The thing about Bar Rescue is that it's easy to improve sales for a short period of time but do the establishments become anchors in the community over an extended period.
About 25% of the rescued bars end up closing but this is better than the 75% failure rate of most bars/clubs in their first three years.
Given that each bar is essentially made into a new bar with media/television exposure, all of the bats on the show SHOULD have increased sale.
In reality, there are not many rules when it come to running a profitable bar.
(In no particular order of importance.)
a) Know your market.
The customer ISN'T always right but it IS the customer who is buying your product. Know and understand what people are willing to pay for in your market.
b) Plan to lose money.
No, not forever but for a year or so until you establish a consistent and growing clientele.
c) Don't be your best customer. (Okay, THIS is the most important.)
You are at work, you're not there to drink and have fun - you are there to make sure your customers drink and have fun.
d) Never hook-up/sleep with any customer or employee.
One will cause social problems while the other will cause legal problems.
e) Pay your people - even when it's slow.
Your people come to work. You are building assets, they are there to make money.
The first question I ask during interviews is whether the applicant would like a drink while we're talking. A 'yes' answer is an automatic disqualifier. One can teach another skills but he cannot teach character and discipline.
My girlfriend is not allowed at the bar often or for extended periods of time. I'm there to work, l'm NOT there to entertain friends and family. They are a distraction.
I'm kind of 'mean' to my employees. They are at the club to work for me, they are not there to be my friend. (But my employees are loyal to a fault. My employees are the highest paid in the market. My employees have a lot of autonomy but the responsibility that goes with it is known to all.)
This past month I received a negative review on Yelp. On the night in question, l was just hanging out on a night off. The only part of the complaint I cared about was the lack of personal service. (The rest of the complaint I don't really care about - we cannot be all things to all people.) Even when I'm off
I can never be 'off'. I cannot be tired or sick or in a bad mood or distracted.
Even when I'm off, I'm not there to have fun - I'm there to make sure everyone else has fun.