One fact is certain about the Bar and Restaurant business.
It's extremely competitive.
As the wave of recent reality shows such as Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible will attest, sometimes you need the advice of an expert to give you that competitive edge.
In Philadelphia, the consultants of Philly Bar Scholars are, literally, the resident experts.
Formed in 2011, Philly Bar Scholars is the creation of Billy Hines. Hines is a Hospitality industry veteran with over twenty years experience in the bar and restaurant business. Drawing from his experience in both Las Vegas and Orlando, Hines has been able to develop a management approach geared toward improving customer service and the bottom line.
"Essentially, we concentrate on designing ways for bars to improve their service level and increase their bottom-line," said Hines. "Most of the time that comes down to mastering the fundamentals."
According to Hines, a resident of South Philadelphia, chief among those fundamentals are efficiency, speed and the on-going training of a bar staff.
Even overlooked aspects, such as how a bar is designed, can go a long way toward improving bar efficiency.
"Setting up a bar properly will shorten the steps a bartender needs to take in order to make a drink," Hines said. "The quicker they can make a drink, the more time they will have to make even more drinks."
In a city where there is an enormous amount of competition for the bar business, (Yellowbook.com lists over 1000 bars listed in the Philadelphia area) it's easy to see how speed of service is a helpful, if not a necessary, trait for any bar.
"You don't want to leave any sales on the table due to slow drink making," Hines advised. "Especially if you are running promotions generated to bring in more traffic to your bar."
However, increased traffic alone doesn't always guarantee success. To ensure success sometimes a bar owner needs to raise, as Hines refers to it, the "Bar I.Q." of their bar staff.
"It's important to train your staff so they can "upsell" to the premium brands that are becoming more and more available," Hines said. "That makes a tremendous difference toward increasing your bottom-line."
Since moving back to his native Philadelphia Hines has been laying the groundwork for his consulting business through meeting with individual clients as well as maintaining his blog, phillybarscholars.com. The blog chronicles outings along the Philadelphia bar scene as well providing a behind the scenes look at the bar business in the city.