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Top 5 Design Tips and Advice for Bar and Nightclub Owners

How do you increase bar profits? Today we'll discuss the top brands of equipment and how liquor inventory services and systems can turn losses into profits. 

Owning and operating a successful nightclub or bar presents many challenges. From keeping up with the latest and most popular brands, to keeping customers happy, to maintaining honesty among the staff, the challenge is formidable. Also bear in mind that the owner really doesn’t want to turn a blind eye to over-serving the clientele. This edition of Design Buzz will assist bar and nightclub owners with the top brands of bar equipment, why money is lost and how to increase bar profits. 

What Are the Most Popular Brands of Bar Equipment?

Here’s a list of the most popular names in bar equipment:

  • Glastender (@GlastenderCM): underbar stainless, underbar and back bar coolers, glass washers, modular bar die, slide top coolers, mug frosters, cocktail stations, beer dispensing systems, bottle disintegration systems.

  • Perlick (@Perlick): the product line is similar to that of Glastender.

  • Krowne Metal (@KrowneMetal): the product line is similar to that of Glastender.

  • True Manufacturing (@TrueCoolers): underbar and back bar coolers.

  • Easybar (@EasybarBeverage): beverage dispensing systems and liquor control systems.

  • Moyer Diebel: the king of commercial glass washers, especially in the battleground environment known as Las Vegas nightclubs.

  • Chill-Rite Mfg. (@chillrite32): a great line beer dispensing systems, frost rails and innovative liquor dispensing equipment; their ‘Millennium’ system delivers a continuous stream of 32° beer; their ‘Shock-A-Vodka’ system dispenses liquor at 5°

What Is the Best Bar Equipment for Nightclubs and Bars?

If I had to rate one company as the best, across-the-board, Glastender is my recommendation. To set the record straight,LED Bar With Glastender Backbar Coolers Perlick builds very good equipment; you can’t go wrong with it. Perlick basically started the industry, going back to 1917. Krowne Metal is good equipment and they have become a player, but they are simply not in the upper-tier. True Manufacturing is the lowest price and highest volume of all the aforementioned, and bear in mind that they don’t have a complete product line. Glastender was founded in 1969 by Jon Hall. According to Tom Zaun of Easybar-Central, “Jon Hall has been the single-most influential personality and guiding force of the bar equipment industry. He has led the industry through innovative, aesthetic and practical design, the likes of which will probably never be duplicated.” Hall invented, among other things, the rotary glass washer and the modular bar die. All the other companies were forced to make innovative changes just to keep-up. As Zaun went on to say, “Replacing bar equipment is not a simple task, because it is all bolted together; Glastender implemented durability into its design so premature removal would no longer be necessary. Further, Glastender equipment has strong resale value.” I deal with Glastender frequently and I can tell you these people will bend over backwards to help you. The back bar coolers shown in the photo above, right are Glastender model BB60-L1-XNH and BB60-R1-XNH, which can be downloaded below.


pdfGlastender Backbar Cooler Cut Sheet

What is the Top Reason Bar Owners Lose Money?

If you have a close personal relationship with your money, listen-up! Let me begin by asking you a question: if you sold 12 oz.BevInco Liquor Inventory Service steaks in your club or bar, why would you feel compelled to give a customer a 16 oz. steak? If you are a club or bar owner who is in the cultural mindset of giving free drinks away and justifies it by saying, ‘I don’t want my customers complaining,’ then I say you are in the WRONG business! The culture you create with this philosophy is that you are entitling your customers AND your bartenders! These are known as ‘silent partners.’ Believe me, when your bartenders are hip to this, they will apply it liberally – and pad the tip jar in the process. In other words, Mr./Ms. club owner, with this culture you become the LOSER. What I’m going to tell you next will blow your mind. Everyone reading this post, I’m certain, understands what a one-ounce shot glass looks like. It has a white line, which is called the ‘pour line.’ The thickness of the pour line is equivalent to 1/8 of an ounce. A standard shot is poured to the bottom of the pour line – not the top. If you consistently fill the shot glass to the top of the pour line (or beyond), you could be losing $48,484 or more per year[1]! In other words, you are giving away at least $13 in profit for every quart of liquor you sell! If you sell a great deal of top-shelf liquor, the losses are at least doubled.

What is the Best Way a Bar Can Increase Profits?

Purchase a liquor control system and watch your profits go through the ceiling!Photo of Easybar Gun Dispensing Station

  • A liquor control system will consistently dispense liquor to within 1/32 of an ounce. At an investment of $7,000 - $10,000 per station, the return-on-investment (ROI) for a liquor control station is about three months. Where can you get an ROI like that?!

  • Liquor control systems are programmed to pour multi-portioned cocktails and will do your bookkeeping for you. You can read my evaluation of the top liquor control systems (refer below).

  • If you are only reporting the sale of each drink to the POS system, recording the sale is only as honest as the bartender. However, with a liquor control system, the sale of each drink is reported directly to your office computer AND to your POS system and will not allow the bartender to void the sale once it is entered.

Tap beer control systems work in a similar fashion, where the pour of each faucet is controlled and reported to the office computer and POS system. Tap beer control systems cost around $500 for the first faucet and around $250 for each additional faucet. Any bar owner who isn’t taking advantage of liquor control pouring is a partner to his/her customers and bartenders.

What is the Best Way a Bar Owner Can Show Customer Appreciation?

Simple. If you really want to demonstrate your customer appreciation, and you are the owner, walk up to them at the bar, shake their hands and pay for their drinks with money out of your pocket. If you like to occasionally have your bartenders extend this token of appreciation, have them pay with their own money – but IF AND ONLY IF they furnish you with receipts!

You are in the business to make money, so get after it!

Related Posts:
The Best Liquor Inventory Management System : AccuBar vs BevInco

How Can Bar Owners Be So Unaware of Losses?

Top 5 Bar Design Ideas and Tips

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1 Based on 12 32 oz. bottles of liquor per day, 310 days per year and a price of $3.50 per drink;

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