Business problem turnaround: How one bar turned a location challenge into a new revenue driver

February 1, 2017

This post is part of our Business Problem Turnaround series. Read the entire series here on the Clover blog, and explore for more better business tips and tactics.

When sizing up a location for a new business, owners take a number of factors into consideration—that is, aside from the all-important cost per square foot.

Things like foot traffic, demographics of the neighborhood, parking and traffic patterns, the history of the site, the stylistic fit for the business, proximity to competition and complementary businesses, zoning and ordinances on the site, and utility costs often play huge roles in the process.

But what do you do when one of those seemingly positive factors turns out to be a handicap—or at least not as advantageous as you’d originally thought?

Let’s examine an actual case study of a sports bar near a major metropolitan center.

When the owner was choosing a location for his new business, and the leasing agent showed him the location in to which he’d eventually move, he thought he’d hit the jackpot for his new sports bar venture.

That’s because the location was within sight of the stadium where an NFL team played every Sunday in the fall.

In addition, it had a generous parking lot being placed on the edge of a shopping/business complex, making this location, in his mind, the perfect place for a sports bar.

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But after they moved in, and a couple months pass, the bar didn’t become the packed pre-game warm-up bar that he and his colleagues had anticipated. After asking some customers, the problem became apparent:

Though the bar was somewhat close to the stadium, it wasn’t convenient for customers to walk to the stadium after they’d had a few drinks. The stadium access roads have high volume traffic and lacked sidewalks.

It’s easy to see the problem here, but the sports bar owner saw an opportunity. And thus the Sunday Shuttle Service was born.

The owner contracted with a local transportation company to drive customers to and from the stadium, bought some branded vehicle wraps as to let other football fans know the free shuttle service—and the bar itself—existed each time they dropped off a load of customers curbside at the stadium, and bought some radio spots on the local sports talk station.

By just the next weekend, business had picked up significantly. The week after that, they ran out of parking two hours before game time.

The point of the story is that when an issue presented itself, the owner didn’t despair. Instead, they got down to business, thinking creatively about how that challenge might be turned on its head, and into a success.

[image: Christmas in a Bar by Wilson Hui on flickr]

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