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Relating Bar Rescue (Spike TV) to the Automotive Business


As I watch new episodes of "Bar Rescue" on Spike I am amazed at some of the things that I have learned about the food and beverage industry.  I have been watching this show with a very open mind to understand what I can do to improve my business practices.  What I have found was that this show has business practices that even automotive professionals and managers need to consider taking a look at.  Let's take a look at what I am talking about.

1. "Drinks should always be 1 oz of liquor to 3 oz of mix.  The perfect oz is a 90 degree angle for 3.5 seconds."  This is one of the quotes that Jon has been using.  He talks about this in order to teach bar owners how to save money to increase ROI.  I find that when looking at the automotive sales process dealers have similar issues with untrained or unexperienced sales consultants letting the customer leave without giving management an opportunity to do a proper TO.  In fact I remember being a new sales person and this happened to me.  My manager had said to me, "congratulations, you just cost the dealership $600" with a hint that every missed opportunity costs the dealership $600.  Just like in the scenario of saving money and maximizing opportunities for a bar the proper process and training in the showroom will save the business money invested.

2. "When customers order drinks like vodka and cranberry, always suggest premium liquor with that.  About 25% of the time you will sell a more expensive brand and that's 25% more cash in your pocket".  This quote can apply to many parts of the sales process including selling add-on accessories, working with a trade in, or even selling products in the finance department.  As a sales professional it is simple to improve profits, get a customer more excited, and provide more value to them by just simply offering to take a look at some more options.  The service department does this be offering to take care of something on the current vehicle sooner then later.  This is a method of up selling.

3. "Redesigning the menu can immediately increase your profit.  Proven techniques by like boxing and shadowing your dishes can increase sales by 10% overnight and it encourages people to go for more expensive items which is the name of the game."  We have all been taught to offer our customers choices and that is a huge part of why finance managers design a menu to sell from.  While selling the most expensive package on the menu will improve the gross profit of a deal it will also offer the customer more added value.  The same added value that will keep them coming back to your dealership for service, future vehicles, and even offer you referrals.  This is the art of letting the customer up sell themselves.

4. In some episodes of the show, Jon Taffer says that "statistically guests will stay 52 minutes longer when they have a mean" when he stresses the importance of offering a food menu.  As a bar consultant and expert he teaches bar owners how to make profits using these technique to up sell guests.  The automotive business is constantly growing by up selling.  When it comes to sales think about that customer that purchased a vehicle to own for a long period of time but did not buy an extended warranty. Also, when offering to take a look at accessories and showing customers the nice things they can do to make their vehicle look and drive nicer we are up selling.  In service, advisors are always up selling when technicians notice that something will have to be replaced soon by offering the guest to get it done now instead of waiting.  Obviously, the business office is in charge of signing up guests and also offering them more value while up selling them in order to improve the gross profit of the deal.  What about vendors selling to dealers?  A dealer signs up with a vendor for a product and starts to use it successfully but to keep up with competition the company creates a new package to present to the dealership.  This is also an up sell.  

Alright, so 3/4 of the Jon Taffer quotes that I related to that automotive industry involve up selling and improving profits while the first statement involve process management.  The bottom line is that every industry practices up selling and there is nothing wrong with it.  A business will grow and maintain success through proper process, marketing, and sales techniques no matter what industry it serves. 

I would like to welcome comments and opinions to this discussion.

Views: 165

Tags: automotive industry, automotive internet sales, bdc management, dealer etraining, dealer management, stan sher


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Comment by Stan Sher on March 25, 2013 at 2:19pm

Thank you so much for your insight.  You mentioned exactly what I was aiming for.

Comment by Alyssa Gomez on March 25, 2013 at 1:23pm

I went to school for hospitality management and have a 12 year background in this field prior to coming into this industry. I could probably go on and on about some of these situations. For now I will just touch on #1.

Most corporate restaurants make you use a Jigger. This is a tool to measure the amount of liquor. This helps with consistency and cost. The product is always the same. Not every person can count and pour every time perfect. I used to challenge my bartenders by pouring against them. I would pour 3 different times and they would. If they beat me, I bought dinner or handed them money. It held them accountable for their work and let them know I could do it just as well they could. I also use to make them pour before they started their shift.

I am sure you can see where this can lead to. Hold your salesman accountable, be out there and do it with them, and have some form of measurement.


This also reminds me of a book, Service that Sells. It is a quick reader and someone with a mind like ours Stan, will get a lot out of it. There is a story inside that is about a server who sold a burger to someone. They called it the garbage burger. When the gentleman ordered a regular burger, she asked him if he wanted cheese and bacon. Then she offered chili on top of it, it was her favorite. She called it the garbage burger. She sold this with an ice cold coca cola and made this check go from a normal $3.45 to $6.50. He sent his buddy's in. They had a different server who did not offer cheese and bacon and said gross when they asked about chili. These guys ordered waters and had hamburgers. There bill for both guys was $6.90. These are not the exact story, but I think you understand. Same restaurant, different experience. Also, the words and actions server #1 sold were different from the other servers. That server's tip percentage would be higher and she would make more money. 


It is all about presentation, attitude, words and desire. If someone is just there to do their job and leave, then they will never make the money they could. This was a great article I can definitely relate to Stan!  

Comment by Stan Sher on March 25, 2013 at 12:32pm

Dave is right on the money.  You are seeing the similarity just like I am.  Great points.

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 25, 2013 at 12:21pm

Good point Dave, nice analogy.

Comment by Dave Erickson on March 25, 2013 at 12:20pm

I actually like really like this show. There are a lot of good things to take away from it. For instance I sit in a building that doesn't look like it's part of the dealership. There are some generally useless pictures of some cars on the windows facing a train line that stops right in front of these windows. When John pulls up and checks out the signage at a bar I think he'd have something to say about this situation. Thousands of people per day are just sitting on that train staring at this building every day and we're not sending them a message.

Also, I like how he said the ideal bar should be 80% regular and 20% new customers. In the car business perhaps we should adjust our advertising and processes to retain more of our regular or local customers instead of blowing through our budgets looking the new ones? 

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 25, 2013 at 11:46am

You could do this with many of their "save me from destruction" reality TV shows. Find a Gordon Ramsey in the automotive world and let him loose on the BDC, Internet and Marketing departments at dealerships. It would be a hoot, but sadly it's probably warranted.

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