to your decision to bring on a new product because they like it.  This is the kind of thing that people tell their friends about, which you should want.
  1. Never Turn Your Back on Customers: Does your bar staff have their backs facing towards customers at the bar? Unless they’re changing a tap or reaching for a top shelf liquor, you and your team should never turn your backs on your customers. You might not mean anything by it, but your customers could take it as a huge disrespect to them.  This is so important, other bar owners have actually made no-backs-to-customers policies in their establishments.  Maybe you should, too.
  1. Correct Negative Online Reviews: Some bar owners think a negative review is the end of the world. Smart bar owners see this as a chance to win a customer back. Think about it.  Someone took the time to review your bar on Yelp! or a similar service rather than saying, “I’ll never go there again.”  Reach out to these folks and do what you can to win them back.  In most cases, they just want their feelings validated.  Offer them something for free to get them to come back, then wow them with great customer service.  Chances are good that they’ll edit or remove that bad review.
  1. Spy on the Competition: Is there another bar in town that pulls huge crowds weekend after weekend? If so, you’ve probably wondered what they’re doing to be so successful. The best way to find out is to send your staff to these venues.  Ask them to take note of every aspect of the experience, and have them write an analysis of the customer service methods and standards they see there.  If another bar’s staff has a better way of serving customers, train your people to do those things even better than the competition.

Bonus Tip: DIRECTV for Your Bar:

Yes, satellite TV is a great way to improve the customer experience at your bar. How? It lets your guests enjoy their favorite programming while they’re at your business. This encourages customers to stay longer and order more food and drinks.  This means which means more revenue for you.  (We like to call this “beer math.”)  They’ll appreciate it if you have one of DIRECTV’s professional baseball, basketball, football, or hockey packages.  It lets them see the most of their team’s in- and out-of-market games.  Remember point No. 2, where we told you to create and maintain your bar’s “wow factor?”  DIRECTV is a great way to do this!

Get DIRECTV from Signal Connect

When it comes to DIRECTV for bars and restaurants, we’re the experts.  Signal Connect reps has deliver commercial DIRECTV accounts to hundreds of bar owners.  They can help you, too. If you want DIRECTV in your bar, our customer support reps walk you through each step. We also offer free customer support after the sale.)  If you have any questions about DIRECTV, satellite  equipment, and commercial DIRECTV accounts, call 866-726-4182.


If you liked the advice we offered in this post, check out the companion piece that provides 10 more customer service tips for bar owners.