Would you use Facebook as a way to screen customers before letting them into your bar?
Of course you use Facebook to promote your bar and communicate with your customers. But have you ever thought of using it as a bouncer?
That’s exactly what Tony Mannor, the owner of Finnegan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, is doing. If you’re one of Mannor’s 7,000 Facebook friends, you’re welcome to visit his bar and have a great time. But if you’re not, you’ll have to go somewhere else.
Mannor instituted this unusual policy when he became concerned about violence and troublemaking customers. Since he made the change, he says, “customers get along and have fun, while problem customers have virtually disappeared.”
While Mannor may be happy with his policy, it might not be a good idea for every bar. Before you institute a Facebook-friends-only rule at your bar, consider the following pros and cons.
A sense of community.
If you’re Facebook friends with every customer, you’ll have a chance to learn their names and recognize them. What’s more, your customers will get a chance to interact and get to know each other. This can turn your business from just another bar into a community gathering spot.
When you have a personal connection with everyone in your bar, you’ll likely have fewer problem customers. People will come to see your bar as a safe, friendly place.
You’re in control.
You can screen out people whom you think would cause trouble before they even walk through your doors. This means that you have ultimate control over the atmosphere in your bar, and you can spend your time growing your business instead of cleaning up after rowdy customers.
It limits customers.
If you only let in your Facebook friends, you’re limiting your customer base. Of course, you can always add more friends, but some people may not want to jump through the extra hoops. They may decide to skip the hassle and just go to another bar instead.
You can be accused of discrimination.
What criteria are you using to decide who gets in? If you routinely turn away any one group of people, you can be accused of discriminating against them. This can lead to bad press or even a lawsuit.
Patrons can feel too safe.
The truth is, even if you’re only letting your Facebook friends into your bar, you never really know what will happen. You can’t guarantee that everyone you know is a trustworthy person. Your customers, however, may assume that if you’re vetting your clientele, they can trust everyone. This could lead to customers being taken advantage of.
Would you think about instituting a Facebook-friends-only policy at your bar? What are your thoughts – we want to hear them!