Best-seller lists have been a staple in the many industries, used to great success… but I have yet to see one at a bar or a club. Not having one is a mistake.
The lists in general are great for a number of reasons:
1. They act as a filter. In a cluttered marketplace, most of what’s out there is invisible and only act to frustrate the patrons (us). Having a best-seller list distills the products down to the most (currently) trendy and important. Of course, each bar should have it’s own list; the sports bar tribe will have vastly different tastes than the gay bar regulars.
2. Helps track trends. Seeing what products are selling helps both the bar staff and their customers. For the bar staff, they’ll know what’s currently hot so that they can order more of it or highlight it to increase sales. For customers, we can use the list to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s trendy. We love lists as a species since (a) we love winners and (b) we want to know what other people like us are drinking (c) It can validate our own tastes (d) If it doesn’t we can start a conversation about it to get our voices heard. Lists will serve the business owner and their customers.
3. Increases sales because of sales. What do I mean by that? From personal experience, whenever I look at bestseller lists (say for books), I often end up buying books from it even if I’m not currently in the market for a book. Why? Just to see what the fuss is about. Having the list in a bar (or any business really as long as it can drum up the buzz) will increases the “I wonder what that’s about” sales. Sales will lead a product to the list, which causes more people to buy it.
4. To start a conversation. Between customers. Between customers and non-customers. Between customers and the bar staff. “Oh, man number 3 this week is totally overrated”. “I’ve never even heard of drink number 1, what’s in it”. “Have you tried number 9, it’s the shit”. No need to tell you that people talking about products you’re selling are a good idea.
5. There is another type of list you could use; the “Best Drinks You’ve Never Heard Of” list. If there’s a certain drink that you believe has potential, will be the most profitable, will bring the most customers to your door or will establish you as a trendsetter (your brand), then using this list will bring it in front of your customers. These customers have at the bar and have already given you, the business owner, the permission to tell them more about your stuff. It’s a waste not to use that hard-earned attention.