It can be a struggle for any restaurant or bar to build a base of clientele to fill seats during slow nights and slow seasons.

With this problem in mind, a bar buyout can be a huge boon to your business. Not only does it guarantee income and feet in the door, but a successful buyout can also set up your establishment as a go-to in your community for future events.

In order for a buyout to be successful, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. There are many ways that buyouts could leave a sour taste in your guests’ mouths and kill any momentum it might have achieved in the first place. Here are a few tips to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Make It Efficient

It is undeniable that controlling the pace of a buyout is important to its success. The flow is completely different from most nights. Even on the busiest nights, people flow in and out on a more natural timing that experienced bartenders can adjust to. With a private event, however, you’re often going to run into longer lines and even more crowded bars than normal, especially at the start. This can lead to discombobulated bartenders and disgruntled guests right off the bat.

Keeping this in mind, there are ways you can combat this wave of sheer chaos. Buffering some time in between the opening of the doors and the actual start of the event can prevent immediate crowding at the bars. Having systems in place such as batched cocktails or drink tickets can also prevent the bulk ordering that tends to happen at buyouts from overwhelming your bar. For partial buyouts, having a designated area at bars for your special guests can prevent them from rubbing elbows too much against your other patrons.

Make It Special

When you host a buyout or any sort of private party, it’s always in your best interest to do something special for it. This makes the event that much more memorable for the guests coming in, which can encourage return visits outside of the event itself. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to fully build out a unique menu or crafting exclusive new items for the group coming in, but that can be a really nice touch for extra special groups or parties willing to subsidize your extra culinary and artistic efforts.

Making a buyout special can be as simple as adding custom flair to your bar decor to highlight the event. You could also look into playing personalized music playlists or radio stations crafted by the attendees. All of the details of the event, including these aforementioned logistic details, can and should be discussed and planned with the person coordinating the event beforehand.

Make It Flexible

Even with the most fleshed-out plans, most industry folks know how quickly their strategies can fully dissolve at the tip of a hat. Guests might not arrive on time, might cancel or might beg to bring along that extra friend who would throw off your count and pacing. Someone might spring a harsh dietary restriction or allergy on you when you’ve already planned out a special menu for the group.

As most industry folks know, you’ve gotta roll with the punches. If you’re not skilled at making adjustments on the fly, having fallback plans in place for these sudden changes can make your life that much easier. Making sure that the person coordinating the buyout is privy to the fallback plans is key to a smooth transition. Having them on your side when you have to make judgment calls can make your life that much easier and your chances for success that much higher.


For more tips on how to manage your bar, check out more of our blog articles in our Bar Management section. Curious about the financial details of a buyout? Subscribe to the blog below to make sure you know when we explore key elements like reconciling inventory and P&L statements when hosting a buyout.

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