By Nick Fosberg   |   July 7, 2014

I recently read Jon Taffer’s book “Raise the Bar,” for bar restaurant owners, and I’ve got to tell you, it opened my eyes and brought me to remember many important elements of running a successful bar restaurant, especially when it comes to the customer experience.

One chapter into Raise the Bar, I was already blown away. Get on over to to buy the book. In this review and summary of the book, I share some of my biggest takeaways from the book.

Here’s what you’ll also learn by watching this video:

  • What goes into creating positive customer reactions?
  • How customer reactions can point you to higher food prices!
  • What’s the first thing you should think about for when your customers walk in the door?

Here’s the video’s full transcript:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Bar Owner Tv. In this episode I’m going to tell you about the profitable advice I got from Jon Taffer’s new book “Raise The Bar.” After reading the very first chapter I was blown away with the mindset that Jon has about running a successful bar restaurant.

Before I go on, my advice to you is the first thing you should do after you watch this video, is go to and buy a copy of Raise The Bar. It will be the best $25 you spend this year.

Ok so lets get started. While reading Taffer’s book, it brought me to realize I had forgotten about many important elements of running a successful bar restaurant, especially when it comes to your customers experience at your business. Over the last few years I’ve been focusing on nothing but marketing and getting customers in my doors, but forgetting about what happens when the customer walks in the door.

I mean, I understand that you must have great service, friendly staff, and make sure customers are happy or they won’t come back, that’s just common sense, however Jon’s book really gave me a better vision and understanding of what that really means.

For example, Jon talks about creating customer reactions and that you must create positive customer reactions no matter what you do within your business, that is if you want to be successful and keep customers coming back over and over.

So how do you create positive reactions out of your customers? There’s your web appeal, your logo, price points, decor, curb appeal, bathrooms, etc, etc. I can go on.

The other thing Jon mentioned, that I liked hearing, was your marketing should create positive reactions. That’s the one key element I’ve been able to master over the years, but that’s just one out of all the others I was not paying so much attention to.

So I thought to myself, how many new customers have I had come through the door but may have not come back due to a bad reaction from something besides my marketing. I tested myself to think of how I could create just one more positive reaction within my business.

What caught my attention was when Mr. Taffer said and I quote…. Think of it this way: A chef isn’t preparing an entree, he is, in fact preparing a guest reaction. The entree is the vehicle, not the product. The product is the customer reaction. When the plate hits the table, one of two things happen.

The guest reacts by sitting up and taking notice, or the guest does not react. If nothing happens, that business is stuck!

After reading that part in chapter one, I thought about my business and realized I plated my food just like any other bar in my area. Every time it came out, it was just another burger. I thought about when I had a positive reaction when going out to eat and it was always because I like the square or rectangle plates , the more modern look, but also how they presented the food.

First thing I did after realizing this is I called one of my reps to get me a quote on nicer china that was rectangle and square. The more modern look. I didn’t expect to pay $2,400 for new plates and bowls but I did it anyways because I felt this would give my customers a better reaction to the business. I also brought in a chef from our food vendor to help with a better menu design and how to plate the food.

Let me just say with the launch of our new menu and plates, my customers were blown away with the presentation and many said “Should I have dressed different” joking around as if they were in a upscale restaurant or lounge.

This was my goal. To create a positive reaction. So if my loyal customers are saying this, what’s a brand new customer going to think? Probably the same thing. At the same time, I’ve increased my food prices as well and nobody has said a thing. So in the end this will increase my profits and keep customers coming back.

So my lesson for you today is this. I listened to one of the brightest consultants in the industry about one simple change I could make in my business to make the customer experience better and I achieved success and you can do the same thing.

How? Number one, get “Raise The Bar” and read it. Number two, start looking at everything you do in your business and see how you can do it better. What can your bartenders do differently when they great a customer? What can your servers do?

The number one thing you should be thinking about is the experience and reactions your customers are going to have when they walk in your doors. Where I was making a mistake was thinking about marketing first and getting customers in the door, however if you don’t have the right processes in place in your business to create positive customer reactions, you’re marketing doesn’t really matter.

Please tell me what you do in your business to create positive reactions within your business. I’d love to share these ideas with my subscribers.

Nick Fosberg

Nick Fosberg is known as one of the highest paid, marketing and promotional consultants in the bar & restaurant industry and he owns 2 bar / restaurants in the Chicagoland area. He's famous for creating some of the highest grossing digital marketing promotions in the history of the bar & restaurant business..... without spending a penny on marketing. All done through e-mail & Facebook posts. 

Click here to get a free copy of my latest book.

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