How this bar manager has established the Brisbane Valley Tavern in Fernvale as a home away from home for families.
When you think of the word pub, family friendly probably isn’t the first word that springs to mind. However, that’s not the case at the Brisbane Valley Tavern in Fernvale. We sat down with Sam Wyatt, owner operator and family man, to discuss how he’s successfully managed to combine his two passions in life; family and his pub.
WHO IS HIS TARGET MARKET?
Families. I want out place to be fun for the whole family. Some pubs promote a sense of segregation where all the blokes are in the bar area and the women and children are sitting out the back in the bistro. Our open plan layout means that there’s no segregation and the whole family can be together in the one are; you can have Dads standing at the bar having a drink while mums are sitting at 6the tables and kids are doing colour-ins or playing in the kids area. Many of our staff are actually former child care professionals so this works well with our target demographic.
HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR PRODUCT?
Facebook! We are a small family owned business so radio and newspaper advertising isn’t often financially viable for us. We do a letterbox drop every couple of months that list all the upcoming events, promotions and any specials. We use Instagram and we have also got a big following on Snap Chat. I realised that all the young people use Snap Chat so I’ve given all my staff log ins into our account and encourage them to post videos and photos whilst they are on shift. We then post the links to our Snap Chat content on our Facebook account. We’ve got over 200 followers on Snap Chat and it’s working really well for us. We are on Trip Advisor but aren’t very active on this platform at this stage.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NEGATIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I’ve had to do a bit of internal training with my staff who have access to our social media accounts, especially Facebook. If we receive negative comments on Facebook, I don’t want to fuel the fire by arguing with clients over social media. I think the best option is just to ignore it and be nice.
DO YOU ADVERTISE?
We sporadically advertise in the Gatton Star publications but it depends on what the deal is and whether its financially attainable for us at the time.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS BUSINESS OWNER?
As a lease-owner (I own the business but lease the building), the high overheads are by far the biggest challenge.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THIS CHALLENGE?
I work as much as possible!
DO YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OTHER CHALLENGES?
An increase in a lower socio-economic demographic in the general area.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
By continuing to market our venue as a family friendly place. This usually deters trouble makers, but in the event there is trouble, we have a zero tolerance policy and a no second chances philosophy. Trouble makers aren’t given a second chance, they are banned for life. I also have loyal patrons who support me in this and they won’t put up with nonsense. They have my back. We’re one big happy family here and no one wants to mess with us.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVISE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN?
Be yourself. Just do what works and be fair to everyone.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PRODUCT FRESH?
We are always introducing new products and services like our new smoker that I built. Our chef is now experimenting with smoked meats and we’ve got an ever changing menu. We also do new games and activities like the cyclone cash machine. It’s a glass box with a big fan in it and a lucky winner is locked in with hundreds of dollars worth of cash flying around in there. They have 15 seconds to grab as much as they can, and they walk away with however much they can catch. It creates fun and excitement and after it’s over I always let the kids jump in just for a bit of fun and so the parents can take photos of them.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER BUSINESS OWNERS IN THE AREA?
Be confident and don’t miss out on opportunities because of self doubt.