3 Things A Spanish Bar Owner Can Teach You About Business Success
It’s easy to get bogged down in the latest marketing strategy for your business, especially where digital is concerned. There’s always something new. Should you be getting into Instagram TV? What about Facebook chatbots? Maybe you should be delving into WhatsApp so you’re ready for the new business features coming to the platform later in 2019. It feels relentless. It feels hard. And so most of the time you end up doing nothing because you’re totally overwhelmed.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram then you’ll know that I’ve been spending a lot of time in Andalucia in Southern Spain over the last few months. It’s not the place to learn cutting edge digital strategies but it is a great place to soak up some basic business principles. Several times a week I’ll take myself off to a coffee shop or tapas bar in the centre of Mijas to write and when you sit alone for several hours in the town square you really being to pick up on the rhythm of the place. Whilst it’s a popular tourist spot year round, there is a lot of competition from neighbouring establishments so success isn’t guaranteed. The successful Spanish bar owner (SSBO) is a master of his trade though and there’s a lot that can be learnt from them.
1) Follow the sun
The majority of residential and commercial properties have awnings on them – in winter they give extra warmth on the terrace areas, in the summer they provide shade from the blisteringly hot sun. Sit back and watch an SSBO and you’ll see how often he adjusts his awnings throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. Along with the awnings, furniture is often rearranged too, even swapping out to different set ups for day time and evening trade. The SSBO knows how to absolutely maximise what he’s got.
How often are you tweaking things in your business to make the most of it? Have you updated your website homepage lately? Is your shop window looking fresh? Are you making sure your offers are matching the conditions you’re in? There’s no point in promoting fly rugs just because it’s June when we had 3 weeks of solid rain…
2) When it’s quiet go and hustle up some business
On a quiet day, the SSBO doesn’t sit at the back of his bar and mope about the economy, Brexit or the competition. He gets to work and drums up business. He’ll stand out in front of his bar and ask you if you’d like to come inside for a drink. He’ll highlight the menu of the day special to entice you with value. He may even offer you a sample of tapas or cake. This works well on the existing patrons too. It’s far harder to resist desert when a delicious cake is being walked past your table.
If you’re facing a lean patch in your business, don’t sit back and blame it on outside circumstances. Get out there and drum up some business. Send an email newsletter, put a special offer out on your social media, phone up some old customers and see if they need what you want. Think about what you can offer your existing customers to encourage them to spend more with you (if you need some ideas about this, check out this blog post for three easy ways to a more profitable equine business).
3) Don’t be all things to all men
The best eating spots typically keep things simple. They don’t have a long menu with hundreds of items or try and provide multiple styles of cooking. Often, the SSBO will specialise even more, so they may be cooking up traditional Spanish fare but they will have a signature dish or style. It might be exceptional sea food or pork Flamenquins. It might be how they serve up the food – Pinxtos versus Tapas, both bar side portions but very different in presentation. Sometimes it might be a signature dish, like the bull burger at KGB (they’ve sold 80,000 of them so far!)
By having a speciality, customers are attracted to them because they want that specific cuisine or dish and so it’s an easy decision to choose them rather than the 5 other eateries in a 20 meter radius. Plus it allows for efficiencies in the kitchen, which in turn makes for better service to customers.
What can you be known for? Do you want to specialise in a niche of the horse world like dressage instead of hunter/jumpers? Do you want to be known for a signature service or treatment? Is there one thing you can be really really good at like made to measure bridles rather than general leather repairs?
Hopefully that’s give you some food for thought! Let me know in the comments below what one idea you’re inspired to try or if you want any recommendations for eating spots in Andalucia!
P.S. Before anyone starts commenting on my assumptions that all SSBO are male and my sexist stance, sadly it’s generally true. There’s a lot to love about Spain, but they lag behind a bit in gender equality.