Is Leagues In Resturants/Bars Worth It For The Establishment?

JessEm

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Host locations with two tables. Does it increase revenue? Expand customer base? What's the incentive for them?

Is the impact on their bottom line noticeable?

The reason I ask is because there's local establishment under new ownership and he's doing a great job of breathing life into the place. New exterior, new parking lot, remodeled interior, great environment, bands every weekend, decent food, etc... There's a big arcade area, among other things, and the place still has plenty of space to burn. Would be great for pool/leagues, but the owner is super reluctant. I'm convinced the owner has some irrational misconception against pool for some reason. Which is weird because he's looking for ways to make money, hence my question.
 

Chili Palmer

20.769%
Silver Member
League on weekends is generally bad thing for bars as they are usually already busy. The best time for league is when the place is dead. Sunday through Thursday. Oftentimes the bars we play at for league are just about empty by the time we leave.

I used to play in a city league in Omaha and one of the things we used to tell prospective bars was - there are at least 12 people who are guaranteed to be here on league night that are guaranteed NOT to be here if they play somewhere else.


In short - yes - it can help but it has to be on the right night(s).
 

goettlicher

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Some leagues spend money at their location, others don't.

Our Tuesday VNEA Bar league usually eat and drink at the location.

Tough question to answer.

randyg
 

MattPoland

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
On slow days, sure.

But pool players can be weird. They can get irate with staff when service is weird. But it’s hard to serve 20-30 people that show up, staggered arrivals, are all over the room, don’t know if they’ll eat or not, ask for food an hour later, many others not eating or drinking, they get rude with other patrons, they can be awkwardly loud, and suddenly they all want to cash out at once.

If you have another event like Karaoke or Trivia going on, you’re probably better off without the pool players there too.


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ctyhntr

RIP Kelly
Silver Member
There are alot of details missing and it depends.

Around me, one of the APA league operators demand free table time, and APA being the only league. So, agreeing to this bargain means the owner can't run his own league or tournament. This makes big difference if you're a pool hall with 20 tables versus a bar with 2 tables. In my area, prior to the lockdown there were tons of in-house leagues and tournaments.
 

CocoboloCowboy

Cowboys are my heros.
Silver Member
League owners, operators cash in, everyone else is a looser. IMHO a smart bar or resturant owner would demand a table useage fee for league, unless a certain dollar amount was spent by league players.
 

jimmyco

NRA4Life
Gold Member
Silver Member
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Sounds like the owner knows his business.
 

trob

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Just depends ... My brother in law just got rid of Apa leagues because they weren’t
Really buying anything and with all the people he had wanting to play pool it wasn’t making money for him. Not to mention he would find empty bottles of liquor they brought in with them which in pa if caught could cost you your liquor license.

I don’t understand why anyone would have them in on the weekends. Leagues our to help you put bodies in your bar on slow nights. If you need that you have big problems with your business you better figure out.
 

Chili Palmer

20.769%
Silver Member
Just depends ... My brother in law just got rid of Apa leagues because they weren’t
Really buying anything and with all the people he had wanting to play pool it wasn’t making money for him. Not to mention he would find empty bottles of liquor they brought in with them which in pa if caught could cost you your liquor license.

I don’t understand why anyone would have them in on the weekends. Leagues our to help you put bodies in your bar on slow nights. If you need that you have big problems with your business you better figure out.

I can't blame the guy for kicking them out. It's sad that a few bad apples can ruin things.
 

The_JV

Local_Pro
There are pool leagues, and then there are bar leagues. Different categories, generally with players of a different mindset. At least that's the way it is around my neck of the woods.

If he does opt for a league, then it would need to be on his slowest day, and with a "bar" league. These tend to have a membership that's most about the evening rather than the pool. That equates to booze and food.

The bulk of CPA(APA) and similar "pool leagues" are to the brim with folks that think they can play and might buy a beer and/or some fries, but that's it. The local "Superior" bar league, is full of bar hopping booze hounds that drink by the pitcher and live on wings...lol.
 

crazy8legs

Registered
The bar leagues I played in were APA, and all of them benefited the bar. They were on Monday and/or Tuesday nights, and a green fee was charged that went back to the bar. If you could get a league in on those nights and the people aren't jerks it should be good.

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justadub

Rattling corners nightly
Silver Member
Only a shady league operator “demands” table time. I have NEVER had my table time given by a bar unless it was completely voluntary.

We only recently had to start paying greens fees here, and only because due to Covid restrictions, we could only have 50 people in the room at a time, so there wasn't the usual 100-120 people in there drinking. None of us have complained (seriously) about it. I expect that once the restrictions are lifted, the greens fees will be too...
 

Geosnooker

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One sports bar in our city hosts ‘Meet Up‘ pool leagues on weekday Afternoons and Midweek evenings. 4 tables...at least 50 attending. Owner puts a couple of vases of flowers on the tables, bathrooms are squeaky clean. And he welcomes everyone. My wife and her friends feel comfortable and look forward to the outing. It’s the only place she will linger later with a second glass of wine chatting away.

Even better For the bar, many now go to play pool there when not league hours.

There are good bar owners but many are just not good at expanding their clientele. It’s not just about getting a couple dozen into your bar but getting a few to return with friends etc.

It’s the same with dance clubs, etc. Smart owners host vents not to necessarily make a profit but to expose potential patrons to the site. People return to what is familiar.
 
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Scrunge19

Registered
As with most things, the answer to your question isn't as black or white as you may hope for. Every league is different and can vary wildly in terms of profitability for the owner. Given pool's reputation and depending on the establishment your owner is trying to run, I can at least understand why he may be hesitant to get in bed with a pool league. This is especially true if things are working well right now financially. Some people are content with what they have if it's working as opposed to pushing the boundaries and risk straying too far from a winning formula.

If I owned a bar and wasn't into pool at all, I'd probably at least try hosting a league night sometime during the week for a few seasons to get a better feel for how it operates. From there I could determine if the league was bringing in enough extra revenue to justify reserving my tables for a league as opposed to allowing regular bar patrons to use them. I do think it's true that pool players can be some of the cheapest people on the planet but you won't know what kind of players you have if you never experiment.

The league I play in has more people who want to drink and play pool as opposed to those looking to play pool and drink if that makes sense. This is obviously a more profitable scenario for the owners of the places I play as I'm sure they make more money off of people buying 8 beers a night than those playing pool for an hour or two at $1/game. Although it does suck for me as I don't really drink and am there to play pool as opposed to binge drink, be obnoxious, and then drive myself home.
 

JessEm

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
there are at least 12 people who are guaranteed to be here on league night that are guaranteed NOT to be here if they play somewhere else.

Perfect...

Our leagues here run on weeknights, M-Th. The bars are generally slow on these nights. In many of the venues, league players account for the bulk of patrons. In a couple places, they've been the ONLY patrons on a few occasions. I can't imagine it's bad for the bar. I'm in the suburbs and people have jobs and don't do karaoke during the week around here.

Here's the deal. This guy bought the place about 2 years ago after it went under. His experience with a venture of this nature is questionable. I think he poured everything he's got into it. So far, he's done a great job. Remarkably well, actually, considering the current political climate in this state. People are latching on, and business seems to have done a 180 over the previous owners.

Over a year ago I started suggesting he replace the lone POS table, and get leagues in there. This establishment has more than enough space, and the atmosphere is great for pool playing. However, when I brought up leagues, he wasn't the least bit interested. The most I got was, "kids ruin pool tables therefore he keeps the cue ball behind the bar"... No love for pool... On New Years Eve, champagne glasses were stacked on the table like a pyramid. On another night, a buddy and myself had been shooting, when his manager decided to stop us because a band was coming on. The table was at the opposite end of this large building from the stage and seating, with a expansive bar situated in between. Pool wasn't interfering with other patrons or their experience in the least. Not even a little. But this managers attitude seemed contemptuous. (In fairness to the venue, I haven't seen that manager now in a handful of visits and I wonder if he's still there.)

I wanted to provide a little background here but this getting long winded so I'll cut to the chase. A few weeks ago I sent in reps from two different leagues to work on the owner. Rep #1 met with him, took some measurements, and reported back, "He's thinking about it, should hear back in a week." This was a huge breakthrough. Two days later, Rep #2 went in, and the owner flipped. His vendor installed two Diamonds a week later.

The owner told the Reps he is giving it a try, and made clear it was on a trial basis. However, I believe he is setting himself up for failure.

Here's the problem. There's no lights over the tables. (Another "problem" is $2/games, when everywhere else is $1.5. I don't believe this alone will make-or-break most team's decision to play there, but combined with the lighting issue it will be a hard pass).

The first league night was this Monday. On Tuesday, one of the Reps contacted the owner about lights. His response was, "The vendor tried dropping off lights but they don't work with his current layout.. eventually he would figure it out." The truth is, he isn't comfortable with the idea of pool leagues yet, and doesn't want to further commit to two tables by installing lights above them.

I want to see this particular establishment succeed. Leagues bring additional patrons, particularly during weeknight "downtimes". Not to mention new patrons who will continue to visit outside of leagues.

To be honest, I believe the owner was oblivious to the mere existence of pool leagues. I'm glad he's giving it a try. Leagues seem to be a good arrangement for the other host venues. Although, I'm afraid it's not going to work out unless he makes an honest effort... Very little is required to accommodate pool players. For the most part they carry all of their own equipment. However, there is a few small requirements that will make-it-or-brake-it for them.

Ultimately here, he needs lights. I need to convince the owner that leagues will be good, while explaining why half-assing it won't work.
 
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boogieman

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that ping.
Perfect...

Our leagues here run on weeknights, M-Th. The bars are generally slow on these nights. In many of the venues, league players account for the bulk of patrons. In a couple places, they've been the ONLY patrons on a few occasions. I can't imagine it's bad for the bar. I'm in the suburbs and people have jobs and don't do karaoke during the week around here.

Here's the deal. This guy bought the place about 2 years ago after it went under. His experience with a venture of this nature is questionable. I think he poured everything he's got into it. So far, he's done a great job. Remarkably well, actually, considering the current political climate in this state. People are latching on, and business seems to have done a 180 over the previous owners.

Over a year ago I started suggesting he replace the lone POS table, and get leagues in there. This establishment has more than enough space, and the atmosphere is great for pool playing. However, when I brought up leagues, he wasn't the least bit interested. The most I got was, "kids ruin pool tables therefore he keeps the cue ball behind the bar"... No love for pool... On New Years Eve, champagne glasses were stacked on the table like a pyramid. On another night, a buddy and myself had been shooting, when his manager decided to stop us because a band was coming on. The table was at the opposite end of this large building from the stage and seating, with a expansive bar situated in between. Pool wasn't interfering with other patrons or their experience in the least. Not even a little. But this managers attitude seemed contemptuous. (In fairness to the venue, I haven't seen that manager now in a handful of visits and I wonder if he's still there.)

I wanted to provide a little background here but this getting long winded so I'll cut to the chase. A few weeks ago I sent in reps from two different leagues to work on the owner. Rep #1 met with him, took some measurements, and reported back, "He's thinking about it, should hear back in a week." This was a huge breakthrough. Two days later, Rep #2 went in, and the owner flipped. His vendor installed two Diamonds a week later.

The owner told the Reps he is giving it a try, and made clear it was on a trial basis. However, I believe he is setting himself up for failure.

Here's the problem. There's no lights over the tables. (Another "problem" is $2/games, when everywhere else is $1.5. I don't believe this alone will make-or-break most team's decision to play there, but combined with the lighting issue it will be a hard pass).

The first league night was this Monday. On Tuesday, one of the Reps contacted the owner about lights. His response was, "The vendor tried dropping off lights but they don't work with his current layout.. eventually he would figure it out." The truth is, he isn't comfortable with the idea of pool leagues yet, and doesn't want to further commit to two tables by installing lights above them.

I want to see this particular establishment succeed. Leagues bring additional patrons, particularly during weeknight "downtimes". Not to mention new patrons who will continue to visit outside of leagues.

To be honest, I believe the owner was oblivious to the mere existence of pool leagues. I'm glad he's giving it a try. Leagues seem to be a good arrangement for the other host venues. Although, I'm afraid it's not going to work out unless he makes an honest effort... Very little is required to accommodate pool players. For the most part they carry all of their own equipment. However, there is a few small requirements that will make-it-or-brake-it for them.

Ultimately here, he needs lights. I need to convince the owner that leagues will be good, while explaining why half-assing it won't work.

Sounds like they don't know the first thing about pool and see it as a nuisance more than anything. I don't think I'd even play in a place that didn't have lights above the table. First impressions are important, and whoever has been there to play pool has probably had a bad first impression. If they don't do it right from the beginning, it's only going to get worse.
 

crazy8legs

Registered
I agree 100% about the lights. No one who really likes to play pool (i.e. those shooting in a league) will really want to shoot on those tables, Diamonds or not.

Also $2.00/game is too high unless you're in NYC or SF. A 7/7 matchup could cost $18 if it goes hill hill, then add in league fees...


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trob

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Sounds like they don't know the first thing about pool and see it as a nuisance more than anything. I don't think I'd even play in a place that didn't have lights above the table. First impressions are important, and whoever has been there to play pool has probably had a bad first impression. If they don't do it right from the beginning, it's only going to get worse.

While I can agree they can at least put lights up you have to understand the difference between a bar and a pool hall.

A pool hall I expect excellent equipment and a respect for the game. Pool is their bread and butter.

A bar is their for food and drinking. Pool tables , dart boards etc. are just there to give you something to do so you stay longer. So of course Pool leagues is about more then just a way to put ass’s in seats to make money.
 
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