I suppose it has been a bit of a mixed week as we continue to fight for the ‘ever- diminishing customer base’ who live in and around the ‘Darkside.’ August is probably the worst of the three ‘low season’ months as all the expats flock to back their European roots to meet up with their children and grandchildren, (who are on school holidays at this time of year), and also to take advantage of the warm European summers.
As one of my most loyal customers said to me the other day, ‘Mobi, there is only one piece of cake’ and there are simply too many bars all trying to get their own slice of it.’
Yet another bar has opened during the past couple of weeks, albeit on the ground floor of a new holiday resort, and whether or not it succeeds, it will add the ever-growing number of bars that make it even harder for Mobi’s to attract and keep it’s customers.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, and I have to say that in spite of our bar’s very humble ‘attributes’, we seem to still be doing better than most, and every time we have a run of very low days, we then seem to get a crowd in which tends to balance everything up.
The stark fact that many of the other bars must be going bust is not much comfort to me – however I look at it.
I have every sympathy for them as I know that the owners have put a lot of money and effort into these places in the hope they will provide a nice little income, and I know exactly how they must feel when things don’t quite go the way they had hoped for.
The second reason is that when bars go broke, they don’t disappear, they just get sold on to a new entrepreneur, often at ‘give away’ prices if the previous owner becomes desperate for money.
Occasionally the current owner decides to do a little con-job, and manages to find a new, unsuspecting investor who he somehow manages to convince that his bar is the best thing since sliced bread. The buyer then hands over a grossly inflated price for the privilege of watching his new venture slowly go broke.
The proud new owner – be he business savvy or not – will then continue to make a dent in the trade of the bars around him as he has his opening parties etc and attracts customers who go to see if the new management is doing any better than the old one.
In the end, even if he only manages to only retain a handful of customers, it is a handful of customers who will not be going to the other bars.
And as my friend said… ‘there is only one piece of cake’….
A bar which is not too far away from Mobi’s is now offering all their beer at a single, very low price, which can only be described as an act of desperation.
They are selling their higher priced brands of beer at nigh on cost price, and the profit margins on their lower priced brands of beer must be severely compromised
So far, the outcome of this massive discounting looks like it has not been a roaring success.
While they do seem to get a few customers in the afternoon who might not have otherwise gone there, the overall number of customers they have attracted by their low beer prices is pretty paltry and many is the evening when they still do not have a single customer in their bar.
As it happens, Mobi’s is one of the few bars that has always operated a ‘Happy Hour’, (from Noon to 4 pm), and during this period, we offer 20% discount off all our customer’s drinks. This actually means that our cheapest beers are sold even lower than the discounting bar……
But, like the discounting, bar, our daily ‘Happy Hour’ doesn’t bring us too many extra customers as quite frankly, we are not really much of an afternoon bar.
On most days, the afternoons are still pretty hot, and it is generally only the ‘hardened drinkers’- dare I say alcoholics – who venture out before sundown, and while not wishing to refuse to serve any customer who has the means to pay – providing he behaves himself – hardened afternoon drinkers are not really the type that we encourage to patronise Mobi’s.
In any case, the afternoon drinking crowd are generally very careful with their pennies, and they rarely buy anything except their own beers. No food orders, no ladies’ drinks and so on, so they are not bringing the bar very much in the way of profits.
By contrast, Mobi’s often gets a few customers around noon time who want a quick lunch-time snack, or even a full meal, and on other days,we get a few in from 5 pm onwards, when the weather starts to cool down. Some of these also order a few nibbles from our ever expanding menu.
On the subject of food, I think we are probably near to our maximum number of menu items until we go to the next stage in our catering effort, which will be to employ a full time cook.
All our food is cooked from frozen which means there is no wastage. The latest items to grace our menu are Spaghetti Bolognase and Steak Pie and Chips (with or without baked beans), and this more or less completes our expanded menu which also includes Chicken Curry and Rice, Jumbo Hot Dogs, French Fries, Spring Rolls, and Chicken Nuggets.
Many people have written in – both on my blog and on the Thai Visa expat forum – to suggest tasty snacks which they recommend we try. Most, if not all these well-meaning folk, have not grasped the fact that we do not have a cook and at the moment the number of food orders are too unpredictable and sporadic for us to risk buying fresh food ingredients which will spoil over time.
In fact,my dearest Noo, who along with her stock buying duties in the morning (which entails driving into town and loading up cases of beer etc onto the back our pick-up), running the cash till and bar-tending in the afternoon and evenings, still ‘cooks’ most of the food herself, as she doesn’t trust anyone else to do it properly.
And on top of all that she has to look after me……..
Yes, Noo is truly a Saint. What on earth did I do to deserve such a wife?