The Long Bar

Before The Long Bar at Sweet Revenge was built, the area served as a simple corridor between the front of my wine bar and the loo in the back.  The Long Bar is 30′ of beautiful glossy dark wood stretching along where patrons hang out.  For me, there’s a wee bit of meaning under the surface of its simplicity.  It represents hope, and it represents opportunity.

The corridor served a perfectly acceptable role for 2 years.  But after my Ink from Chase commercials started in July 2010, I took a leap of faith that I’d need more space for my patrons.  My wine bar is 650 sq feet and its smallness makes it intimate, quaint, cozy, charming, all good things.  I banked on business growing and that we’d soon max out on our five small tables and 12 bar stools.  My GC built and installed the bar in the fall.  All I can say is, thank the flip I did this :).

Thanks to The Long Bar, my staff and I have learned about the subtleties of communicating and how the right messaging leads to success…and the opposite leads to frustration.  Initially we called it the Standing Bar. Lemme tell ya, it was brutaljuice convincing patrons to hang out there, doing something they didn’t want to do: standing.  It made them hellbent on waiting for a table.  Aaaaaack.  They willingly mingled at the Standing Bar until a table freed up but they wouldn’t order anything.  For the folks willing to eat, drink and be merry at the Standing Bar, they were crowded out of doing so by those waiting for tables.  Aaaaaack a hundredfold.

After a couple of months of this frustrating dynamic/operations logjam/sales nightmare, I made a subtle change in how I teed it up. I started telling patrons they could be served immediately without any wait but didn’t mention the Standing Bar name.  They headed to the Standing Bar without any hesitation or inquiries about the tables.  They cupcaked and boozed it up.

Clearly I needed a new name.  Being playful with 30′ of dark wood snaking its way along my wine bar wall inspired me to call it The Long Bar.  It’s also a shoutout to good times I had many years ago at Raffles in Singapore, so a little world inspired too.  A perfect fit, all that wood and the new name.

I trained my staff to call it The Long Bar and shared my learnings on how to position it with our patrons. Now on weekends when we are happily mad busy, even The Long Bar fills up with patrons sipping on brewhahas and vino and devouring my cupcakes.  The Long Bar is also like Lassie the Wonderdog.  Large groups of 10 or more will randomly roll in, and fortunately we can serve them there.  Without The Long Bar, we likely couldn’t accommodate them and would lose the sales as a result.

In small business, you’ve gotta adjust and you’ve gotta maintain a wide lens on opportunities, challenges and solutions.  An open mind and eyes wide open.  Analyze, but steering clear of analysis paralysis. Stickin’ the stake in the ground and actualizing the idea into reality.  It’s all critical to survival and success.

Three cheers to The Long Bar!

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free (Michelangelo)

Teaser Taste of Sweet Revenge®:  Growin Up With Grown Up Truffled Mac & Cheese



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