When Rodney Hu’s father founded Yucca Tap Room nearly 40 years, he wanted to stay true to the bands, never wavering any commitment to the local music scene. So they decided against charging a cover.
And they still don’t.
So how does the family owned and operated music venue stay successful and remain afloat?
They give the bands a percentage of the bar tab — considered a win-win situation for both the patrons of the show and the musicians playing the show. Customers are getting more bang for their buck, with the would-be $5 or $10 going towards alcohol rather than their foot in the door.
“It gives the bands motivation to promote the show because they aren’t tied to the door charge,” says Hu, owner of Yucca Tap Room.
Hu has seen Yucca Tap Room transform from a “local cowboys bar, to a bikers bar to a local cheers bar.” But the loyalty to the music has never changed.
While Yucca has had no problem attracting a variety of crowds, entertaining the crowd of social media enthusiasts is still the biggest change that Yucca, like most businesses, has had to adapt to.
“Before, it was the occasional radio or newspaper ad, but now there are so many different social networking tools that we must be on top of with other channels of advertising,” Hu says. “It adds a whole new element to things.”
Although its one of oldest venues in the Valley, Yucca continues to strive to “stay relevant.” About two years ago, Yucca Tap Room added a microdistillery, which has since boomed in popularity.
“Customers’ palettes have changed,” Hu says. “They’re no longer simply craving Coors Light or Bud Light. As the public gets more educated, they request more craft beers. Everybody wants to try new flavors.”
Hu’s next phase? Adding more unique whiskeys, gins and vodkas. The process has already started with specialty bourbon and scotch, and the bar has already doubled in size.
Finding your own niche is key, yes. But for potential entrenprenuers and struggling ones alike, Hu gives this advice: “Make sure before you take the leap, to look at your project from all angles,” he says. “Know what you’re getting into. Study what it’s about and all the different headaches and risks involved.”
According to Hu, the most important universal entity for any business is the customer.
“At the end of the day, customers keep it running,” Hu says. “Give the demographic you’re catering what they want. You don’t want people talking bad about your business.”