WHEN BIG GOES SMALL: COMPETING AGAINST SMALL CONCEPT BARS

October 22, 2015

The days of bar barons and ‘pub-preneurs’ has taken a beating.

In many markets liquor licensing requirements were deliberately onerous precluding smaller players from entering the market!

Clever operators used licensing as a barrier to competitive entry leaving only the giants to compete against each other.
To further control the market, large operators would open multiple concepts in easy steps from their own venues to help maintain share of wallet.
Then some years back the democratisation of the bar changed everything as small bar licenses were granted allowing independent bartenders to become owners, helping to fuel the craft bar boom.

The boom then created massive competition, pulling from big boxed venues consumers, particularly those searching for more authentic experiences.

The Empire Strikes back

The big guys began to understand that to tackle the small guys they too needed to get small, creating niche competitors to meet the needs of a market fracturing into micro segments.

Relying on unlimited access to money, designers, process, volume discounts advertising and the best ideas from around the world, the big guys turned the tables.

Here's some of the different plays we’ve seen:

  1. Large venues cut down  large spaces into unique spaces with multiple concepts
  2. Satellite micro venues – surrounding hub venues, smaller specialized offerings that feed into the fickleness of consumers looking for other options within easy walk of main venues.
  3. Chain concepts developing niche brands.
  4. Pair n' partner Pop Ups: Bringing a well-known chef in with an experienced bartender or bar team to deliver short term concepts.

Whereas the little guys were once the disrupters, the bigger players have learnt fast & scaled down to meet and beat the people who created market instability in the first place. 

Who’s the loser in this redrawn market place, now that's your call!





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