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ih303

Help Me!

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Hey Gang, if any of you pay attention to the Lounge Review section of the forum, you'll see that ihcake and I have taken over operations at the local hookah lounge here in Rapid City, SD. We are making massive changes and I need some feedback on some things. So please, take a few minutes and give me your input.

1. I'm changing the smokable product line to include a variety of flavors of SB, AF, and NAK. What would you expect to pay for these?

2. Currently, we offer an appetizer including four quarters of pita bread and a mound of hummus topped with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of paprika for just under $5. What else would you want to eat while smoking hookah?

3. Should single and double hose hookahs be priced differently?

More questions to come. I want to make this as "by the people, for the people" as I possibly can so all feedback is greatly appreciated!

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well at my(that i go to) HB they charge $12 for one hookah. they have both SB and AF (maybe more, those are just the 2 that i know) and they have premium (fruit bowls) for $14.

they also have a wide variety of smoothies and milkshakes and coffee drinks that are $3-5 ea. and i always end up getting 2 they are so good.

and i dont have a clue about the single/double. but when you think about it. if you have 2 hoses and there are multiple people smoking it, the quality will be 50% in each hose. that is just the way i see it.

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I only have HB that are like resturants here. And they charge like $30 to smoke if you dont order like a meal, then it goes down to like $15. I think it is very expensive and a waste. But, I still do go there for their food. It is quite delicious.

$12 sounds like a pretty good price imo. And I dont really think a single or double should be priced differently I would just explain to them about pulling at the same time and what not.

And I dont think SB should be priced too much higher cuz then I dont think people will be demanding it as much, but as SB price has gone it you might have too (idk if you get a deal if you buy in bulk for a lounge or not)

But goodluck man!

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One thing I was thinking was just setting a single price for all the brands. SB is pretty expensive and is currently our most popular brand. However, Nakhla is so cheap it could possibly cancel out the expensiveness of the SB. I was thinking $10-$12/bowl regardless of the brand.

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Here in Miami, I have paid up to $25 for a bowl of SB. Its usually around $15-$20. But I do find that things here run a little more expensive than most places. Also we get the ambiance of smoking right infront of the beach..

I think if you could get a liqour Lic. that would be best cuz nothing goes better with hookah than alcohol wink.gif
Coffee is also a plus, and tea..

as far as food, I think that depends on how equipt your Kitchen is (if u have 1) The 2 major Bars I go to here. Well 1 serves all type of great food, from nachos to burgers. and the other has a deal with a Pizza joint down the street, where the pizza joint will deliver u a pizza and the HB will just add it to your tab.. Both work very well..

Uhm also, IDK how the law works for you..But here, if the HB does have Liqour Lic. people can BYOB.. Just a thought..


EDIT:to fix my babbling sorry.. Edited by fcbayern

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At the HB in Calgary they have a somewhat decent pricing system

First bowl $13 and a reload for $10.95
they also charge an extra couple of dollars for premium flavors

http://cafemed.ca/menu.html

check out there menu, some good ideas on there

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QUOTE (ih303 @ Apr 17 2009, 08:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One thing I was thinking was just setting a single price for all the brands. SB is pretty expensive and is currently our most popular brand. However, Nakhla is so cheap it could possibly cancel out the expensiveness of the SB. I was thinking $10-$12/bowl regardless of the brand.


The HB I used to frequent charged extra for "premium" shisha, it was something like $20 to smoke and $22 or $24 for premium shisha, maybe I don't remember right but it was at least $18 to smoke the regular stuff. I saw people pretty regularly upgrade.

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The problem with liquor here is the new smoking ban. It requires the majority of your income come from tobacco sales. Serving drinks would shift that ratio and we would probably have to choose between being a bar or a hookah lounge. It kind of sucks.

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QUOTE (Vladimir @ Apr 17 2009, 08:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The HB I used to frequent charged extra for "premium" shisha, it was something like $20 to smoke and $22 or $24 for premium shisha, maybe I don't remember right but it was at least $18 to smoke the regular stuff. I saw people pretty regularly upgrade.


Damn! That's an expensive place!

The most I ever paid for a hookah was $20, but that was at a place in Dallas where they actually mixed Liqueurs in with their shisha to intensify the flavor. I can't believe anyone would pay in excess of $20 for just regular shisha. Perhaps it has to do with the location, though. The most expensive we currently have is SB for $14.95, and some people even complain about that being too expensive.

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QUOTE (ih303 @ Apr 17 2009, 11:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem with liquor here is the new smoking ban. It requires the majority of your income come from tobacco sales. Serving drinks would shift that ratio and we would probably have to choose between being a bar or a hookah lounge. It kind of sucks.


I'm sure there is some sort of loop hole.. Talk to Mush.. Or some of the other HB owners around the site..

HEY BTW???? Where the hell are the PICS????????

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That's a good idea. We do currently serve mint tea but the presentation could be a bit better. I'm going to talk to a local coffee/tea distributor today to see what we can arrange that might be better.

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QUOTE (fcbayern @ Apr 17 2009, 09:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (ih303 @ Apr 17 2009, 11:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The problem with liquor here is the new smoking ban. It requires the majority of your income come from tobacco sales. Serving drinks would shift that ratio and we would probably have to choose between being a bar or a hookah lounge. It kind of sucks.


I'm sure there is some sort of loop hole.. Talk to Mush.. Or some of the other HB owners around the site..

HEY BTW???? Where the hell are the PICS????????

Just don't charge much for the alcohol. Like if a beer cost you $1.00, and the ordering/overhead and all that cost $0.50, charge like $2.00. That way people can still enjoy a beer while smoking and your income off the beer was >/= $0.50. As I am sure you know, Revenue-COGS=Gross Profit-operating expenses=income from operations+other revenues and gains-other expenses and losses=income before taxes-tax=Net Income. So even if most of your revenue ends up coming from alcohol sales, just make sure you aren't charging too much over cost and you can keep your income off the alcohol below the hookah. If you sell SO much alcohol that you are actually pushing more income off it then just keep lowering the price until it is lower than the hookah sales, just keep it above cost. If you do decided to start serving alcohol, I would think of it more as an attraction to get people to smoke rather than making money off it. Just my $0.02.

Of course, this gets shot to hell if you meant to say revenue instead of income.

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That's actually a really good point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I will have to look more into that.

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yeah i agree with delsol, if you are serving alcohol then just keep those prices down, cause i hookah will outweigh 2-3 beers or so.


and i think that you should keep the price around $10-12. and the same for all the brands, when you think about it. SB is $24 for 250g and you'll get about 20 bowls out of it. your looking at a cost to you of ~$2 so it is a pretty good profit. and then AF which is about half, only ~$1 per bowl

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QUOTE (outbreakpb @ Apr 17 2009, 10:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
yeah i agree with delsol, if you are serving alcohol then just keep those prices down, cause i hookah will outweigh 2-3 beers or so.


and i think that you should keep the price around $10-12. and the same for all the brands, when you think about it. SB is $24 for 250g and you'll get about 20 bowls out of it. your looking at a cost to you of ~$2 so it is a pretty good profit. and then AF which is about half, only ~$1 per bowl


Keep in mind by serving alcohol (maybe this depends on the state) you are getting rid of the under 21 crowd. I would look into the demographics of your customer base before making that decision. Personally I liked being able to go to hookah bars when I was 18 because thats when I am living at home and can't smoke it at home! Obviously as a business though your concern isn't what makes under 21-s happy, but something to think about. Maybe this isn't an issue in your state though.

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QUOTE (ZWAN @ Apr 17 2009, 09:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
At the HB in Calgary they have a somewhat decent pricing system

First bowl $13 and a reload for $10.95
they also charge an extra couple of dollars for premium flavors

http://cafemed.ca/menu.html

check out there menu, some good ideas on there


I didn't read through this whole thread, so I apologize if there's repetition here, but there's other factors to take into account. First of all, the prices here are CDN, so equate it to roughly $10 USD per bowl... but looking at this place in particular (and other Calgary places), keeping in mind that I haven't been there in about a year though, they use *tiny* Egyptian bowls (~5-8g), and give you two coals total per bowl. Most modern bowls use almost 2-3 times as much tobacco, and a phunnel would use significantly more than that. Also, they use cheap tobacco.

There's the service aspect to be taken into account as well... At this and other local places they light one coal and put it on the bowl for you, and leave another in the tray (quicklights only)... and sometimes, not always, they'll come around and light the second one for you. But otherwise, you're on your own. So for that $10 price point, there's little in the way of hands-on service (meaning much less labor cost), there is no coal management that they do, no natural coals, etc.

I would much rather pay $20 for a decent sized bowl with natural coals that are being replaced as needed by the people serving me. As for stepping it up to a more expensive brand, I wouldn't mind paying an extra $2 to $3 for a "premium" option. Keep in mind this is a selling point as well, if there's someone who doesn't necessarily know the brands but sees "premium" written there with a very marginal extra cost, they'll likely order it just for the sake of it.

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Oh, and on another note: be wary of the cheap alcohol idea. You're just inviting people to come there and get drunk for cheap, with hookahs on the side... and drunk people + hookahs rarely mix well. I'd suggest something like a "2 drink maximum" rule, or something of the sort, with an allowance for more based on subjective reasoning from the server.

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I would say charge $8 for Nak, $10 AF and $12 SB.

As far as other things to serve, my local place place serves a spicy pita dip that is to die for, if you can find a recipe it will become your best seller.

Also, serve tea/coffee and I think most of your customers will be plenty satisfied.

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the biggest thing man, is set up a decent bowl, i pay 10 for a bowl of SB at my local lounge, they have lots of beers, 500 or so, so thats nice, but thier pipes blow, they're mya pipes, one hose and theres a auto seal on the hose you get, so you cant purge, BUT, its not the autoseal that comes with the pipe, its a heavier ball of some sort, so that makes the draw hard. also, they use the windcover combo bowls and i think theres only like 5 g worth of shisha and maybe 1 3k on it, prolly a half. hard draw, weak clouds, that place could be so much better.

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On the alcohol note, the way laws are here, in order to get a beer/wine license, at least half our sales would have to be food. And if this was the case, we would get cut off by the smoking ban. Our only other option would be to become 21+ all the time. One of our selling points is that we are Rapid's only 18+ hang out. So it looks like we will have to make due without alcohol.

Our smoke is good and will get even better once we start selling AF. Right now we're using those crappy Japanese coals with the toxic silver casing because they bought a ton of 'em before we started working there. However, I'm already lined up with John to start serving CH Nats once we run out of the Japanese coals. Even though they're more expensive, they last at least twice as long and don't taste like ass.

I'm thinking $12 across the board no matter the brand. We are thinking of bringing in an espresso machine to start making coffee drinks that we hope will boost business. Right now, we don't have much to offer those who don't want to smoke. This cuts out a significant part of the market here in RC. Of course, we are a hookah bar and that is our primary product but anything we can do to draw in more business is worth looking into.

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On the subject of bowl price I always felt like there was shadiness going down regarding prices (at least at most of the hookah bars I've been to, which is quite a few across the country). What I mean is that you can buy 250g of starbuzz for ~20 dollars (assuming you aren't buying it wholesale which would make it cheaper) and then (as they do around here) sell 15 dollar heads of it. After two heads you've more than made back the cost of the shisha itself and coals. Throw in the price of the hookahs originally and you still are making profit very fast. Obviously, there are other costs associated with running a business, but it just always seemed a bit over the top. The point is that I think you should probably keep stuff like that transparent. Personally, I roll with a heavy hookah smoking crew. We can't always smoke when we'd like and hookah bars offer that option when you're say, out of town or something. More often then not though, we get to a place get appalled at the prices and leave. If I were running a lounge, I'd keep prices as low as absolutely possible simply because the norm is the opposite, doing this would set your place apart from the rest and hopefully result in more business.

edit: Perhaps do a static price but allow X amount of refills depending on brand. May be difficult to keep track of (not really though) but still novel. Edited by Hookie The Hookah

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QUOTE (Hookie The Hookah @ Apr 17 2009, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On the subject of bowl price I always felt like there was shadiness going down regarding prices (at least at most of the hookah bars I've been to, which is quite a few across the country). What I mean is that you can buy 250g of starbuzz for ~20 dollars (assuming you aren't buying it wholesale which would make it cheaper) and then (as they do around here) sell 15 dollar heads of it. After two heads you've more than made back the cost of the shisha itself and coals. Throw in the price of the hookahs originally and you still are making profit very fast. Obviously, there are other costs associated with running a business, but it just always seemed a bit over the top. The point is that I think you should probably keep stuff like that transparent. Personally, I roll with a heavy hookah smoking crew. We can't always smoke when we'd like and hookah bars offer that option when you're say, out of town or something. More often then not though, we get to a place get appalled at the prices and leave. If I were running a lounge, I'd keep prices as low as absolutely possible simply because the norm is the opposite, doing this would set your place apart from the rest and hopefully result in more business.

edit: Perhaps do a static price but allow X amount of refills depending on brand. May be difficult to keep track of (not really though) but still novel.


I think the problem is that hookah bars target a very select audience, they aren't exactly pumping the money in at noon on a Tuesday. That being said as with any business there is an equation where you will have to figure out if you want to maximize customers at a lower price, or a select few at a higher cost. Finding the happy medium will be this guys challenge biggrin.gif.

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QUOTE (Hookie The Hookah @ Apr 17 2009, 02:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
On the subject of bowl price I always felt like there was shadiness going down regarding prices


Couldn't agree less, here. I could go out and buy a liter of Jack for about $35, but I have to pay $5 for a shot. The reason is because the bar did everything for me. They got the people, they paid the rent and the electric bills, they hired the staff, etc. Moreover, pouring a shot of whiskey is simple, but packing a good bowl, setting up a pipe and managing heat is not. As much practice as I have, I'm still not as good as the guys at my local shop.

Don't worry too much about prices, IMO. The priciest hookah bar in town is also the busiest and the best, because they treat you right. Good pipes, good shisha, good heat management, and they remember your name even you haven't been in for months. That's the kind of place you want to run. You will never be able to operate as cheaply as someone could out of their own home, so capitalize on what you can do better. Atmosphere, ease-of-use, on-hand selection and a quality clientele. If you're the only game in town, you're your only competition.

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