In the last post I spoke about how to differentiate yourself in a tough market through story based marketing. The thing about stories though is that you need to make sure someone wants to hear it.
Last weekend I got caught up with some friends watching a mini-marathon of Bar Rescue, including an episode about a bar in Silver Springs MD called Piratz Tavern. Now, given the topic of my last post, you might think that I would think a Pirate Bar is a great idea -and it would be in a place with some Pirate lore. Silver Springs however, was never a hotbed of Pirate activity – which apparently was true for the restaurant as well.
The host came in, did the reality TV, yelling thing then brought out the demograohics data. They are located in the middle of several corporate high rises and not much else, yet they were not open for lunch or Happy Hour. He also suggests she drop the pirate thing for a theme that will be more attractive to a corporate crowd. The owner and her husband had not drawn a salary for five years. They and their teenage daughter were living in her parents basement. They were 900,000 dollars in debt.
The show changed the name and remodeled it to a corporate bar. It makes oodles of money on the test. This was treated like the worst thing in the world to the owner and her staff. They were WAY more concerned with playing Pirate than running a business.
The host even asked her: do you want to dress like a Pirate or send your daughter to college? The week after the show ended, they changed it back to a pirate bar. Apparently, they wanted to dress like Pirates.
This is just one example of the story taking over the reality of the business. It can be a HUGE danger when your business is your passion and not just a way to make money. I have seen it many times. The dream overshadows the reality. In business, you don’t have to sell out, but you do have to make money.