Restaurants: Manage Thy Televisions or Take Them Away

While writing for BarTaste I have seen one trend which can be a big minus for restaurant bars yet can be so easily fixed.  There is widespread lack of attention to what is playing on televisions hanging over restaurant bars.  I am not advocating more televisions nor knocking those places which have none, if you have them you need manage them!  Wisely decide what to show and when.

Restaurants are carefully created with attention to the most minute detail of food, linens, service and bars, too many to list.  Include a bar in your restaurant? Do you include televisions?  Many do not as it does not fit with the concept, the experience they are creating and the targeted customer.  Some of these television-less places are my favorites and I will go again and again.  I don’t need the TV.

You’ve selected the paint and things on your wall with great care yet you have the giant screens which are extremely prominent playing anything and everything without any planning or targeting.  It is a huge missed opportunity to gain and retain a customer, create the environment and experience you desire.  Keep the customer there and get them to spend more money.  Everything counts and the televisions are part of this.

Who is your customer or your targeted clientele?  Perhaps general news, business news, financial news, sports or a movie is best. Maybe it’s game shows on the night you have your Quizo contest.  Experiment, ask your customers what they prefer to see or better yet ask the clientele not coming to your restaurant what they would like to see on television.  You pay attention to every last detail of your business yet let the televisions manage themselves, why?

I’ve seen it done well.  Restaurants in business districts showing financial news channels alongside general news switching to sports as the evening progresses.  They have a plan to keep the customer engaged and spending.  Sports Bar Restaurants immediately changing the changing the channel from the post-game show because they’ve determined no one wants to watch it.  Another is cleverly trying to have the best of the have and have not television world.  A discretely placed television high in the corner, big but barely noticeable which I have never seen turned on.  I asked and was told that it is rarely on and only for that big, very important game or event.  Nice plan, where is your plan?

The bad is really bad.  Televisions which are turned on and the channel is left all day from the cleaning crew the night before.  The financial news channel changes to paid programming selling vacuum cleaners, really?  You want your customer buying vacuums while they eat?  A sports bar restaurant with bartenders too busy and oblivious to put the hometown baseball team game on when there are no other games on, you wonder why no one is there?  Another “sports bar” restaurant showing Wheel of Fortune on every television!?  What is going on, wagering on Vanna White’s dress?  Finally Jeopardy on a HD television tuned to the non-HD channel cutting off the answers, why bother?

This is probably the easiest part of a restaurant to manage.  Just some simple planning is all it takes.  I really begin doubting the care put into other aspects of the restaurant, especially the food, when something as simple as a television is not managed well.  Just take them down if it is too much bother.

I have a nice restaurant bar meal review coming up next.

BarTaste Rating  ★☆☆☆☆ 

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