Thinking outside the box

Thriving, not surving
Thinking outside the box

Liam HoranLiam Horan

A MAN told me recently about a bar somewhere – Amsterdam, he thinks – that resolutely refuses to sell drink.
When I heard it, my interest was immediately pricked. Something as obviously crazy as that deserves further scrutiny.
Why do people go to bars? Primarily to socialise – to meet other people, either existing friends, or new people, or both.
The drink, therefore, is merely a vehicle. The venue, and the presence of people socialising and having a drink, are the key components.
So it seems this bar owner somewhere thought it through still further – and decided to supply a venue where people could bring their own drink, thereby facilitating social interaction.
All grand and dandy – or Beano or Roy of the Rovers, for that matter – I hear you say. But how does yon Mr Blouser or Mr Inch or Mr Mick Byrne make his money then?
He rents fridges.
Yes, he rents fridges.
You bring your beer, get the key of the fridge off him in return for a small consideration, pop your drink into said fridge, and simply move around the bar to meet people, returning to your fridge whenever you need a top-up.
That’s what the man told me.
And I believe him.
I suspect the bar-owner is making money – I certainly hope he is.
Think of all the perks for the bar-owner. No issues with paying for stock before it sells. No issue with storing stock. No issues with keeping pipes clean and moving well.
Too often, we do things the way they have always been done. We see only the beaten path (time was we saw only The Beaten Path), and we follow it slavishly. We may veer a thou left or a thou right, but we don’t fully explore the options on the fringes/fridges.
One day, I hope to walk into a restaurant where the owner tips the customers. When you leave, he/she comes out after you and says “you’ve been a great customer, here’s a tenner back for yourself” or “Sir, you’ve been lousy, a right grouch, a long face on you like a beaten election candidate – here’s a euro for yourself, and please don’t come back.”
Why not?
It would introduce a bit of novelty to the whole thing. Innovation comes from people trying something new.
Meanwhile, I hear you ask, what was the result of last week’s online poll which posed the question: Do early-payment discounts work?
Sometimes – 58 per cent;
Rarely – 25 per cent;
Very often – 17 per cent;
Never – 0 per cent.
Undoubtedly, it varies from sector to sector. But the combined wisdom of this readership would certainly point towards it being a good idea to at least look at early-payment discounts.
This week’s poll on is: How well do you rate your own website?

Liam Horan runs , a communications consultancy based in Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo, with a strategic partnership with Dublin-based Pembroke Communications.