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Salt Lake City Bookkeeping Blog

Sales Lessons From Your Local Dive Bar

Posted by Matt Roberge on Apr 19, 2011 12:42:00 PM

I'm a dive bar guy; I love everything about them.  From the interesting local characters, to the odd smells, the unique menu items, the bartender's take on "customer service, to flat beer on tap; but most of all I love the setting.  Beneath the surface of your local dive bar there is a business and sales lesson.  After all you are there spending money right?

They are doing something extraordinary:

Every dive bar is unique in its own way.  Some are successful; some not so much.  One thing all successful dive bars have in common is they do something better than any other bar.  They may have the best burger, best beer selection or best setting; the bottom line is they have the best of something.

They fill a unique niche:

Dive bars target a specific group of customers.  While the specific market niche may not be large it still needs to be filled by someone.  Target a set of customers and knock their socks off with your product or service.

They have a marketing plan:

Look over and visit some of the websites listed in our Dive Bar Hall of Fame list below.  Many of them don't have websites, and if they do their website is not so great.  Some I couldn't find any information on at all.  For years the Cotton Bottom had an unlisted phone number!  Seriously?  What is the rational thinking behind that?  My Dad once told me that he made his business number unlisted and strictly relied on referrals for new business.  An unlisted phone number makes a statement about your business; your product or service is so good that you don't need to be found, you only want high quality referrals through word of mouth.  Many dive bars become local legends and gain new business by word of mouth or loyal customers that bring a friend for their first visit. 

Think about it.  Then next time you are in your favorite bar think about why they are successful?  Leave us a comment. 

Our Dive Bar Hall of Fame:

In no particular order here is our Dive Bar Hall of Fame.  Should you ever find yourself nearby any of these bars we highly recommend you stop in:

The CottonBottom Inn - Holladay, UT (home of the original Garlic Burger and featured picture above)

The Peruvian Bar - Alta, UT

Rock Creek Lodge - Rock Creek, MT (Home of the World Famous Testicle Festival)

The Avenue (aka Rogies) - Allston, MA (home of the Brubaker)

Pour Jims - Mayfield, NY

Maxville MT, VFW Post 8292 (if you ever find yourself in the middle of MT and find a VFW in a town with a population of 26 you stop in).

The Blue Plate - Holden, MA

Turah Pines Bar & Casino - Turah, MT (you never drive by a bar that is essentially a double wide trailer)

Shooting Star Saloon - Huntsville, UT (a bar that has a stuffed Saint Bernard on the wall and the house burger is a double cheeseburger topped with a Knockwurst demands respect)

Penuche's Ale House - Keene, NH

Ace of Clubs - Somewhere in Idaho.  Got to love a bar that you can't even find a record of via a Google search.  Somewhere between SLC, UT and Stanley, ID is a freaking gem of a bar.

Topics: Sales Advice, Sales, Business Sales