How to Run a Bar: The Importance of Phones

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

Despite the awesomeness of the Internet, the phone is still an integral part of the bar business. Even if people can find out your address, hours of operation, and drink specials from your website, they often still want to speak with a human and double-check the information. This call may be the first time a patron experiences your bar, so make sure it’s a positive experience.

Here’s a game plan for how to answer the phone:

  1. Answer the phone within three rings.

    If customers have to wait longer than that, they may feel like their business isn’t important to you and go elsewhere.

    For occasions when the bar is closed, make sure you have a pleasant, custom voicemail message with basic information like your address and hours of operation. Make sure to check your voicemail often so you can respond to questions as soon as possible and keep space available for new incoming messages.

  2. Greet callers with the name of the bar and your name, so they know who they’re talking to.

    Give staff members a script, like “Thanks for calling Ray’s Place. This is Terry. How can I help you today?”

  3. If you must put callers on hold, ask them first.

    Most people understand a short wait on the phone, but simply ask, “Could I put you on hold for a moment?” It’s much more customer-friendly than a brusque “Hold please,” followed by the lovely hold music or messaging.

  4. Return to the phone call within 45 seconds.

    To a bar owner, this response time may seem quick. To customers, it can feel like an eternity. Think of the last time you were on hold, not usually your favorite memory. And if callers are on a cellphone, they can see their minutes ticking away.

Don’t leave the phone-answering to the least experienced staff members. Make sure anyone who answers the phone is a customer-service star.