By Nick Fosberg   |   December 18, 2017

There’s times in all of our careers as bar owners, restaurant owners, and managers where we hit a few speed bumps that slow us down. Sometimes causing us to lose our motivation and determination to be the best we can be. To perform at our highest level.

Today I’m going to go over the 6 principles to follow to be successful in the restaurant and bar business. My goal here is to remind you what’s already inside you and to never forget that you can reach any goal, any income level, anything you’ve ever wanted when you apply these principles to your life and business.

What Does “Successful” Really Mean?

The truth is, there’s no one size fits all to what “success” really means because we all are after our own dream. But in a nutshell, I’d describe success as being confident to say you’re happy with the way your life is.

Success doesn’t have to mean you make a million dollars a year, that you own 10 bars or restaurant and only work 30 hours a week. It could mean you work 60 hours a week in your restaurant, cooking for your guests, because that’s what YOU LOVE TO DO. Where others would say that’s far from success.

So in my opinion, success means that you’re happy with your life, career, and family. But on the other hand, when most of us reach our definition of success, we tend to want to take that success to the next level! That’s where these 6 principles fall into place.

Principle Number One – Focus With The End In Mind

Ok, you feel successful. Or maybe you don’t. That’s ok. But now you’re after the next level from where you are now. What does that look like? What does that feel like?

For example, if your next level of success is going from making $150,000 a year to $250,000 a year, you have the “end in mind.” You know what you’re after. Now you need to work your numbers and figure out how you’re going to make that happen.

Can you do that with the business you have now? Or is it going to take another bar or restaurant to make that happen?

Principle Number Two – Embrace The Struggle!

To reach that next level of success, there’s going to be more bumps and pitfalls. More failures. That’s just life. We learn from our mistakes. So don’t let these failures stop you, instead think of them as a learning curve and what NOT to do again in order to reach your next level of success faster!

Principe Number Three – Hustle Or Lose It

When you have the will power to do whatever it takes to reach that next level, you become unstoppable. Anything in life can be achieved, as long as you have principe number three working for you day in and day out.

As you may know, I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins and at one of his seminars he told us, every morning you need to put yourself in the right “state of mind” to reach our goals. Let’s use the $150k to $250k example. Every morning sit somewhere with NO distractions and think how your life will change with that extra money. How will that make you feel.

Maybe it allows you put your kids in private schools. Maybe it allows you to buy a vacation home. Whatever it is, you want to taste it, feel it, and see it. When you can do this, the hustle becomes easy!

Principe Number Four – Master Your Health

The truth is your health will either push you back or put you in the fast lane going forward. When I first bought my first bar, it was party central for me. I felt on top of the world at 26 and owning a bar and taking care of my friends. Then what happened?

I woke every day feeling like shit. I couldn’t think because I had a pounding headache. I knew I had important things to take care of but would tell myself, “I’ll do it tomorrow!” Say that enough times it catches up to you and which is part of the reason I almost lost my first bar. It’s sad to say but this was the best thing that did happen to me because realization hit me in forehead that it was sink or swim.

I cut back on the partying and focused on growing the business and reached out to a marketing and business coach. I hit the gym. I ate healthier. When I did this, I felt like a new person. I felt motivated.

I’m not saying mastering your health is all about not drinking or anything to do with drinking. That’s just what it was for me. For others it could be just working out, eating healthier, getting more sleep, outsourcing more work to others so you don’t have so much on your plate, etc, etc.

The bottom line is if you’re feeling drained mentally or physically, you’re moving backwards and not forward. Master your health and stop the draining so you can get back in the fast lane!

Principle Number Five – Understanding You Can’t Do Everything On Your Own

The key to reaching your level of success in the fastest way possible is creating a team that can help you in your journey. There’s many many roles to be played in the bar and restaurant business. You can’t do them all on your own.

As much as you might say to yourself, “It’ll be faster if I just do it or they will just screw it up if they do it.” STOP! This brings up back to principle number two. Embrace the struggle.

Teaching and training people to do certain things that you’ve been able to master in this business is frustrating. I used to HATE training cooks and bartenders when I used to work for

my dad before I had my own bar. I’d want to take that knife and do it all myself. But then I realized if I kept doing that over and over, I’d be stuck doing and I could never have a staff that could work when I’m not there.

This is no different when it comes to marketing, promotions, cooking, payroll, etc, etc.

My advice is take on the tasks you enjoy and outsource all the others.

Principle Number 6 – Be Of Value To Others

As you’ve probably heard me say before, “the more you give, the more you will receive in life.” This goes for your customers, your staff, and anyone you do business with.

If you have the mindset of “how can I provide value to others and how can I help someone else get what they want today” you’ll instantly see how this has an impact in your life. Your customers will want to come back more often. They will want to refer your business more often because they appreciate the value you’ve been able to deliver to them.

This doesn’t have to mean a discount either. It could be the experience they have. It could be you walking up to their table and asking how you can better serve them next time.

This could be you talking to your staff and saying “what can I do to make you job more fun or easier. What can I do better as a owner?”

This could be you going to a supplier and asking how you can help them in any way. They want to pick up more account don’t they? Of course they do. Well tell them what you want to hear as an owner, what’s important to you, and give them some advice on how to approach their next prospect. Maybe you give them a great testimonial. Maybe you call their boss and tell them what a great job they are doing.

When other people start seeing that you care about them and that you want to help them in some type of way, you’ll see a HUGE impact in your business.


Follow these 6 principles and you’ll never stop reaching each level of success that you’re after. There’s going to be ups and downs, but you must embrace those failures and learn from them. When you do this, you feel and become unbeatable!

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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