How to Run a Bar: Basics of Brands - dummies

By Ray Foley, Heather Dismore

Name recognition goes a long way; just ask the politicians. All public relations (PR) for your bar is good PR (unless the health department is involved, of course). So get your name out there in front of people.

There are bartenders who put a bar’s name on everything, from the front door to the line where you sign your credit card. You can have your bar’s name printed on just about anything — you make the choice.

Choose a great name and hire a professional to create a great logo. It will cost you somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on how many revisions you need to get it right.

We recommend putting your name and logo on these items to spread the word:

  • Your local newspaper: Run a small ad, but run it often. Ask that it be placed in the entertainment section so people see it when they’re planning their evenings. Even better than the standard paper are weekly papers focused on entertainment. If your community has a paper that advertises the week’s hot bands, drink specials, film festivals, and upcoming concerts, it may be a perfect match for your bar.

  • T-shirts: You can sell T-shirts for a small profit and have walking billboards all over town.

    Remember, T-shirts have space on the back. Use it. Come up with cool slogans and hashtags that correspond with your advertising efforts.

  • Glassware: Create a custom pint glass with your logo that you give away with a beer purchase.

  • Pens and pencils: Everyone uses them, so give patrons one of yours with your phone number, website, or tagline on it.

  • Business cards: Carry them and hand them out. Put a free drink coupon on the back if that’s legal in your area (talk to the agency that issues liquor licenses in your area to find out). Some locations don’t allow you to give away alcohol.

    Consider printing business cards for bartenders and longtime staff members, too. They can pass them out to their mechanic, dental hygienist, or other people they come into contact with.

  • Bumper stickers: People put stickers on everything, not just cars. College kids use them to decorate dorms, guitar cases, furniture, notebooks, beer fridges, and backpacks.

  • Frisbees and other toys: Frisbees are a great choice if your community has large, open parks or campuses where people play ultimate Frisbee or use them as dog toys. Patrons may take other silly toys and set them on their desk at home or work. If a particular gimmick fits your demographic, put your name on it and give it away.