Tom Fricke, Bar Louie

Bar Louie: Your Best Choice for the Next Celebration

Good times are experienced at places that emanate good vibes. Any place with a wide assortment of lip-smacking food, a radiant atmosphere, and feelgood music is bound to become the people’s favorite.

One such people’s favorite is Bar Louie, The Original Gastrobar with stunning, handcrafted drinks; a dynamic beer and wine selection; and American food that stands out in a unique, comfortable urban atmosphere.

Founded in late 1990 in Chicago, Bar Louie has enjoyed 30 years of growth and innovation. Each of the gastrobar’s locations has a unique footprint and caters to the local community, flexing its space by day, daypart, and guests to provide an environment that is inclusive and always fun.

Bar Louie serves a lot more liquor, beer, and wine than any traditional restaurant, and compared to the bar community, it serves amazing food until last call. This mix between food and beverage requires great skill and professionalism from the managers and creates a real barrier between the brand and its competition.

“Our vision is to become the nation’s favorite gastrobar—and since we got started first—we think we are well on our way. A commitment to our team members and our community makes us special and ensures that we stay focused on what has kept us in business this long – our guests,” says Tom Fricke, the CEO of Bar Louie.

Bar Louie’s beverage program is world class, led by unique and flavorful martinis and cocktails prepared by some of the best bartenders in the industry. Its food program offers delicious and unique items: appetizers perfect for sharing in large groups at Happy Hours to burgers, sandwiches and meals for enjoyable lunches and dinners.

But what really makes Bar Louie special is the atmosphere in its bars. It offers the perfect place to visit and relax, whether with a large group or just with a special friend. “You will never feel rushed as you unwind and enjoy your time with us,” says the team at Bar Louie.

Overcoming Adversities

Sharing his opinion on the impact of the current pandemic on the restaurants and food servicing industry and how he and his team pivoted to surpass the challenges created by that impact, Tom says, “The past year has arguably been the most challenging in the history of our industry. Companies really faced two choices. They either had to get extremely creative as they searched for ways to survive in the face of closures and restrictions, or close.”

“At Bar Louie, we quite literally changed every part of our business as we looked for ways to drive revenue and streamline operations without losing what makes us special. As a result, we are so much better positioned now as markets begin to reopen. Our systems are dramatically improved, and our teams ready to provide our guests with the 5-star experience that they deserve,” To adds.

As an excerpt from his professional experience as the CEO of Bar Louie, advising the budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the restaurants and food servicing industry, Tom says, “It is a much harder industry than it may seem from a distance. To be successful, you need to be dedicated, flexible, and most of all resilient.”

Insync with Progress

The team at Bar Louie believes that synergy between corporate and franchise units is critical. Pertaining to this, keeping pace with technological advancements is a commitment that the team makes to the corporate and franchise leaders and sustains the balance between short-term disruption and long-term strategic planning.

“Technological developments are definitely enabling our ability to adapt to our customer’s needs and preferences. A great example would be leveraging new marketing technology that allows all our units to create and leverage local content and respond in real time to their guests.”

“Customers expect transparency from brands and there is real complexity in providing a consistent experience across corporate and franchise units. Digital platforms that allow line managers to access powerful tools to meet and exceed their customer needs is a game changer and will influence which brands are able to evolve through this difficult time,” says the Bar Louie team.

Voyaging towards a Hopeful Future

Sharing his opinion on the industry’s as well as Bar Louie’s prospective future, Tom says, “I certainly think that the restaurant industry will recover, though it may take years to return to pre-Covid levels from a unit perspective. Our experience has been that our guests are ready to return, and we see our volumes recover as our bars are allowed to reopen. How we recover will also be a challenge. In the past 12 months, our delivery business has grown exponentially, and while we expect that to normalize soon, we do expect it to remain strong. Our late night and large party sales continue to lag a bit, but we believe they will recover as guests become more comfortable with being out.”

“We still have much work to do in getting the system back open to 100%. At this point in time, about 60% of our units are still restricted in some way. Getting bars back open, and fully staffed will take up a good part of 2021. While we work through those challenges, we will continue to challenge our culinary team to innovate, and improve our menu,” concludes Tom.

Exhibiting Excellence

“My experience was excellent!! The waitress was friendly and fast! The vibe there was cool, and the music was on point!! Nice mixture. The food was delicious!!! I’ll be back again.” – Miranda Slaughter: 5 Star Review for Bar Louie Nashville

“We have been here several times since Covid started and one of the reasons is their huge, spacious patio seating! The service and food are excellent as well, everyone in my family can find something they like, from a healthy appetizer of hummus and veggies to indulgent bar food. Also, their happy hour specials on drinks and appetizers are not to be missed!” – Maridel Spiegler: 5 Star Review for Bar Louie Music Factory

The food, drinks and service were amazing! Nini was the best server I have ever had! From the minute I sat down she was very attentive and sweet. She made sure everyone at the table was happy with their drinks and food. Everything was delicious and I would definitely come back again.” – Karen V.: 5 Star Review for Bar Louie Downey.