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Meeting With Bar Owners, Building Relationships
The following are suggestions, meant to help build better relationships with bar owners. Please keep in mind that bar/tavern business owners keep busy schedules and are concerned first with running a successful business. Generally, their concern for public health issues will be a lower priority.

DO call first. You'll have the best luck meeting with a bar owner if you arrange in advance for a time to stop by.

DO time your meeting right. Meal times are generally not the best for bar owners. Try mid-afternoon or a time that works best for the individual owner.

DO keep the meeting short. Bar owners generally have a lot to do before the next onslaught of customers and are more likely to give you their full attention if you limit the meeting.

DON'T inundate them with paper. It's best to leave them with a few key items or at least, a brochure and your business card.


DON'T expect them to know the issue. If they are familiar with the issue, DO expect them to be wary that this will hurt their business.

DON'T preach health facts. Rather, point out the positive economic aspects of the new law.

DO position yourself as a source for help and ideas to smooth the smoke-free transition.

DO offer to assist in a smoke-free bar night to test the waters.

DON'T forget that many bar owners may be smokers themselves. Keep the meeting focused on the smoke-free business so they don't feel personally attacked.

DO know when to move on. Sometimes you come up against a brick wall. Offer to leave materials, thank them for their time and try another establishment.

Compiled by BREATH-The California Smoke-free Bar Program, a statewide project of the American Lung Association of the East Bay. This material made possible with funds from the Tobacco tax Health Protection Act of 1988-Prop 99, under Grant No. 96-26624, with the California Department of Health Services, Tobacco Control Section. BREATH 916-729-8925 10/02

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