Mastering Your Bar’s Neighborhood With Train Station Pub

By Reggie Woo


Reggie Woo

November 4, 2016

Posted in Restaurant Management, Industry & Culture

Everyone has their own favorite neighborhood spot. But how do you transform your place into that deep local recommendation?

The Train Station Pub recently celebrated its fifth anniversary of continued existence—an achievement that many industry professionals will understand to be a momentous one. This Canadian gastropub has been a local mainstay in the city of Kelowna, British Columbia for quite some time. Long enough to see their neighborhood change and see their own practices change alongside it.

After chatting with Dave Lindsay, one of the partners in the group that runs The Train Station Pub, we’ve compiled some tips that you can learn from their experiences to make sure your place stays a local favorite.

What is your identity?

When you’re opening a restaurant or bar, it is key to establish your identity within the local community as quickly as possible. Once people understand who you are and what you can bring to the table, the easier it will be to set incoming guest expectations and ultimately convince them to visit on a more frequent basis.

The team at The Train Station Pub really got off on the right foot when choosing their location. Building out of a surviving historic train station, the restaurant was born in an area that was very industrial at the time. Because of that, there wasn’t much competition in terms of food and beverage options in the immediate area when the the Train Station Pub was getting its feet on the ground.

“It gave us an opportunity for building roots in that part of town,” Dave told us. “It also gave us time to build the business.”

Who are your (ideal) guests?

As you build out your proverbial roots, you should be evaluating your local market along the way. What can you do to resonate more with your target audience? To connect more with their guests and feature the neighborhood they work in, the team running the bar program at The Train Station Pub made the conscious effort to feature local craft beer on their tap lines as well as locally produced wine.

There are methods you can utilize to pull the right people back, regardless of the season you’re in. In order to encourage return visits from their local audience, The Train Station Pub holds daily rotating features as well as food and drink specials, ensuring a fresh motivation for people coming back again. Frequently holding special events at your establishment, or piggybacking off of local events in the area, is another way to encourage continual patronage from your guests.

How is your neighborhood changing? (And how do you adapt?)

The Train Station Pub has been around long enough to start to see the local market change. The neighborhood has seen many of its businesses move a little farther out of the city. Because of that, the area has slowly but surely transformed into a bit of a cultural center for Kelowna. It has since added a slew of condos and competitors for The Train Station Pub.

The team at The Train Station Pub has been forced to adapt to this new competitive landscape. Depending on the roots they’ve built over time, the bar program has also gotten more effective with the addition of tools like BevSpot. With managers being enabled to lower variance, it has given them an edge over their new competitors.

You can see how BevSpot has helped The Train Station Pub keep its hold over the local neighborhood in the full story.

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