Become a Member of PA Taverns
Preferred Vendors of PA Taverns

PA Taverns

Latest News

By in Latest News Comments Off on HB 1274 Introduced; Seeks improvements in tavern gaming

HB 1274 Introduced; Seeks improvements in tavern gaming

Rep. Kurt Masser (R-Northumberland/Columbia/Montour) has introduced HB 1274, designed to make tavern gaming more attractive and profitable for both bar owners and the state.

By Igor Ovsyannykov [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cosponsors are Steve Barrar (R, Delaware), Tony DeLuca (D, Allegheny), Lee James (R, Clarion), Mike Jones (R, York), David Millard (R, Northumberland), Chris Sainato (D, Beaver), Stan Saylor (R, York) and Jeff Wheeland (R, Lycoming). The bill now sits in the House Gaming Control Committee.

“We thank Rep. Masser, who is a true champion for Pennsylvania taverns, bars, and lounges as well as their patrons,” said Chuck Moran, executive director for the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.

“We know that the current business model for tavern gaming has not attracted a large number of establishments,” Moran continued. “With adjustments that Rep. Masser’s bill would make, the model becomes more attractive for business owners, which hopefully encourages more taverns to offer these types of games to patrons and thus could increase revenue coming into the state.”

Highlights of the bill as introduced include

  • adding “E” licenses to those able to offer tavern games
  • defines net revenue
  • reduces annual fees
  • improves the amount of net revenue a tavern owner may keep
  • lowers taxes paid on tavern games
  • lowers civil penalties
  • adds daily drawing, weekly drawing, and raffle drawing definitions

Tavern owners are encouraged to thank Rep. Masser by sending him a message via his website.

 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on How Millennials Influence the Bar and Tavern Industry

How Millennials Influence the Bar and Tavern Industry

Possible profits for bar owners may now be coming from millennials, the largest US demographic1. Recent statistics show that millennials choose to go out to bars and taverns more frequently and spend more for alcohol on premise than older generations2. Finding ways to cater to their needs could lead to even healthier business. Speaking of healthy…

Health Conscious Millennials
Preferring to keep themselves fit, millennials gravitate towards healthier food and beverage options. Bartenders can take advantage of this by creating new, low calorie drinks in addition to their regular cocktails. Millennials are attracted to innovative ideas such as low-proof spirits and are more likely to frequent establishments that offer them2. Plus, because these distinct drinks are still specially made, bar owners can charge a price close to that of a standard cocktail.

New Type of Culture
Lifestyle is a key component of the millennial generation and includes everything from clothing to dining and even beverages. Millennials drink as a form of communicating their “identity” and are willing to pay extra for it2. They are drawn towards a variety of beverage types from beer to vodka to mixed drinks to cider, but find any new cocktail concoction to be the most appealing2. Most millennials see trendsetting as part of their “identity”, giving their business to bars that continue to infuse their menus with fresh choices.

Meeting up in groups at taverns has also become a popular activity among millennials. Open to the prospect of unique cocktails and meals, they are turning a “night out at the bar” into a warm, food-and-drink-consuming experience3. The more engaging bar and tavern owners make this experience, the more millennials may increase their stay and, most importantly, the amount of money they spend. Cheers!

 

This article is written by Robert Falvo, Retail Practice Leader at ProSight Specialty Insurance Brokerage, and sponsored by ProSight Brokerage. For more information on ProSight, visit prosightbrokerage.com/patavernassoc.

SOURCES:

  1. Source: CNN Library, American Generation Fast Facts, 9/4/18, cnn.com
  2. Source: Harry Hoyer, Millennials Think Before They Drink, 8/18/17, Nielsen.com
  3. Source: Taphunter, How Bars and Restaurants Can Appeal to Millennials in the Age of Netflix, 3/23/18, taphunter.com

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLCB names top bidders in 8th “R” license auction

PLCB names top bidders in 8th “R” license auction

Following validation of 62 bids received by the March 25 deadline for the eighth restaurant license auction authorized by Act 39 of 2016, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has issued Notices of Selection to top bidders on 22 licenses.

Winning bids range from $28,888 for a license in Elk County to $276,100 for a license in Bucks County. The average winning bid in the eighth auction was $95,255.

The number of bids received for each of the 22 licenses receiving bids ranged from one to eight.

Three licenses – one each in Dauphin, Monroe, and Sullivan counties – received no valid bids.

A large percentage of winning bids came from a combination of gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and big box retailers. Sheetz won four licenses, while WaWa grabbed two. Other winning bidders included Walmart, Country Fair, Weis, Kang Fuel, and Preson Country Market.

A complete list of winning bids can be found by clicking here.

Top bidders have 14 days from the date of each Notice of Selection to remit full bid payment to the PLCB. If bid payment is not received within two weeks of auction award, the second-highest bidder will have the opportunity to remit its full bid payment.

Each auction winner has six months from the issuance of the Notice of Selection to file a license application with the PLCB. Bids will be held in escrow by the PLCB, pending approval of the license application.

This auction included one license in each of the following 25 counties: Berks, Blair, Bucks, Clearfield, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Venango, Wayne, and Westmoreland.

By in Latest News Comments Off on Bid Deadline for PLCB Auction of Expired Restaurant Licenses Fast Approaching

Bid Deadline for PLCB Auction of Expired Restaurant Licenses Fast Approaching

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) reminds interested parties that bids for 25 expired restaurant licenses in the upcoming license auction are due by noon Monday, March 25.

This auction includes one license in each of the following 25 counties: Berks, Blair, Bucks, Clearfield, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Pike, Sullivan, Venango, Wayne, and Westmoreland.

The eighth auction will again use a sealed bid process, which has so far resulted in winning bids on 235 licenses offered in previous auctions. Bids will be opened Thursday, March 28, and auction winners will be determined soon thereafter.

The minimum bid for each license is $25,000, and each bid must be accompanied by a bid surety of $5,000 or 5 percent of the total bid amount – whichever is higher – to avoid frivolous and underfunded bids.

The highest responsive bidder for each license will win the right to submit an application for the license to the PLCB within six months of auction award. If bid payment is not received within two weeks of auction award, the second-highest bidder will have the opportunity to apply for the license. Bids will be held in escrow by the PLCB, pending approval of the license application.

Lists of winning bids from each of the seven previous auctions are available on the license auction page of the PLCB website. Auction revenue recognized thus far from all previous auctions totals $25.1 million, while another $3.9 million remains in escrow, pending license approvals.

The PLCB regulates the distribution of beverage alcohol in Pennsylvania, operates more than 600 wine and spirits stores statewide, and licenses 20,000 alcohol producers, retailers, and handlers. The PLCB also works to reduce and prevent dangerous and underage drinking through partnerships with schools, community groups, and licensees. Taxes and store profits – totaling $16.5 billion since the agency’s inception – are returned to Pennsylvania’s General Fund, which finances Pennsylvania’s schools, health and human services programs, law enforcement, and public safety initiatives, among other important public services. The PLCB also provides financial support for the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, other state agencies, and local municipalities across the state. For more information about the PLCB, visit lcb.pa.gov.

 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Essential Tips for running a successful bar

Essential Tips for running a successful bar

Keeping your bar running successfully requires great effort. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you are operating efficiently and keeping your customers coming back.

1. Keep Drinks Fully Stocked And Conserved
Having your bar properly supplied to always meet demand may seem like a costly endeavor, however there is a simple solution. By keeping track of what your customers are drinking, as well as the types of alcohol that are most popular, you will be able to adjust your drink stock orders accordingly. You end up spending less money on alcohol that is not requested as frequently.

Also, properly measuring the amount of alcohol you serve helps prevent wasteful overpouring. There are many tools to assist in your alcohol conservation, such as measured pourers and jiggers.

2. Be Creative
Fixing a drink at home is much cheaper than going out, so providing customers with a unique experience in addition to the beverages is key. Stand out from the competition by offering something new and different. Create signature cocktails and fun food and drink specials that show off your bartenders’ creativity. And, don’t forget to utilize a “bar’s best bet” where the name says it all: Happy hours. From there, you can parlay that enjoyment into hosting events such as trivia nights, speed dating, karaoke, open mic nights, sports parties and more. Once you have a creative plan, getting the word out should be your next step. The most efficient method for doing so is through social media, a great way to connect with your customers and be a part of the community. By setting up profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you end up reaching many in a matter of seconds.

3. Point of Sale System (POS)
To properly keep track of transactions and organize orders, an electronic POS system is a must-have. It helps ensure a smooth communication of customer tabs between the waitstaff, bartender, and kitchen. A POS system also affords bar managers a firm grasp on inventory management, cash flow and data.

4. Protect Yourself with Liquor Liability Coverage
When your business centers on serving alcohol, the potential for risk can be significant. Taking proper steps to keep your bar protected is extremely important. Liquor liability coverage helps to defend your bar against increased insurance costs and even losing your business. It is also critical to have your staff effectively educated through an established alcohol training resource such as the Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) to educate and prepare them to deal with safety issues. For more information on getting the right bar insurance coverage, visit prosightbrokerage.com/patavernassoc.

In the competitive bar industry, increasing efficiencies, promoting customer events and having the right insurance coverage can lead to a successful business. Cheers!

This PLBTA Tip was written by Robert Falvo, Retail Practice Leader at ProSight Specialty Insurance Brokerage.  The PLBTA thanks ProSight for its support of Pennsylvania bars, taverns, and lounges.

 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLCB tips to avoid the most common citations

PLCB tips to avoid the most common citations

In an effort to help bars, restaurants, and taverns better understand various liquor laws and how to avoid fines and penalties, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has put together a list of the most common citation issues.  The five Liquor Code violations below are those for which licensees most frequently receive citations from the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.  Following each violation, we provide clarification on what the law requires and some tips on how to remain compliant.

Sales to Minors.
The Liquor Code expressly prohibits sales of alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, requires retail licensees to take steps to prevent sales to minors and provides penalties for licensees that sell to underage patrons.

To avoid sales to minors:

  • Develop and enforce strong policies regarding carding criteria (many retail licensees now employ 100 percent carding policies) and mandatory reporting of fraudulent IDs. Also develop a strong employee discipline policy for when carding and reporting policies are ignored or violated.
  • Provide continued training for employees, like RAMP server/seller training, and keep abreast of changes to ID formats and security features.
  • Utilize equipment like ID swipe devices and UV lights to check licenses.

Board-Approved Manager Failed to Complete RAMP Training within 180 Days.
The Liquor Code requires all managers to complete RAMP Owner/Manager training within 180 days of being appointed.  To avoid citation and ensure your new managers are trained timely, establish a RAMP compliance policy and implement a system to track deadlines any time a new manager is hired.  Also note that any change in the Board-approved manager must be reported to the PLCB within 15 days of the change.  And as a reminder, RAMP server/seller training must also be completed within six months of hiring a new alcohol service employee.

Illegal Gambling or Devices.
Relative to retail licensees, the only legal forms of gambling are Pennsylvania Lottery sales and small games of chance, including tavern gaming. Gambling like sports betting pools, quarter auctions and poker nights are illegal, as are any gambling devices that rely on a player’s skill to award prizes.

Certain games (pull tabs, daily drawings and raffles, for example), are legal, but only for clubs that obtain small games of chance licenses from county treasurers and retail licensees that apply for and obtain tavern gaming licenses from the PLCB.  Small games of chance and tavern games both have rules governing how often they can be conducted, how money derived from them can be used and record-keeping.  Tavern gaming licensees also have tax obligations specific to those games.

Permitted Smoking.
Since 2008, indoor smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, is generally prohibited.  To avoid citation, post signage that clearly indicates smoking won’t be tolerated, and provide continued training and discipline for employees to ensure the no-smoking policy is enforced.

No Valid Health Permit.
All retail liquor licensees must maintain a current and valid health permit issued by the local permitting authority.  Implement a system to track expiration dates and filing deadlines to avoid permit lapse and potential citation.

Establishments with questions regarding licensing matters may contact the PLCB Bureau of Licensing at ra-lblicensing@pa.gov or 717-783-8250.

 

This column was written by Rodrigo Diaz, PLCB Chief Counsel; Tisha Albert, PLCB Director of Regulatory Affairs; and Elizabeth Brassell, PLCB Director of Policy & Communications. The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association thanks each for contributing these tips to help our Members avoid penalties.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Dining Alliance, PLBTA partner to bring buying power to state taverns and bars

Dining Alliance, PLBTA partner to bring buying power to state taverns and bars

Dining Alliance, a group purchasing organization (GPO), has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) to help small business establishments save costs on items ranging from French fries to napkins.

With about 165,000 line items with cash back available, Dining Alliance is currently the largest GPO in the United States, working with more than 350 food manufacturers.  Currently, about 50,000 restaurants, bars, and taverns are members of Dining Alliance.

Members of the PLBTA will be able to join Dining Alliance at no cost. Those interested in this cash-back program should visit http://pages.diningalliance.com/pataverns.

“Dining Alliance has captured cash back opportunities on products purchased by mom-and-pop establishments,” said Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA. “Through our relationship with Dining Alliance, our Members will now be able to tap buying power and take advantage of cash-back programs.”

Moran says there’s more good news for his Members. In addition to cash-back savings, those belonging to the PLBTA will also have access to Dining Alliance’s “Beyond Prime” program, which offers discounts to owners and employees on items ranging from tv providers to work shoes.

“We’re happy to have the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association join us as a channel partner,” said Joe Schlesman, vice president of sales at Dining Alliance. “Our services will open the door for Pennsylvania’s bars and taverns to be more successful in their business operations.”

By in Latest News Comments Off on Bar sued for allowing cover songs without a music license

Bar sued for allowing cover songs without a music license

Riverfront Times reported on February 4, 2019, that St. Louis-based JP’s Corner Bar has been sued by BMI for “allowing bands to perform copyrighted cover songs within its walls despite not being licensed to do so.”

According to the music blog written by Daniel Hill, BMI sent multiple communications to the establishment before taking this course of action.

Chuck Moran, executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association, says that while this legal action is happening in another state, it could someday happen in the Keystone State.

“It’s in the best interest of an establishment to take such warnings seriously,” he said. “Those who belong to our Association can take advantage of BMI discounts as a benefit of membership. Having a music license will help establishments so that they’re not the next legal headline.”

Moran adds that PLBTA members can save up to 20 percent off annual music licensing fees (5% member discount, 5% online payment discount, 10% timely payment discount). For more info visit www.bmi.com/ede or call (800) 925-8451

In addition to a discount from BMI, the PLBTA has a number of preferred vendors offering discounts, exclusive offers, or special member pricing. To see all preferred vendors, click here.

 

 

 

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on PLBTA Board Elects Officers for 2019

PLBTA Board Elects Officers for 2019

(Harrisburg, Pa. – February 6, 2019)  The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) Board of Directors elected officers for 2019 during its February Board meeting.

New officers include

  • Curtis Mason, President – Mason’s family owns establishments in Chester County. He was elected to a two-year term. In the past, he has served the organization as vice president.
  • Thomas Tyler, Vice President – Tyler is owner of McStew’s Irish Pub in Levittown. He was elected to a two-year term.
  • Michelle Ritter, Secretary – Ritter is owner of Willow Street Pub in Coplay. She was elected to a one-year term.

In addition, the Board appointed Jonathan Grimes to the position of treasurer. Grimes is owner of Jonathan’s Restaurant in Wilkes Barre.

All newly elected officers started their positions immediately.

Other Board members include Jim DeLisio of the Racehorse Tavern in York, Randy Hull of Hull’s Landing in Muncy, and Jerry McArdle of Jack’s Tavern in Media.

The Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association represents retail liquor licensees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Association formed after Prohibition in 1941 to ensure the legality, protection, and prosperity of the state’s liquor and beer retail licensed businesses.

From corner bars, delis and neighborhood taverns to five-star restaurants and resorts, PLBTA’s industry supports more than 100,000 Commonwealth jobs, and remains an established, important part of our communities. To learn more about the PLBTA, visit www.pataverns.com. Or follow the organization on Twitter via @TavernPA.

 

#     #     #

 

For media inquiries, send email to pataverns@pataverns.com. Or call (717) 232-8671.

 

By in Latest News Comments Off on Pennsylvania Observer February Tip

Pennsylvania Observer February Tip

The Secret Ingredient
It helped one PLBA Member success for decades … and it still works

By Erica Bloch
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Woodloch Resort, Member of the PLBTA

Since we opened more than 60 years ago, our family-owned and operated resort has been founded on the service concept of a place “where everybody knows your name.” The Woodloch Family’s enduring dedication to the very personalized treatment of guests is what truly sets it apart from other resorts.

If we’ve learned anything over decades of ownership, we’ve learned the value of great customer service.

All staff are trained to follow Woodloch’s original mission to “treat all guests as if they were company in their own homes.” Each carry on a tradition of excellence and warm hospitality.

Woodloch vacations are built on the concept of “togethering,” or bringing loved ones together, spending time with one another, and creating memories to last a lifetime. Combine a nostalgic, back-to-basics environment with pristine natural surroundings and a unique array of home-grown, team-building type activities for families put on by a team of genuinely devoted staff members, it is no wonder that guests leave Woodloch with a renewed sense of connection with their own families.

So, what are the secret ingredients to great customer service? Consider the following:

  • Go beyond customer expectations – guests expect staff to be courteous, helpful and friendly. What can you do that goes a step further?
  • Take a complaint seriously, even if it’s a minor one – these are opportunities to learn your shortcomings, and make improvements.
  • Empower your employees – guests expect solutions, not an excuse that the manager isn’t available.
  • Scripting isn’t customer service, it’s a turn-off – guests are looking for sincere human interaction, not something that sounds programmed or rehearsed.

Whether someone is visiting your establishment for business or pleasure, the level of customer service helps determine whether or not to come back. Great service may make them write a wonderful online review, while a bad experience will cause them to warn friends to avoid your business.

Today, potential customers have a ton of options. Be the one they choose by having great customer service.


The above article is reprinted from the February 2019 edition of our magazine – The Pennsylvania Observer. The article was written by Erica Bloch of Woodloch Resort, a Member of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. The Pennsylvania Observer is a benefit of Membership and is delivered to valued Members monthly. Not a member? Download an application by clicking here.